I have been fascinated for years with the role of the President of the United States. This has to be one of the most challenging jobs in the world and you have to spend years convincing the American people that you’re the right one to have it. Today, as a nation, we recognize President George Washington’s birthday and honor all the past presidents. In no order and with no recognition of political position, here are some of my favorite presidential one-liners:
- “The Buck Stops Here” – Harry S. Truman: Leaders have to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions and for those of their team.
- “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” – John F. Kennedy: We must challenge ourselves to pursue selfless ambitions rather than selfish ones.
- “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” – Thomas Jefferson: Leadership means speaking up when things aren’t right.
- “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” – Abraham Lincoln: His decision to recognize the political and leadership value in his presidential opponents gave him one of the most unique Cabinets ever, and came in handy as he worked to heal a fractured nation. (Book recommendation – Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of my favorites)
- “Above all, tell the truth.” – Grover Cleveland: Leaders should prioritize honesty and integrity.
- “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Diagnosing the hidden nature of challenges you’re facing is the first step toward resolution.
Lastly, a quote that I came across when looking some of these up. This isn’t one I had ever heard, but it speaks to our call as leaders: “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” – George Washington
What about you? Any other presidential quotes you appreciate?
Here’s a list of lots more: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/presquotes1.html