Theodore Roosevelt Quotes About Leadership and Success
This collection of Theodore Roosevelt quotes that will inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
May 29, 2022 5:00 AM EST
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was a politician, American statesman, writer, and conservationist who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.
Here we’ve gathered for you a collection of 50 terrific Theodore Roosevelt quotes on leadership and success to inspire you to leave your own legacy on the world.
It’s almost hard to comprehend how much Theodore Roosevelt has accomplished in his life.
He has taken on a number of occupations and succeeded in all of them.
Roosevelt is most known for being president of the United States and for his incredible wisdom and insight.
Who is Theodore Roosevelt?
Theodore Roosevelt started out humbly.
He had severe asthma and was often weak with sickness.
This made him tough, and he started honing his body from a young age.
After being homeschooled he attended Harvard University to study biology.
He published a history book called the Naval War of 1812 which established himself as a leading intellectual of the times.
Roosevelt was a juxtaposition.
He was an extremely intelligent, and learned man, but he was also masculine and tough.
Unfortunately, his first wife died suddenly.
In order to find peace in his life and to get away from modern society he became a cattle rancher.
This was unheard of considering he had been elected to the New York State Assembly.
He returned to politics a few years later and, after an unsuccessful attempt at becoming mayor, became the New York City police court commissioner.
During the war with Spain, Roosevelt was integral in developing the famous Rough Riders.
He ran the Navy Department.
He became well respected because of the courage and intellect he displayed during the war and was elected the governor of New York.
He was Pres. McKinley’s vice president and took over after he died.
He became the youngest president of all time.
During his presidency, he focused on increasing business regulations and ensuring that consumers were safe.
He also advocated environmental conservation practices and created national parks.
He became known for his “square deal policy” which emphasized that the citizens of the United States should have a fair shot at life.
One of the most famous Theodore Roosevelt quotes is “speak softly but carry a large stick” which represented his foreign-policy at the time.
After his second term as president ended, Roosevelt started his famous journey through the Amazon jungle.
Multiple books have been written about this incredible journey in which Roosevelt almost died multiple times and contracted multiple illnesses.
His journey through the jungle shows once again that he is a courageous man.
There are many famous Theodore Roosevelt quotes on leadership that people have been studying for years.
He is widely regarded as one of the best and wisest presidents of the United States.
Born: 27 October 1858, Manhattan, New York
Died: 6 January 1919, Sagamore Hill, New York
Below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and powerful Theodore Roosevelt quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
Don’t forget to also read these enlightening John Locke quotes on character, wealth, and more.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Our inspirational quote category page has even more inspirational and educational quotes.
Theodore Roosevelt Quotes on leadership and success
1. “I am only an average man, but by George, I work harder at it than the average man.” – Theodore Roosevelt
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2. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
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3. “When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on” – Theodore Roosevelt
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4. “Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.” – Theodore Roosevelt
5. “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” – Theodore Roosevelt
6. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
7. “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” – Theodore Roosevelt
8. “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt
9. “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt
10. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt Quotes on Learning, Success, and Greatness
11. “The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.” – Theodore Roosevelt
12. “There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first, ranging from grizzly bears to ‘mean’ horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.” – Theodore Roosevelt
13. “I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt
14. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt
15. “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Theodore Roosevelt
16. “To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt
17. “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Theodore Roosevelt
18. “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
19. “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
20. “I am a part of everything that I have read.” – Theodore Roosevelt
21. “I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.” – Theodore Roosevelt
22. “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
23. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt
24. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Theodore Roosevelt
25. “The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.” – Theodore Roosevelt
26. “Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.” – Theodore Roosevelt
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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes on country and leadership
27. “A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” – Theodore Roosevelt
28. “When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all.” – Theodore Roosevelt
29. “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
30. “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” – Theodore Roosevelt
31. “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” – Theodore Roosevelt
32. “No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry. Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
33. “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
34. “Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft!” – Theodore Roosevelt
35. “When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not Guilty’.” – Theodore Roosevelt
36. “I don’t always get shot during the middle of a speech, But when I do, I finish the damn speech.” – Theodore Roosevelt
37. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt Quotes to help you reach your potential
