Motivation is the ability to initiate and persist despite the odds. And few things require more motivation than the field of athletics and sports. In fact, one could claim that motivation is the groundwork to every and all athletic achievement. Of course, factors like the mind, body, focus, and confidence are important too – but if you lack motivation than none of it matters. Because if you want to be the best, you’ve got to have the motivation and the conviction to make it happen.
And there is motivation aplenty to be found in the words of professional athletes and sportspeople. It makes sense too because successful athletes push themselves every day of the week to achieve their best. They work hard, train hard, and even rest hard. And through their actions they inspire and encourage millions who watch and follow them.
Here are some of the most inspirational quotes by athletes to keep you motivated as you charge forward.
20 Best Quotes by Athletes on Getting Results Through Hard Work
1. “Nobody is born a champion. You have to earn it through hard work. Get started! – Wladimir Klitschko
Everybody has to start somewhere. People just do not become great all at once. Success is earned like everything else through hard work and perseverance. Successful people get to where they are by not procrastinating on their dreams and goals. So, stop dreaming of success and start working towards it!
2. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda
If you are going to set goals for yourself, you have to be determined to do whatever it takes to reach it. Don’t just ‘try’. Mediocre effort will only ever bring mediocre results – if it brings any results at all. Only when you have the conviction and the courage to push forward can you achieve your goals, even when they seem impossible!
3. “The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it. It’s to set your goal too low and reach it.” – Georges St-Pierre
When you set the bar too low for yourself, there is a danger of being satisfied with the way things are. And by being content, you will never be able to reach your full potential. Instead, always aim for the best. It doesn’t matter how far away it is from your grasp. That way you can ensure that you will always be on the track to constant self-improvement.
4. “I think I am difficult to satisfy, because when I win something, I’m already thinking about the next step.” – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Maybe you make progress towards your goal. Or you reach a checkpoint that you set up for yourself. And that’s worth celebrating. But at the same time, your next objective should already be on the back of your mind. Accomplished people never stop looking forward, no matter how good they’ve got it. It’s one of the reasons why the self-made people keep getting even more successful with time. It is because they never let their small victories distract them from the larger goal they’ve set up for themselves.
5. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” – Manny Pacquiao
No matter how much effort you put into your goals, sometimes it isn’t enough to make the cut. And that’s life. You win some and you lose some. But that does not mean you should ever let your defeats get you down. Accept it as something natural and move on.
6. “If you’re afraid to fail, then probably you’re going to fail.” – Kobe Bryant
Success isn’t always certain. And failure can be very scary. But that does not mean you should let that stop you from moving forward. Because if you give in to the fear of failure, it will bring you to your knees and keep you there. Don’t let the fear of failure dictate your chances of success.
7. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi
The only thing you should be doing when you fail is getting right back up. Failure may slow you down but it can’t stop you if you don’t let it.
8. “When you’re tired, sore and con’t do more, that’s the time to do more.” – Tim Grover
The surest way to become better is push past your limits. Keep moving forward, even when it feels like you can’t take another step. Because often the only thing that is limiting you is you.
9. “If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it.” – Michael Jordan
Getting stuck in a rut is often inevitable. Sometimes, it will feel like you are making absolutely no progress. And that can be frustrating. But don’t quit. Hurdles only appear when you are getting closer to your goal. So think of them as exciting challenges that will allow you to prove just how determined you are to everybody (including yourself).
10. “The hard days are the best because that’s where champions are made.” – Gabby Douglas
Embrace the difficult times that come your way. Because winners are defined by the obstacles that they have had to overcome to become successful.
11. “I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” – Simone Biles
It’s much better to try and fail than to never have tried at all. So, take the chance when an opportunity presents itself. Because regrets haunt and hurt your soul more than any failure ever could.
12. “Kill them with success and bury them with a smile.” – Usain Bolt
Now people aren’t always going to be supportive of you. They are going to criticize you and do their best to humiliate or belittle you. Ignore them. Nothing good ever comes out of responding to your haters. Instead, let your achievements speak for themselves. Because there’s nothing as satisfying as shutting up your haters with your success.
13. “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley
Once you set your mind on something, you have to make a commitment to see it through. Everything around you might change over the course of time but you’ve got to make sure that your promises, especially the ones you make to yourself, never do.
14. “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.” – Venus Williams
The road to success can often be a lonely one. And there will be times when it will feel like the world is against you. And during these times, the last person you want as a critic is yourself. Never stop believing in yourself. If you yourself don’t believe you can achieve something amazing, then nobody else will.
15. “Believe me; the reward is not so great without the struggle.” – Wilma Rudolph
Nothing worth having in life ever comes easy. And that’s especially true when it concerns success. The whole idea of success without effort and the struggles seems empty. You learn nothing if you are just born into affluence. It is why the spoiled rich brat is such a huge trope. So, don’t be disheartened by the difficult times. Because in the end, they will make your achievements taste sweeter.
16. “I do not talk about my weaknesses, I work on them.” – Fedor Emelianenko
We all have flaws. Nobody can be perfect at everything. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Identify your own weaknesses and try to fix them. Don’t beat yourself over it if it doesn’t happen at once. Because that’s just another part of self-improvement. These things take time so do your best to be patient as you put continuous effort into smoothing out your flaws.
17. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion!'” – Muhammad Ali
Always keep your goal in the back of your mind. And when things get tough, and they will, remind yourself what you are suffering for. All the pain and hard work that you put in are not meaningless. Because every second you spend giving it your all brings you a little closer to the taste of victory.
18. “There’s only one thing that’s impossible to beat… a man that doesn’t give up.” – Conor McGregor
When are you truly defeated? Is it when you fail? Is it when you try again and again and still can’t seem to get ahead? No. You only lose when you give up. It is you who determines whether you are a winner or a loser. So, don’t ever let yourself down by tapping out!
19. “True champions aren’t always the ones who win, but those with the most guts.” – Jakie Joyner-Kersee
If you’ve put in effort and you’re constantly striving towards improving yourself, then you’re already a winner. Because it’s the attitude that makes the champ – not some materialistic gain.
20. “I start early, and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” – Lionel Messi
When we look at top athletes, we only see their success and their amazing lives. We don’t see all the effort and pain they’ve put in to get to where they are. Remember: behind every successful person there is a personal story of hardship and struggle. Fame and fortune wasn’t handed to them; they all earned it.
The excitement and flair of the world of athletes can often overshadow what leads up to any spectacular athletic event. We can often be so starstruck by these epitomes of physical achievement that we don’t think of the struggle that each and every athlete has gone through. The competition in their world is fierce and the amount of hard work they have to put in is no joke; natural gifts can only carry an athlete so far.
It is why athletes have some of the most inspiring and motivational things to tell us. Because they understand how hard life reaching a goal can be. But at the same time, the best among them also know just how great it feels to see all your hard work pay off. And this is what makes them so admirable.
Because every professional athlete is an incredible example of just how powerful human beings are if they put their minds to it. And their will to overcome any odds and never give up can and should inspire us as well!
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