101 Denis Waitley Quotes to Inspire You to Take Action

Denis E. Waitley, born in 1933, is a revered American motivational speaker, author and consultant, celebrated for his audio series “The Psychology of Winning” and insightful books such as “Seeds of Greatness” and “The Winner’s Edge”.

He’s been rightfully honored in the International Speakers’ Hall of Fame for his contributions.

Born in San Diego, California, Waitley came from humble beginnings with his mother working in a factory and his father in a warehouse.

Following his graduation from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, he pursued a career as a naval aviator.


After serving in the Navy, he transitioned to become a financial public relations representative for an electronics firm and later joined the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as a fundraiser.

Related: Zig Ziglar Quotes and Benjamin Franklin Quotes.

In 1978, he released “The Psychology of Winning”, which sold over 2 million copies and amassed $100 million in sales.

Despite controversy surrounding his qualifications, Waitley remained a prolific author and a notable figure in promoting self-esteem and psychological training for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council.

Here are the best quotes from Denis Waitley for you.

Best Denis Waitley Quotes

1. “The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.” ~ (Denis Waitley).


2. “Losers let it happen; winners make it happen!” ~ (Denis Waitley).

3. “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward, toward finding the answer.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

4. “Motivation is motive in action.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

5. “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

6. “The real risk is doing nothing.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

7. “Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

8. “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

9. “Give your best effort, because you are worth your best effort.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

10. “A good life is a collection of happy memories.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

11. “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

12. “There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

13. “The truth is, you don’t break a bad habit; you replace it with a good one.” ~ (Denis Waitley).


14. “The most important three words you can say to yourself: Yes I can!” ~ (Denis Waitley).

15. “No one is born with self confidence. Self confidence is learned and earned with experience.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

16. “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

17. “Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

18. “When you visualize, then you materialize.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

19. “Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

20. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

Top Denis Waitley Quotes

21. “Time And health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

22. “Commitment is that turning point in your life when you seize the moment to alter your destiny.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

23. “When you visualize, then you materialize. If you’ve been there in the mind you’ll go there in the body.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

24. “View life as a continuous learning experience.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

25. “The most splendid achievement of all is the constant striving to surpass yourself and to be worthy of your own approval.” ~ (Denis E. Waitley).

26. “It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

27. “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” ~ (Denis Waitley).


28. “The greatest communication skill is paying value to others.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

29. “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

30. “Chase your passion, not your pension.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

31. “Don’t wait for an employer, friend, or mentor to show appreciation for your work. Take pride in your own efforts on a daily basis.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

32. “Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

33. “Pessimists see a problem behind every opportunity. Optimists see an opportunity behind every problem.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

34. “The less you try to impress, the more impressive you are.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

35. “A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

36. “The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

37. “Happiness, wealth, and success are by-products of goal setting, they cannot be the goal themselves.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

38. “Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

39. “Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

40. “Listening without bias or distraction is the greatest value you can pay another person.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

Famous Denis Waitley Quotes

41. “Accept yourself as you are right now; an imperfect, changing, growing and worthy person.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

42. “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

43. “If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

44. “Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

45. “We learn by observation, imitation and repetition.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

46. “Most people spend their entire lives on a fantasy island called ‘Someday I’ll.’” ~ (Denis Waitley).

47. “To establish true self-esteem we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

48. “Opportunities are problems in search of solutions.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

49. “I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.” ~ (Denis Waitley).


50. “Real power comes by empowering others.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

51. “Live each day as if it was your last, not in the future, not in the past. You may not get what you want, but, in the long run, you will get what you expect.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

52. “Self-esteem is that deep-down inside the skin feeling you have of your own self-worth.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

53. “Doubters don’t win, winners don’t doubt.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

54. “The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

55. “All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners. Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing and not moving toward excellence.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

56. “Your attitude is a choice you make.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

57. “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

58. “Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

59. “Imagination plus innovation equals realization.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

60. “No man or woman is an island. To exist just for yourself is meaningless. You can achieve the most satisfaction when you feel related to some greater purpose in life, something greater than yourself.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

Short Denis Waitley Quotes

61. “I would rather fail trying than succeed at doing nothing.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

62. “Your attitude is either the lock on, or the key to the door of your success.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

63. “Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

64. “Habits are like comfortable beds. They are easy to get into, but difficult to get out of.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

65. “Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

66. “Motivation is an inner force that compels behavior.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

67. “There is a direct relationship between joy and effort. The joy of success is in ratio to the amount of effort expended to achieve it.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

68. “God’s Law of Cause and Effect: Your rewards in life will always be equal to the amount and quality of service rendered, in the long run.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

69. “A dream is a vision, a goal is a promise. You can keep your promises to yourself by remaining flexible, focused, and committed.” ~ (Denis Waitley).


70. “Habits are like submarines; they run silent and deep.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

71. “Touch is the magic wand of intimacy. Love is keeping in touch.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

72. “You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

73. “Success is not the destination; it’s a way to travel.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

74. “The only limits on human achievement are self-imposed.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

75. “You must learn from your past mistakes, but not lean on your past successes.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

76. “Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

77. “Get excited and enthusiastic about your own dream. This excitement is like a forest fire – you can smell it, taste it, and see it from a mile away.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

78. “Achievers can almost literally taste success because they imagine their goals in such vivid detail. Setbacks only seem to add spice and favor to the final taste of victory.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

79. “Darren Hardy proves with The Compound Effect that common sense-when applied-yields amazingly uncommon results. Follow these simple steps and become who you were meant to be!” ~ (Denis Waitley).

