103 Zig Ziglar Quotes for Higher Achievement

103 Zig Ziglar Quotes for Higher Achievement

Hilary Hinton Ziglar, better known to the world as Zig Ziglar, was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker.

Born in Coffee County, Alabama, in 1926, he was the tenth of twelve children. When he was five years old, Ziglar’s father took a management position at a Mississippi farm. The family moved to Mississippi and Ziglar would spend most of his early childhood there. However, tragedy struck in 1932, when Ziglar’s father died of a stroke. His younger sister died just two days later.

Zig Ziglar served in the United States Navy in World War II; and attended V-12 Navy College Training Program at the University of South Carolina between 1943 and 1945. Ziglar then became a charter member in the establishment of American Salesmasters in 1963.

With his associates Richard “Dick” Gardner and Hal Krause, the group sought to raise the profile of salespeople in America by leading informational seminars for insurance agents, car salesmen, financial advisors, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.

Now known for his powerful messages and motivational writings, Ziglar faced many difficulties and rejections on his road to success. The brainchild behind some of the world’s most positive quotes, Ziglar took his own failures, successes, goals, and lessons, and used them to motivate and encourage others.

We’ve collected his quotes so you can find the motivation you need whenever you need it!

Quotes about Happiness and Positivity

Despite the sadness of losing his father and sister early on in his childhood, Ziglar pursued – and built – a happy and fulfilling life. He recognized the importance of moving forwards, staying hopeful, and continuing to grow.

Many of his quotes remind us that we can always find a source of happiness and positivity, even in the face of naysayers and mistakes.

A girl in a dress running through a field of flowers with five yellow balloons

A girl in a dress running through a field of flowers with five yellow balloons

“The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.” – Zig Ziglar

“Happiness is the ability to move forward knowing the future will be better than the past.”

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.”

“It makes no difference where you go, there you are. And it makes no difference what you have, there’s always more to want. Until you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy because of what you have.”

“Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.”

“Hope is the power that gives a person the confidence to step out and try.”

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”

A boy in TYR goggles swimming laps with a breath stroke in an Olympic pool

A boy in TYR goggles swimming laps with a breath stroke in an Olympic pool

“If you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.” – Zig Ziglar

“Don’t let others be your judge and jury with their pity and negative thoughts or feeling. Know that you are here for a reason. Recognize, develop, and use the resources you do have. Others see the surface; you know your heart.”

“The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little.”

“If you don’t like who you are and where you are, don’t worry about it because you’re not stuck either with who you are or where you are. You can grow. You can change. You can be more than you are.”

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.”

“Outside of your relationship with God, the most important relationship you can have is with yourself. I don’t mean that we are to spend all our time focused on me, me, me to the exclusion of others. Instead, I mean that we must be healthy internally, emotionally and spiritually – in order to create healthy relationships with others.”

A young entrepreneur in a suede coat on his way to Zig Ziglar sales training

A young entrepreneur in a suede coat on his way to Zig Ziglar sales training

“When your image improves, your performance improves.” – Zig Ziglar

Quotes about Achieving Success

It is without question that Ziglar was able to use his talents and skills to achieve real success. From his early days as a founder member for the American Salesmasters, when he was just one of many speakers in the local auditoriums of the South and Midwest, Ziglar went on to speak extensively for audiences of the National Association of Sales Education (NASE), and also became a major sales trainer for Mary Kay Cosmetics.

With time and hard work, Ziglar went from attempting to raise the profile of salespeople in America to actually training them for success. Working with larger companies brought more recognition and larger audiences for his work.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“If you have the character to hang in there when it’s tough, you will develop or acquire every other characteristic necessary to WIN in the game of life.”

“If you do not think you deserve success, then you will do things that will keep you from getting success.”

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

“Moving from survival to stability, from stability to success, from success to significance.”

“Success comes when opportunity meets preparation.”

A track and field runner takes his mark on a red track before a race

A track and field runner takes his mark on a red track before a race

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar


“You can change everything about your business by changing your thinking about your business.”

“Fear has two meaning; ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.”

“Money is not everything but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”

“Success is dependent upon the glands – sweat glands.”

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit every time.”

“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”

“You already have every characteristic necessary for success if you recognize, claim, develop and use them.”

