8 Motivational Quotes by Famous Historical Figures

James Carson

4 mins

09 Apr 2019

Motivational quotes make the wheels of social media go round. But sometimes we’re in danger of sharing platitudes or quotes that are simply never said by the people attributed to them.

So if you want to grab some real #MondayMotivation, from important people in history with important things to say, then this list should help you. We regularly share verified quotes on the @HistoryHit Twitter feed.

1. Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was one of the most eminent physicists in history, having published the theory of General Relativity in 1915 and changing the face of physics. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

Here he makes reference to ‘success’ being an abstract topic, that it is often relative to the person aiming for it. Instead, being of value means collaborating with others because you have made a contribution.

2. Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was a polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. In a remarkable career, he held five prominent political posts, as well as being a major figure in the history of physics.

In this quote, Franklin is saying the spending the time to learn will ultimately pay you back in personal fulfilment and possibly monetary success.

3. Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin was an English biologist who made a major contribution to science through his work On the Origin of Species, which put forward the theory of evolution.

In this quote, he is making light that the most successful beings – whether they be human or animal – gain success from working together quickly.

4. D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence was an English writer, well known for his novels Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterley‘s lover, while also writing almost 800 poems.

This quote puts forward the idea that knowledge can only take you so far, and that while learning is important, taking risks based on acquired knowledge are important for personal development.

5. Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was a prolific American inventor who developed an extraordinary range of devices used for electric power generation and mass communications. Perhaps most importantly, he invented the electric lightbulb.

Here Edison puts forward that many people often give up in difficult situations – even though success, while hidden, may only be a short time away.

6. Anne Frank

Anne Frank was a German Jewish diarist, who became one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She kept a diary while in hiding from German forces in Amsterdam, which was post-humously published worldwide in the 1950s.

Here Frank notes that anybody can make a positive impact – no matter who small their action.

7. Herodotus

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian often referred to as the “Father of History”. His work The Histories, on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, is seen as the first work to have used a method of gathering sources and ordering them into a historiographic narrative.

In this quote, Herodotus is noting that some of the greatest accomplishments in history occurred because leaders took very risky options – and that it could have possibly been all very different.

8. Martin Luther King

Martin Lurther King was an American Baptist Minister and a major leader of the 1960s civil rights movement. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing civil rights through nonviolence.

In this quote, MLK suggests that not speaking up for what you believe in removes some of the meaning of life.

Gus Casely-Hayford talks about various aspects of African history: the importance of African history and why it belongs to all of us, the various civilisations, how Timbuktu became an unparalleled centre of learning, the need to continue building African cultural confidence in the wake of colonialism and the exciting future African archaeology has in store.Watch Now