101 Inspirational Earl Nightingale Quotes on Success

Earl Nightingale, an American radio personality, speaker, author and pioneer of personal development, left an enduring legacy of success and philosophy.

Born in 1921 in a deprived Californian community, Nightingale’s early curiosity drove him to the library where he began a lifelong learning journey.

His perseverance resulted in becoming a renowned expert on success. His illustrious radio career included a notable stint as the voice of the hero in the 1950-56 series ‘Sky King.’

His transformative philosophy—”we become what we think about”—found expression in his seminal book, ‘The Strangest Secret,’ recognized as a leading motivational book and a classic spoken word recording.


Despite starting from scratch and experiencing the hardship of the Great Depression, Nightingale climbed the ladder of success, pioneering the personal development industry alongside Lloyd Conant.

He received numerous accolades for his work, including the first-ever Golden Record for ‘The Strangest Secret.’ Even posthumously, Nightingale’s work continues to inspire and guide people globally, embodying his philosophy—you reap what you sow.

Related: Denis Waitley Quotes and Sigmund Freud Quotes.

His timeless wisdom emphasizes personal growth, service to others and the power of positive thinking.

I have chosen a few of the best quotes from Earl Nightingale for you.

Inspirational Earl Nightingale Quotes


1. “We become what we think about.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

2. “Dream what you dare to dream. Go where you want to go. Be what you want to be.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

3. “If you spend an extra hour each day of study in your chosen field you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

4. “Most people tiptoe their way through life, hoping they make it safely to death.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

5. “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

6. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

7. “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

8. “Everything begins with an idea.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

9. “We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

10. “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).


11. “Don’t wait for change. You change.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

12. “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

13. “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

14. “The strangest secret in the world is that you become what you think about.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

15. “Control your thoughts. Decide about that which you will think and concentrate upon. You are in charge of your life to the degree you take charge of your thoughts.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

16. “Success is not the result of making money; earning money is the result of success – and success is in direct proportion to our service.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

17. “We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

18. “Your world is a living expression of how you are using and have used your mind.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).


19. “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

20. “Instead of competing, all we have to do is create.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Best Earl Nightingale Quotes

21. “Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

22. “Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

23. “A great attitude is not the result of success; success is the result of a great attitude.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

24. “Excellence always sells.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

25. “Perseverance is another word for faith!” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

26. “Our rewards in life will always be in exact proportion to the amount of consideration we show toward others.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

27. “Your rewards in life are in direct proportion to your service.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

28. “Visualization is the human being’s vehicle to the future – good, bad, or indifferent. It’s strictly in our control.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

29. “Watch what everyone else does – do the opposite. The majority is always wrong.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

30. “All you have to do is hold your goal before you and everything else will take care of itself.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

31. “Preparation for life is so important. Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Opportunity is all around us. Are you prepared?” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

32. “We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

33. “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

34. “The picture you have of yourself, your self-esteem, will have a profound effect on the way you see the world and the way your world sees you.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

35. “Never compete, create.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

36. “Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

37. “Whatever the majority of people is doing, under any given circumstances, if you do the exact opposite, you will probably never make another mistake as long as you live.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

38. “Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Top Earl Nightingale Quotes

39. “If the average person realized the power he wields over his life and destiny, he would live in a perpetual state of wonder and thanksgiving.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

40. “By being persistent, you’re demonstrating faith. Persistence is simply another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you’d never persist.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

41. “Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

42. “Your world and everything in it is a reflection of your own mental attitude toward yourself.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).


43. “Every one of us is the sum total of his own thoughts.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

44. “Ask yourself every morning, ‘how can I increase my service today?’” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

45. “The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

46. “The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

47. “One thing a goal must do is fill us with positive emotion when we think about it. The more intensely we feel about a goal the more progressively we’ll move toward it.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

48. “Chance does not work. Only choice will work. Your choice!” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

49. “People don’t have great attitudes because of great success, they have great success largely because of great attitudes.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

50. “Everything that’s really worthwhile in life comes to us free – our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our intelligence, our love of family and friends and country. All of these priceless possessions are free.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

51. “We are all creatures of habit. We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Famous Earl Nightingale Quotes

52. “Your rewards, all the years of your life, will be in precise proportion to your service. You are here to serve others, just as they serve you.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

53. “What’s going on in the inside shows on the outside.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

54. “Your rewards will be determined by the extent of your contribution, that is your service to others.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).