“You are the only person on Earth who can use your ability.”

A happy blonde woman sharing her favorite Zig Ziglar motivation quote

A happy blonde woman sharing her favorite Zig Ziglar motivation quote

“Getting up and moving forward is a choice.” – Zig Ziglar

“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”

“When you do more than you’re paid for. Eventually, you’ll be paid for more than you do.”

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an an absolute sense of mission.”

“Motivation is the fuel necessary to keep the human engine running.”

“Where you start is not as important as where you finish.”

Snow falling on a vacant intersection in Detroit on Christmas Eve

Snow falling on a vacant intersection in Detroit on Christmas Eve

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” – Zig Ziglar


“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”

“You can start where you are with what you’ve got and go to wherever it is you want to go.”

“If you are going to be successful, you must develop persistence. How do you do that? It is not easily condensed in one simple statement, but one thing you can be sure of is that your must define your purpose.”

“You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.”

An optimistic woman jumping in celebration in front of a white wooden wall

An optimistic woman jumping in celebration in front of a white wooden wall

“We cannot start over, but we can begin now and make a new ending.” – Zig Ziglar

Quotes about Failure

But Ziglar’s story isn’t just about success. In 1968, he became a vice president and training director for the Automotive Performance company and moved to Dallas, Texas. Though the future looked bright, the company went bankrupt just two years later.

When he wasn’t speaking at training seminars or attending meetings, Ziglar was writing – a lot. He wrote more than 30 books over the course of his career, starting with See You At The Top. Though it is still in print today, Ziglar’s first book was rejected 39 times before it was finally published in 1975. His resilience and unwillingness to give up still inspires us today.

“Most people who fail in their dream fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.”

“There is little you can learn from doing nothing.”

“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”

“You don’t drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there.”

A woman crossing a crosswalk on a sunny day in Alexandria, Virginia

A woman crossing a crosswalk on a sunny day in Alexandria, Virginia

“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” – Zig Ziglar

“One of the main reasons people fail to reach their full potential is because they are unwilling to risk anything.”

“Try to look at your weakness and convert it into your strength.”

“Don’t let the mistakes and disappointments of the past control and direct your future.”

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“Failure is an event, it is not a person—yesterday ended last night—today is a brand new day and it’s yours.”

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Ziglar

“If you don’t plan your time, someone else will help you waste it.”

Quotes about Goal Setting

Achieving so much – from writing, to speaking engagements, and training – required excellent time management and organization as well as effort. His most recent book, GOALS: How to Get the Most Out of Your Life, is a testament to his efficiency and introspection. It challenges readers to set and achieve goals without “confusing action for accomplishment,” and is a must for entrepreneurs and sales professionals.

It is therefore unsurprising that many of Ziglar’s quotes revolve around goal setting, and the role of being organized in achieving success. Whether our goals are big or small, life-changing, or just another step on the road to victory, these quotes remind us that each of us has the same amount of time in the day – it’s what we do with it that counts.

“Firstly, you must have some big goals, because thinking big creates the excitement necessary for accomplishment. Second, you must have some long range goals, so that short range frustrations don’t stop you in your tracks. Third, you must have daily objectives cause making it big means working every day toward your long range goals. And fourth, your goals must be specific, not vague or general.”

A woman in a blue linen shirt waiting at the counter in a cafe in Boston

A woman in a blue linen shirt waiting at the counter in a cafe in Boston

“Anyone with a purpose can make a difference.” – Zig Ziglar

“You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.”

“In order for a goal is to be effective, it must effect change.”

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

“You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.”

“Identify your goals, and set a deadline for reaching them. Make a list of obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals, identify the people who can help you overcome those obstacles, and make a list of skills you have and those you need to achieve your goals and then develop a plan.”

A panoramic view of mountains in the Alps covered with snow.

A panoramic view of mountains in the Alps covered with snow.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar

“The real benefit of having goals is what you become by reaching them.”

“You got to have long range goals. You go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you will always be able to see further.”

“To reach your full potential, you have to set goals that will stretch you.”

“When you stop planning and preparing, you stop winning.”

A spalding basketball swishing through the net at an outdoor basketball court

A spalding basketball swishing through the net at an outdoor basketball court

“Desire is born with vision.” – Zig Ziglar

“People do not wander around and then find themselves at the top of Mount Everest.”

“A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. But a vision and a task are the hope of the world.”

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Quotes about Relationships

Ziglar met his wife Jean in 1944, in Jackson, Mississippi. He was just 17 and she was 16. The couple married in late 1946, and went on to have four children: Suzan, Tom, Cindy, and Julie.

They were married for an incredible 66 years, until his death in 2012 at 86 years old. In 2004, he wrote Courtship After Marriage: Romance Can Last a Lifetime – a book full of the lessons he learned about the importance of investing time and effort into your marriage and your spouse.

Ziglar’s quotes and writings about love are testament to the amazing love between Jean and Hilary, as well as the love he had for other people and their dreams. His favorite life motto was: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want” – reminding us of the importance of love and compassion in our relationships at home and work.

“Look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, down in compassion, and up with gratitude.”

“How happy a person is depends upon the depth of his gratitude. You will notice at once that the unhappy person has little gratitude toward life, other people and God.”

A blonde girl expressing gratitude with outstretched arms on a mountaintop

A blonde girl expressing gratitude with outstretched arms on a mountaintop

“The healthiest of all human emotions is gratitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“You become part of what you are around.”

“The more you are grateful for what you have the more you will have to be grateful for.”

“You don’t build a business – you build people – and people build the business.”

“You cannot fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys.”

“You don’t climb the high mountain all by yourself, it is in conjunction with others that we really accomplish the major things in life.”

A picture of two business partners smiling on a book shelf full of novels

A picture of two business partners smiling on a book shelf full of novels

“Surround yourself with people who want the best for you and the people you love!” – Zig Ziglar

“The greatest cause of a poor image is the absence of unconditional love.”

“The more you are grateful for what you have the more you will have to be grateful for.”

“Like sterling silver, love will tarnish unless it is polished with daily applications of interest, involvement, and expressions of love.”

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood that they’re on the same side.”

“To a child love is spelled T-I-M-E.”

A couple sitting in a field in Colorado staring at the Rocky Mountains ahead

A couple sitting in a field in Colorado staring at the Rocky Mountains ahead

“Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.” – Zig Ziglar

“The best way to make your spouse and children feel secure is not with big deposits in bank accounts, but with little deposits of thoughtfulness and affection in the “love” account.”

“When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”

Two children in North Face parkas sitting in the now and holding hands

Two children in North Face parkas sitting in the now and holding hands

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they’ve never failed to imitate them.” – Zig Ziglar

Quotes to Motivate You

Zig Ziglar’s legacy is one of motivation, encouragement, and wisdom. Whether his words were spoken out loud or written down, they are still capable of inspiring us today. His commitment to living a happy and positive life, encouraging others to fulfill their dreams, and adopting a single-minded focus to achieving success in your personal and professional life is something we can all learn from.

“You are the most influential person you will talk to all day.”

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember ~ the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

A smiling brunette woman with red Revlon lipstick and a Red H&M sweater

A smiling brunette woman with red Revlon lipstick and a Red H&M sweater

“Make today worth remembering.” – Zig Ziglar

“Put all excuses aside and remember this: YOU are capable.”

“You can start from where you are with what you’ve got and go to where it is you want to go.”

“I recognize that winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.”

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”

“When you’ve got a strong enough why, you can always find the how.”

Three women in sun dresses and hats laughing and talking together

Three women in sun dresses and hats laughing and talking together

“We do not stop working and playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop working and playing.” – Zig Ziglar

“You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.”

“Peak performance is dependent on passion, grit, determination, and a willingness to do something poorly until you can do it well.”

“You cannot solve a problem until you acknowledge that you have one and accept responsibility for solving it.”

A man holding his daughter and looking at a sparkler in the foreground

A man holding his daughter and looking at a sparkler in the foreground

“Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul.” – Zig Ziglar

From humble beginnings, Zig Ziglar made motivating and encouraging others his business – and he made a fortune while doing it. Worth an estimated $15million in 2012, Ziglar proved that working hard pays off. We hope these amazing quotes will motivate you to bigger and brighter things, today and everyday!

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