94 Theodore Roosevelt Quotes About Leadership and Success

This collection of Theodore Roosevelt quotes that will inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

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

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about hard working

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2. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about life about no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care

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3. “When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about perseverance

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4. “Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes and sayings

5. “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about knowing what's right

6. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about people don't care

7. “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” – Theodore Roosevelt

wise Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about speak softly and carry a big stick

8. “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

insightful Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about keep your eyes on the stars

9. “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about success

10. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes about believing in yourself

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

theodore roosevelt quotes about mistake

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

theodore roosevelt quotes about gun fighters

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

theodore roosevelt quotes about life

14. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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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

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16. “To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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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

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18. “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

theodore roosevelt quotes about the best prize that life has to offer is is chance to work hard

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

theodore roosevelt quotes about any moment decision

20. “I am a part of everything that I have read.” – Theodore Roosevelt

theodore roosevelt quotes on I'm part of everything that I have read

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

theodore roosevelt quotes about I'm American

22. “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt

theodore roosevelt quotes about no one cares how much you know

23. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt

theodore roosevelt quotes about courage is not having the strength

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

theodore roosevelt quotes to announce that there must be no criticism of the president

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

theodore roosevelt quotes the things that will destroy America

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

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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.” –
Theodore Roosevelt

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.” –
Theodore Roosevelt

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

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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.

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  1. peter pisani

    March 2, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    stepping into the arena. I love it and love TR. Born and raised close to SH.

  2. Bob Watkins

    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! 🇺🇸
    Thank you.

    • Lulu

      July 10, 2019 at 6:01 AM

      #12 is incorrect. FDR is the one who said that quote.

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