55. “No man can get rich himself unless he enriches others.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

56. “Getting rich, or becoming outstanding at anything is all a matter of attitude. You must make up your mind once and for all – you commit yourself – and then just stay with it until you finally have what you set out to get.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

57. “The amount of money we receive will always be in direct ratio to the demand for what we do; our ability to do it; and the difficulty in replacing us.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

58. “Don’t take the attitude of waiting for people to be nice to you – be nice to them. Don’t sit in front of a cold stove waiting for the heat. Put in the fuel. Act first.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

59. “Attitude is the reflection of a person, and our world mirrors our attitude.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

60. “Strange and marvelous things will happen with constant regularity as you alter your life and begin living in harmony with the laws of the universe.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

61. “How can I be of the greatest service doing that which I most enjoy doing?” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Short Earl Nightingale Quotes

62. “All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

63. “Be positive, cheerful, grateful and expectant.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

64. “Goals reflect your choice of destination.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

65. “We tend to live up to our expectations.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

66. “The greatest thing on earth is a good idea!” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

67. “Happiness comes to those who are moving toward something they want very much to happen. And it almost always involves making someone else happy.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

68. “Without a goal we are much like the man with a boat and nowhere to go. Goals give us the drive and energy we need to remain on track long enough for their accomplishment.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

69. “You can’t get rich unless you EN-rich.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

70. “Shooting for the top will bring out the best that’s in you.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

71. “Problems are challenges to creative minds. Without problems, there would be little reason to think at all.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

72. “A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

73. “If the grass is greener on the other side it’s probably getting better care. Success is a matter of sticking to a set of common sense principles anyone can master.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

74. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to live on this beautiful and astonishing planet Earth. In the morning, I wake up with a sense of gratitude.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

75. “Get into a line that you will find to be a deep personal interest, something you really enjoy spending twelve to fifteen hours a day working at, and the rest of the time thinking about.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Inspiring Earl Nightingale Quotes

76. “A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

77. “It’s never too late, for with a purpose, a worthy goal and a motivation to reach those upper layers on the pyramid, a person can travel further in a few years than he might otherwise travel in a lifetime.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

78. “Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity; whenever there is opportunity, there lurks danger. The two are inseparable. They go together.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

79. “You are responsible for how your life turns out, and your attitude shapes that life for better or worse.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

80. “To achieve happiness, we should make certain that we are never without an important goal.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

81. “As in all successful ventures, the foundation of a good retirement is planning.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).


82. “A person who does not read is no better than one cannot read.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

83. “Do what experts since the dawn of recorded history have told you you must do: pay the price by becoming the person you want to become. It’s not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

84. “Everything you and I will ever have will come to us as the result of the way we use our minds, the one thing we possess that makes us different from all other creatures.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

85. “The only person who succeeds is the person who is progressively realizing a worthy ideal. That’s the person who says, ‘I’m going to become this’ and then begins to work toward that goal.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

86. “Even if our home burns down we can rebuild it. But the things that we got for nothing, we can never replace.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

87. “The man who succeeds above his fellows is the one who early in life clearly discerns his object, and towards that object habitually directs his powers.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

88. “Security isn’t what the wise person looks for; it’s opportunity. And once we begin looking for that, we find it on every side. You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together.”

89. “Any person who contributes to prosperity must prosper in turn.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

90. “Real evils can be either cured or endured; it is only imaginary evils that make people anxiety-ridden for a lifetime.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Motivational Earl Nightingale Quotes

91. “Each of us creates his or her own life largely by our attitude.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

92. “Money is the harvest of our production and service. We in turn use it to obtain the production and service of others.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

93. “In doing that which we most enjoy, we will probably make our most significant contribution to society, and the contribution we make to society determines our rewards.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

94. “Every great accomplishment of mankind has been preceded by an extended period, often over many years, of concentrated effort.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

95. “The person with just one good idea is a thousand times better off than the person with no good ideas.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

96. “To give oneself is the only way of becoming oneself.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

97. “If we can augment our gift giving by giving more of ourselves to those we love, all the time and in various ways, we will have a good chance of helping them and ourselves live happier, better lives.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

98. “You are, at this moment, standing, right in the middle of your own ‘acres of diamonds.’” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

99. “Mistakes are a natural part of growing up. They’re to be expected and made light of. But children bloom like spring flowers under praise. They want so much to be noticed and appreciated, to excel and have that excellence noticed.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

100. “Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

101. “To become successful and outstanding at something, we don’t have to come up with something new; we need only find ways of doing it better.” ~ (Earl Nightingale).

