The real meanings behind the best motivational quotes of all time

Every now and again, we all need some motivation. But it can be easy to misunderstand the sayings. Or we hear something so many times – and hear what other people say it means – that the meaning just kind of sticks in our heads. It’s not your fault when this happens. It’s common to recall what you hear the most, it’s a mechanism the brain uses to do less work. 

So when you need some motivation, check out these quotes. From Walt Disney and Michael Phelps to Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama, these are some of the best motivational quotes of all time – and what they really mean. 

Just start

Just start

The quote: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

– Walt Disney

What people think it means:

As the Nike slogan goes, many people assume this quote means “just do it.” If you’re not doing something physical or active, then you aren’t doing anything worthwhile.

What it really means:

While you have to take action to get anywhere, sometimes talking is the action you need to take. Having a difficult conversation will require a lot of talking. Or planning a new business idea will likely require you to talk with potential partners. Both are important examples of talking being the required action.

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