Colin Powell Best Quotes

Colin Luther Powell (ˈkoʊlɨn; born April 5, 1937) is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under U.S. President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, the first African American to serve in that position. During his military career, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), holding the latter position during the Persian Gulf War. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was the first of two consecutive African American office-holders to hold the key administration position of U.S. Secretary of State. Enjoy Colin Powell’s best quotes below.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
“I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.”
“Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.”
“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
“Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up.”
“The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting above average effort.”
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
“Fit no stereotypes. Don’t chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission.”
“If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed.”
“Don’t let your ego get too close to your position, so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn’t go with it.”
“Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.”
“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”
“It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.”
“The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depend on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.”
“The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.”
“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”
“When you decide to get involved in a military operation in a place like Syria, you’ve got to be prepared, as we learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, to become the government, and I’m not sure any country, either the United States or I don’t hear of anyone else, who’s willing to take on that responsibility.”
“I always like to take my time and examine the two candidates, see not only the two candidates but the policies they will bring in, the people they will bring in, who they might appoint to the Supreme Court, and look at the whole range of issues before making a decision.”
“Get mad, then get over it.”
“Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”
“We need to understand that we as citizens and as a government in any community throughout this country have no more important obligation than to educate those who are going to replace us.”
“But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise. You’ve got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward.”
“It’s nice to say let’s be bipartisan. But we’re a partisan nation. We were raised as a partisan nation.”
“Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing.”
“Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.”
“You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.”
“War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.”
“I try to be the same person I was yesterday.”
“Don’t bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.”
“In other words, don’t expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say ‘we have a problem, let’s go and get it’.”
“We got rid of a terrible dictator. We gave the Iraqi people an opportunity for a new life under a representative form of government.”
“Experts often possess more data than judgment.”
“Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it, spend time with your families.”
“My own experience is use the tools that are out there. Use the digital world. But never lose sight of the need to reach out and talk to other people who don’t share your view. Listen to them and see if you can find a way to compromise.”
“It’s a disgrace that we have millions of people who are uninsured.”
“It’s not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney. It’s who they have coming with them. I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military.”
“You should see what our Founding Fathers used to say to each other and in the early part of our nation. But what they were able to do, especially in Philadelphia in 1787, four months, they argued about what a House should be, what a Senate should be, the power of the president, the Congress, the Supreme Court. And they had to deal with slavery.”
“Some of the generals are saying, ‘We’re making progress. We are clearing an area.’ But you really don’t defeat the Taliban by clearing an area. They move.”
“You can’t just have slogans, you can’t just have catchy phrases. You have to have an agenda. And I think what the Republican Party has to do, if it’s going to incorporate the tea party efforts in it, is to come up with an agenda that the American people can see, touch, and actually believe in, and something they believe in.”
“Don’t be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard.”
“Many interviewers when they come to talk to me, think they’re being progressive by not mentioning in their stories any longer that I’m black. I tell them, ‘Don’t stop now. If I shot somebody you’d mention it.’”
“I was born in Harlem, raised in the South Bronx, went to public school, got out of public college, went into the Army, and then I just stuck with it.”
“So like any football or basketball coach, you always always believe you’re going to win.”
“90 percent of my time is spent on 10 percent of the world.”
“The United States is not stingy. We are the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world.”
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could look forward to a whole world in which no child will be left behind?”
“The only bipartisanship you ever see is when they finally sign a bill and everybody says, ‘Gee, isn’t that wonderful?’”
“Economy’s got to get moving, we’ve got to get the unemployment rate down. That may be the defining issue of the campaign.”
“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life giving speeches.”
“Politics is not bean bags. It’s serious, tough stuff.”
“I don’t know that there is much the United States can do except work with the international community.”
“I don’t think we handled the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad as well as we might have. But that’s now history.”
“There are lots of countries that are having these kinds of internal civil wars in other parts of the world and nobody is talking about intervening.”
“I respect the fact that many denominations have different points of view with respect to gay marriage and they can hold that in the sanctity in the place of their religion and not bless them or solemnize them.”
“Today I can declare my hope and declare it from the bottom of my heart that we will eventually see the time when that number of nuclear weapons is down to zero and the world is a much better place.”
“Too often we act – ask our schools to be truant officers, our teachers to be truant officers, because we’re giving them children who have, you know, they’re not ready to learn. And if they’re not ready to learn by the third grade, they know they’re behind.”
“What you’re seeing with Occupy Wall Street and the others are people who are unhappy and they’re directing their unhappiness now toward Wall Street and toward those they think are doing too well in our society.”
“We all hoped in 2001 that we could put in place an Afghan government under President Karzai that would be able to control the country, make sure al-Qaeda didn’t come back, and make sure the Taliban wasn’t resurging. It didn’t work out.”
“Foe means enemy. Now, will we have differences of opinion with the Russians? Yes. Will they get mad at us from time to time, and we get mad at them? That’s part of the normal diplomatic relations.”
“I think the Iranians are clearly determined to have a nuclear program. And we have to assume that with a nuclear program they have the capability and the will to create a nuclear weapon.”
“In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that’s called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country.”
“It was the Congress that imposed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ it was certainly my position, my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred.”
“It isn’t enough just to scream at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. We need our political system to start reflect this anger back into, ‘How do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?’”
“Look at the world. There is no pure competitor to the United States of America.”
“I consider myself a moderate Republican. I have very, very moderate social views, and I’m pretty strong on, on defense matters.”
“The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced – the just demands of peace and security will be met – or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.”

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