38. “With self-discipline, almost anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt
39. “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” – Theodore Roosevelt
40. “The boy who is going to make a great man must not make up his mind merely to overcome a thousand obstacles, but to win in spite of a thousand repulses and defeats.” – Theodore Roosevelt
41. “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” – Theodore Roosevelt
42. “Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past.” – Theodore Roosevelt
43. “Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time.” – Theodore Roosevelt
44. “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” – Theodore Roosevelt
45. “Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” – Theodore Roosevelt
46. “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!” – Theodore Roosevelt
47. “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” – Theodore Roosevelt
48. “No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.” – Theodore Roosevelt
49. “This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country.” – Theodore Roosevelt
50. “A stream cannot rise larger than its source.” — Theodore Roosevelt
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Theodore Roosevelt quotes to inspire you
51. “We want men who will fix their eyes on the stars, but who will not forget that their feet must walk on the ground.”― Theodore Roosevelt
52. “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.”― Theodore Roosevelt
53. “It is out of the question for our people to rise by treading down any of their own number.”― Theodore Roosevelt
54. “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”― Theodore Roosevelt
55. “I have only a second rate brain, but I think I have a capacity for action.”― Theodore Roosevelt
56. “The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it.”― Theodore Roosevelt
57. “I grew into manhood thoroughly imbued with the feeling that a man must be respected for what he made of himself.”― Theodore Roosevelt
58. “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the choice that something else is greater than that fear.”― Theodore Roosevelt
59. “Great thought speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.”― Theodore Roosevelt
60. “Life means change; where there is no change, death comes.”― Theodore Roosevelt
61. “To educate a person without teaching ethics is to create a menace to society.”― Theodore Roosevelt
62. “We are not building this country of ours for a day. It is to last through the ages.”― Theodore Roosevelt
63. “Dreams are a dime a dozen. it’s their execution that counts.”― Theodore Roosevelt
64. “Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.”― Theodore Roosevelt
65. “Do not hit, at all, if it can be avoided, but never hit softly.”― Theodore Roosevelt
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Thought-provoking Theodore Roosevelt quotes
66. “Honesty first; then courage; then brains – and all are indispensable.” –
67. “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” – Theodore Roosevelt
68. “Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to a successful life.” – Theodore Roosevelt
69. “You can’t choose your potential, but you can choose to fulfill it.” –
70. “No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
71. “Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.” – Theodore Roosevelt
72. “Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt
73. “All the resources we need are in the mind.” – Theodore Roosevelt
74. “In the long run, the most unpleasant truth is a safer companion than a pleasant falsehood.” – Theodore Roosevelt
75. “We should not forget that it will be just as important to our descendants to be prosperous in their time as it is to us to be prosperous in our time.” –Theodore Roosevelt
More Theodore Roosevelt quotes
76. “If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” – Theodore Roosevelt
77. “Politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience.” – Theodore Roosevelt
78. “The reason fat men are good-natured is they can neither fight nor run.” – Theodore Roosevelt
79. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
80. “If given the choice between Righteousness and Peace, I choose Righteousness.” – Theodore Roosevelt
81. “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” – Theodore Roosevelt
82. “No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of justified.” – Theodore Roosevelt
83. “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official.” – Theodore Roosevelt
84. “A great democracy has got to be progressive or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Thoughtful Theodore Roosevelt quotes about government, liberty, and life
85. “The government is us; we are the government, you and I.” — Theodore Roosevelt
86. “Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.” — Theodore Roosevelt
87. “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” — Theodore Roosevelt
88. “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” — Theodore Roosevelt
89. “I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does also.” — Theodore Roosevelt
90. “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” — Theodore Roosevelt
91. “It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” — Theodore Roosevelt
92. “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” — Theodore Roosevelt
93. “The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.” — Theodore Roosevelt
94. “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt
Which Theodore Roosevelt Quotes Are Your Favorite?
Although he started out humbly, Theodore Roosevelt remains one of the greatest leaders in American history.
Regarded by many as one of the best presidents of the U.S., he helped develop the stature and influence of the executive office.
The Rough Rider is popular on both sides of the political aisle and is also celebrated as a wilderness warrior and the founding father of conservation.
Roosevelt was big on self-creation and service, and we can all learn something from his wisdom; whether you’re in government, business or in any other position.
Hopefully, these Theodore Roosevelt quotes will inspire you to be a wise leader no matter what situation you’re in.
Did you enjoy these Theodore Roosevelt quotes?
Which of them is your favorite?
We would love to hear all about it in the comment section below.
Also, if you have any other Theodore Roosevelt quotes to share with us, don’t hesitate to mention it.
March 2, 2021 at 10:30 AM
stepping into the arena. I love it and love TR. Born and raised close to SH.
July 6, 2019 at 9:49 PM
Timeless, courageous and inspiring ALL of Teddy’s quoted ideas for being a good human being. In ANY country! 🇺🇸
July 10, 2019 at 6:01 AM
#12 is incorrect. FDR is the one who said that quote.