80. “Champions never brag, never shout, never have to go to extremes to build themselves up for others or put others down. They let their actions, deeds, and results speak for them.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

Inspiring Denis Waitley Quotes

81. “We don’t get what we want, we get what we expect.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

82. “The world is a mirror and reflects back your expectations. What you get is what you see.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

83. “You can only do good if you feel good.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

84. “Winners take time to relish their work, knowing that scaling the mountain is what makes the view from the top so exhilarating.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

85. “You have all the reason in the world to achieve your grandest dreams. Imagination plus innovation equals realization.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

86. “Positive self-direction is the action plan that all winners in life use to turn imagination into reality, fantasy into fact, and dreams into actual goals.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

87. “Goals are like stepping-stones to the stars. They should never be used to put a ceiling or a limit on achievement.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

88. “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

89. “You must continue to gain expertise, but avoid thinking like an expert.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

90. “If you’re not networking, you’re not networking.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

Inspirational Denis Waitley Quotes

91. “By thinking and acting affirmatively in this minute, you will influence the hour, the day, and in time, your entire life.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

92. “Time is the most precious element of human existence. The successful person knows how to put energy into time and how to draw success from time.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

93. “Perseverance does not always mean sticking to the same thing forever. It means giving full concentration and effort to whatever you are doing right now.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

94. “The greatest choice we have is to think before we act and then take action toward our life goals every day. Our problems result not only from our lack of action, but from our action without thought.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

95. “Everything that is past is either a learning experience to grow on, a beautiful memory to reflect on, or a motivating factor to act upon.” ~ (Denis Waitley).


96. “Put up the dream. Put in the knowledge. Put out the effort.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

97. “Time changes everything, but with patience we can keep our desires relatively constant. If we can just hang on long enough, time will eventually create for us the conditions in which we can succeed.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

98. “The truly successful person inspires others to do more than they have thought possible for themselves.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

99. “The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

100. “What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. Your answers lie inside of you.” ~ (Denis Waitley). 

101. “Highly motivated achievers are looking not to receive but to contribute. They are looking for problems that are personally satisfying to solve.” ~ (Denis Waitley).

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Short Biography of Denis Waitley

Denis E. Waitley, born in 1933 in San Diego, is a renowned American motivational speaker and author.

Denis Waitley

Best known for his audio series “The Psychology of Winning,” Waitley has sold over 2 million copies, generating significant success.

He grew up in a modest family and after his parents’ divorce, pursued an education at the United States Naval Academy, later becoming a naval aviator.

Full Name Denis E. Waitley
Born 1933 (age 90–91)
Nationality American
Occupation(s) Motivational Speaker, Consultant, Author
Known for Author of The Psychology of Winning

Post-navy, he worked in financial public relations and fundraising.

Despite a successful career, Waitley faced controversy over unverified academic credentials, leading to his retirement from the board of directors at Usana.

Additionally, Waitley contributed significantly to self-esteem and sports psychology initiatives.

Quick Facts about Denis Waitley

  • Denis E. Waitley, born in 1933 in San Diego, California, is a renowned American motivational speaker, writer, and consultant.
  • He is a best-selling author with popular works including “The Psychology of Winning” and “Seeds of Greatness.”
  • Waitley’s audio program, “The Psychology of Winning,” released in 1978, has sold over 2 million copies and generated $100 million in sales.
  • Over his career, Waitley has written 16 books and released more than 10 best-selling audio programs.
  • His early life challenges included his parents’ divorce at age ten and minimal contact with his father thereafter.
  • He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and served as a naval aviator.
  • Before his motivational speaking career, Waitley worked as a financial PR representative for an electronics company and later, as a fundraiser at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
  • He has been inducted into the International Speakers’ Hall of Fame and was a founding member of the National Council for Self-Esteem.
  • Waitley served as a former chairman of psychology for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council.
  • In 2007, Waitley retired from the board of directors of Usana after it was revealed that he did not hold a graduate degree from the US Navy and his Ph.D. credentials were unverifiable.

Top Questions about Denis Waitley

Q: What notable audio program did Denis E. Waitley release in 1978, and how successful was it in terms of sales?

A: Denis E. Waitley released the audio program “The Psychology of Winning” in 1978, which was highly successful, selling over 2 million copies and generating $100 million in sales.

Q: Which institution did Denis Waitley graduate from, and what degree did he earn?

A: Denis Waitley graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Q: Can you name two of Denis Waitley’s best-selling books?

A: Two of Denis Waitley’s best-selling books are “The Psychology of Winning” and “Seeds of Greatness.”

Q: What professional roles did Denis Waitley hold before becoming a motivational speaker?

A: Before becoming a motivational speaker, Denis Waitley worked as a financial PR representative for an electronics company and later as a fundraiser at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Q: What controversy emerged upon Denis Waitley’s retirement from the board of directors of Usana in 2007?

A: Upon his retirement in 2007, it was revealed that Denis Waitley did not have a graduate degree from the US Navy, and his Ph.D. credentials were unverifiable, leading to controversy.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar