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17 Motivating Quotes for Anyone Learning a New Skill

To live is to learn, whether it’s a new language, instrument, sport, or career skill. But it’s not enough to simply read a dozen books or watch hundreds of highlight reels — eventually you have to get out there and fumble through some foreign phrases or strike a wrong chord. In other words, make a few mistakes, and then try, try again.

Practice is the hard work behind mastery, and even composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most gifted musicians in history, did not undervalue its importance. “It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me,” Mozart once said. “I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I.”

These 17 quotes from accomplished scientists, writers, athletes,, and more speak to the power of dogged diligence when it comes to learning something new, and how to find the motivation to keep at it.

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
Aristotle

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Music is a proud, temperamental mistress. Give her the time and attention she deserves, and she is yours. Slight her and there will come a day when you call and she will not answer. So I began sleeping less to give her the time she needed.
Patrick Rothfuss

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Champions keep playing until they get it right.
Billie Jean King

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The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.
B.B. King

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For the best return on your money, pour your purse into your head.
Benjamin Franklin

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One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.
Frank Herbert

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He who laughs most, learns best.
John Cleese

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Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.
Ludwig Van Beethoven

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Practice puts brains in your muscles.
Sam Snead

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To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
Kurt Vonnegut

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I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice.
Ray Bradbury

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It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort, and when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens, that’s how change occurs.
Jillian Michaels

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Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.
Unknown (often attributed to Abraham Lincoln)

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You must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work … You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success.”
Jirō Ono

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A step towards what you fear is a mile towards mastering it.
Matshona Dhliwayo

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Start small and start immediately.
Cal Newport

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In an era "plagued" with speed, doggedness of character and drudgery of persistence is the only guarantee to mastery.
Ufuoma Apoki

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Featured image credit: Evening Standard/ Hulton Archive via Getty Images

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About the Author
Darren Orf
Darren lives in Portland, Oregon, has two cats, and writes about science, technology, nature, and history.
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