Other Famous People Quotes

Short Biography of Earl Nightingale

Earl Nightingale, born in Los Angeles in 1921, was a renowned American radio speaker and author celebrated for his work on personal development and motivation.

He gained fame in the early 1950s as the voice of Sky King on radio and hosted a program on WGN from 1950 to 1956.

He wrote “The Strangest Secret,” acclaimed as one of the great motivational books.

Full Name Earl Nightingale V
Born March 12, 1921 Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died March 25, 1989 (aged 68) Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation(s) Radio Speaker, Author
Notable work Sky King, The Strangest Secret, Our Changing World

Nightingale’s significant insight, influenced by “Think and Grow Rich,” was that our thoughts shape our reality.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII, surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor. His widow, Diana, continues his legacy.

Quick Facts about Earl Nightingale

  • Earl Nightingale was a prominent American public speaker and self-help coach.
  • He is well-known for his audio book “The Strangest Secret.”
  • This audio book was the first in the self-improvement genre to sell over 1 million copies.
  • Earl emphasized that our thoughts shape who we become.
  • Personal development, according to him, should start with correcting one’s thinking.
  • Earl’s deep, confident voice initially drew listeners to his work.
  • His teachings are considered transformative and highly effective.
  • Bob Proctor, a success coach, worked extensively with Earl and credited him with transforming his life.
  • Earl experienced a breakthrough at age 29 while reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.”
  • He realized the profound truth that “we are what we think about.”
  • Earl taught that success in any area of life starts with dominant thoughts.
  • Action combined with bold thinking is necessary for success, he argued.
  • Napoleon Hill’s book mentions a success secret in every chapter, which Earl explored deeply.
  • “The Strangest Secret” became a global hit upon its release in 1956.
  • The book emphasizes that thoughts create reality and discusses the opportunities in America.
  • Earl outlined that few people actually reach their dreams and goals.
  • He revealed that only 5% of people achieve measurable success and only 1% become wealthy.
  • Earl described success as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
  • He criticized societal conformity and encouraged originality to achieve success.
  • Earl highlighted that most people are financially insecure by age 65.
  • He noted that people often feel their lives are shaped by external forces beyond their control.
  • Setting a large, exciting, and somewhat frightening goal is recommended.
  • Goals must align with one’s core beliefs and demand full devotion.
  • Earl used the analogy of a ship with a captain to emphasize the importance of having clear, directed goals.
  • The law of attraction, he taught, is central to achieving personal goals.
  • All great religions and philosophers agree on the power of thoughts, according to Earl.
  • One cannot achieve multiple goals simultaneously without focused effort.
  • The law of attraction works best when one goal is pursued with singular focus.
  • Persistent effort and focus on goals are necessary for achieving high success.
  • Earl’s teachings suggest that managing one’s thoughts is the first step towards personal and professional fulfillment.

Top Questions about Earl Nightingale

Q: What groundbreaking realization did Earl Nightingale achieve while reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”?

A: Earl Nightingale realized that “we become what we think about,” a concept that profoundly impacted his career and teachings.

Q: What is Earl Nightingale’s definition of success as mentioned in his audiobook “The Strangest Secret”?

A: Earl Nightingale defines success as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

Q: In “The Strangest Secret,” how does Earl Nightingale describe the percentage of people who achieve significant success in life?

A: He notes that only 5 out of 100 people achieve measurable success, and even fewer, 1 in 100, become rich.

Q: What is the key message about personal development that Earl Nightingale emphasizes through his work?

A: Earl emphasizes that personal development should focus on correcting one’s thinking first, as our thoughts shape our reality.

Q: How did Bob Proctor’s life change after working with Earl Nightingale?

A: Bob Proctor claims that working with Earl Nightingale transformed his life, attributing his success to the teachings he received during that time.

Q: What does Earl Nightingale suggest about setting goals in life?

A: He suggests setting large, exciting, and somewhat intimidating goals that align with your core beliefs and require full devotion.

Q: How does Earl Nightingale compare the journeys of two ships to illustrate a point about life goals?

A: He compares a ship with a clear destination and a captain to one without direction, emphasizing that having specific goals increases the likelihood of achieving them.

Q: According to Earl Nightingale, what common thread runs through all major religions and philosophical thoughts?

A: The common thread is the principle that our thoughts shape who we are, a fundamental aspect of the Law of Attraction.

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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