20 Transforming Leadership, Innovation & Creativity Quotes That Will Inspire You To Do More

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The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom.

James Clear

I have always been a fan of “good and wise quotes.” There’s something about them. You can draw inspiration and get motivated by the wise words of wise people. 

I love quotes. I love to decorate my writings with them. Good and wise quotes beautify writing, they bring out the color of your writing and give more power and force to your message.

Whenever I need a little nudge to move forward, I always resort to going back to the powerful words of great people. And I must confess, I have never been let down — not once.

As writers, creators, leaders, entrepreneurs, and everyday people, there will always be times and seasons when you will feel dry and dull. These times and seasons are normal. You may need to get some rest and get refreshed or you may need to grow bigger and dig deeper. 

The right words from the right people can make a lot of difference in your creative journey.

Words are powerful, there’s life in them.

So, here are some of my favorite quotes on leadership, innovation, and creativity from some very amazing human beings.

I believe these words full of grace and energy will also inspire and motivate you to do more.

I also made little comments on some of the quotes.

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.

Rosalyn Carter, former First Lady

Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when we get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way.

Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc

Show early and show often. That’s it. That’s just it. Some people think they have to wait to have a perfect product or service before they launch! They are missing the whole point. You don’t have to figure it all out before you lurch forward. What you need is to keep showing up. Show up, be ready to learn the right things that will help you; change, where needed, and see how you grow to become a force people, will find difficult to resist.

Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.

Seth Godin.

Early in my little experience with leadership, I began to understand that it’s not just about your ideas. Your ideas are just a small part of the whole circle. The mistake a lot of young and talented folks make early in their innovative and creative careers is that they hold on tightly to their own ideas refusing to consider the ideas of others. Your ideas are not perfect. Your ideas have weaknesses. The ability to understand this truth will take you far. When you want to start anything at all, make sure you do it with the help of others. And always have it at the front of your heart that whatever platform you are building as a leader must fulfill the primary goal of helping others nurture their own ideas.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “what are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Why do you desperately want to lead? Why do you want to be in front? Why do you want to start a company? Why, Why, Why?

Well, it’s all about people [it should be all about people].

Leadership is all about people. It’s not about you. It’s about them. Leadership is the greatest form of sacrifice one can ever show. I mean, true leadership because the kind of leadership we see today in the world is highly self-centered, only a few people are out there working to see that those they lead become better in life. Leadership is not management — two entirely different things. Very different.

When you want to build a ship, do not begin by gathering wood, cutting boards, and distributing work, but awaken within the heart of man the desire for the vast and endless sea.

Antoine De Saint Exupery. 

Herein lies why many of us find it difficult to build teams that work. For people to give their all to any cause, they must be excited about it. They must understand what it’s all about. They must be lost in it. When they don’t love and understand the journey, it will be difficult to capture their commitment.

Your vision will become clear, only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. 

Carl Jung. 

It’s very important to take risks. I think that research is very important, but in the end, you have to work from your instinct and feeling and take those risks and be fearless.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue. 

Take risks. Calculated ones. Not foolish ones [though, sometimes, some foolish risks tend to produce magnificent results]. Life is all about taking the right kind of risk. Leaving your comfort zone is a risk. You have got no solid guarantees. You just have to take the step! And on research. Uhm, do your research, properly, that’s extremely important. However, sometimes, research may not be able to see beyond a certain corridor. Look at Tesla for example. No one thought that it was going to become a success. Even research could not do anything to help. It was the heart of risk, the heart that dares — made it all happen.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

Albert Einstein. 

Right from when I was a young boy studying the sciences, I had fallen in love with Einstein [who doesn’t love Einstein, especially the science folks]. And when Einstein explains how he enjoys science, he talks about imagination, creativity, and innovation. If you can imagine, create and innovate, you will make a great scientist or artist, or leader. It all depends on how you view the world. 

“I roamed the countryside searching for the answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plant and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it and why immediately on its creation the lightening becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life.” 

Leonardo da Vinci.

I bet you have heard about Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, an Italian polymath of the 15th century, a very high renaissance fellow who dabbled into a lot of creative realms, as a painter [painted the famous Mona Lisa], architect, engineer, scientist, and philosopher — just one man. How was he so creative? Simple, he mastered the art of looking around him. We become too busy as human beings that we forget to look around us. That’s where the magic is, around you. If you are looking for a great story, look around you. If you are looking for an engineering problem, look around you. Nature seems to have provided all we need, hidden around us, it’s just left for us to open our hearts and look closely. You will find things there. 

“Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries. Innovation arises from ongoing circles of exchange, where information is not just accumulated or stored, but created. Knowledge is generated anew from connections that weren’t there before.”

Margaret J. Wheatley Leadership and the New Science.

There’s no innovation in isolation. The innovator has learned to take interaction seriously. They know how to connect, they know how to mix, and they know how to weave information and experiences together. If you think you can stay in your self-made prison and create anything useful, you must be joking. Jump all out! Create connections, and build relationships. This was why schools were designed so that human beings can learn from others through interaction. Great books we read today did not fall from the sky. Someone somewhere picked up a wave of inspiration when they were interacting with other people. That’s it. 

“When you are completely absorbed or caught up in something, you become oblivious to things around you, or to the passage of time. It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imagination.”

Dr. Rollo May.

Magical… just soooo magical…

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Sir Ken Robinson.

“Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”

Sam Ewing.

“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”

Edward de Bono.

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”

Charles Brower.

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”

Martha Graham.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

Mary Lou Cook.

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”

 Jack London.

This is especially true for writers. You can write every day. If you want to. You may not experience the same levels of inspiration every day [some days are higher, some lower and some days are relatively empty of inspiration]. If you want to just sit down and wait for the wind of inspiration to cruise by your doorstep, you will end up creating very little. You go after it with all that you have, with all your might. And I tell you, if you run after it enough, you will catch it. 

“Nothing is done. Everything in the world remains to be done or done over. The greatest picture is not yet painted, the greatest play isn’t written, the greatest poem is unsung. There isn’t in all the world a perfect railroad, nor a good government, nor a sound law. Physics, mathematics, and especially the most advanced and exact of the sciences are being fundamentally revised. . . Psychology, economics, and sociology are awaiting a Darwin, whose work in turn is awaiting an Einstein.”

Lincoln Steffens.

This is here is just so beautiful and true. Whatever you have created or designed as an innovator can be improved on. No matter how perfect you feel it is. There’s always room for improvement. When we thought we had seen it all, a man comes on the scene and announces that he wants to send men to Mars. What a dream. 

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.”

Isaac Bashevis Singer.

This isn’t an exhaustive list. I still have a lot to share with you. And if you have quotes that inspire you, why not share them with us in the comment section below.

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