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Change is a difficult thing to bring about in human beings sometimes. Employers spend a lot of money bringing in speakers to inspire their employees to change. Self-help groups do the same. Often, using a quote when you speak can help inspire change in someone. Below are a few quotes you might choose to do, depending on your audience, of course.

  • “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”

— Confucius

  • “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

— Robert E. Quinn

  • “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

— James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Flight of the Buffalo (1994)

  • “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.”

— Washington Irving
Tales of a Traveler (1824)

  • “After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years (a sunk cost if ever there was one), people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them.”

— Marshall Goldsmith

  • “Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”

— Niccolo Machiavelli

  • “People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!”

— Peter Senge

  • “Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.”

— Louis L’Amour
The Lonely Men

  • “All is connected … no one thing can change by itself.”

— Paul Hawken
“Natural Capitalism, Yoga Journal October 1994

  • “Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.”

— Mark Sanborn

  • “When a mature and able manager feels bored, he should seriously consider changing jobs, changing companies—or simply retiring. It is not fair to anyone for half a leader to hold a full-time leadership job.”

— James L. Hayes

  • “Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad — not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life — to keep us moving … to keep us growing … to keep us interested …. Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull.”

— Dr. Dennis O’Grady
in Bottom Line – Personal

  • “Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes — it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm.”

— Peter Drucker
Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999)

  • “Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.”

— Frances Hesselbein
The Key to Cultural Transformation, Leader to Leader (Spring 1999)

  • “It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.”

— Publilius Syrus
First Century BC

These are only a few of many. Quotes can be used to enhance your speech. Next time you want to inspire change in someone, consider using one of these.


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