Philip Hampson “Phil” Knight is an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and chairman of Nike, and previously served as CEO for the company. He is also the owner of the film production company Laika
His estimated net worth as of 2018 is $30 billion according to Forbes and he’s also among some of the greatest philanthropists having donated $2 billion to charity.
Phil Knight helped create the Nike sportswear company into an incredible brand that has motivated millions of people with their “Just Do It!” slogan.
Below I’ve put together 55 of the most empowering Phil Knight quotes that can serve you as an entrepreneur and in any endeavour really.
55 Phil Knight Quotes
1. “We wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don’t end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour.” – Phil Knight
2. “Dream audaciously. Have the courage to fail forward. Act with urgency.” – Phil Knight
3. “It’s alright to be Goliath but always act like David.” – Phil Knight
4. “Make history or be a part of it.” – Phil Knight
5. “It’s not enough to do good things. You have to let people know what you’re doing.” – Phil Knight
6. “You can’t explain much in 60 seconds, but when you show Michael Jordan, you don’t have to. It’s that simple.” – Phil Knight
7. “You’ve got to worry about what’s coming up to stay ahead of the curve…” – Phil Knight
8. “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.” – Phil Knight
9. “I’ve always believed that businesses should be good citizens…” – Phil Knight
10. “We have to innovate for a specific reason, and that reason comes from the market. Otherwise, we’ll end up making museum pieces.” – Phil Knight
11. “Dare to take chances, lest you leave your talent buried in the ground.” – Phil Knight
12. “A brand is something that has a clear-cut identity among consumers, which a company creates by sending out a clear, consistent message over a period of years until it achieves a critical mass of marketing.” – Phil Knight
13. “Perception can be changed.” – Phil Knight
14. “The trouble in America is not that we are making too many mistakes, but that we are making too few.” – Phil Knight
15. “It doesn’t matter how many people you offend, as long as you’re getting your message to your consumers. I say to those people who do not want to offend anybody: You are going to have a very, very difficult time having meaningful advertising.” – Phil Knight
16. “You only have to succeed the last time.” – Phil Knight
17. “Any entrepreneur has to prepare for a lot of dark days, and they’ve got to really like what they are doing, and they have to have a reason for it to succeed.” – Phil Knight
18. “When you really understand who you are, it enables you to fight and believe.” – Phil Knight
19. “I think I’m not a natural-born salesman, for sure, but If I have a product I really believe in, I can overcome some of the shyness and get through the things that aren’t natural to me.” – Phil Knight
20. “Every businessman, or every person who has a passion for his work, is torn for the time spent at work and the time spent with your family.” – Phil Knight
21. “We knew we could fail; we just didn’t think we would.” – Phil Knight
22. “I think a businessman can be an artist just as much as a writer or a sculptor, so I’m real proud of what the company has become.” – Phil Knight
23. “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – Phil Knight
24. “The single easiest way to find out how you feel about someone. Say goodbye.” – Phil Knight
25. “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen.” – Phil Knight
26. “So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.” – Phil Knight
27. “When you see only problems, you’re not seeing clearly.” – Phil Knight
28. “Life is growth. You grow or you die.” – Phil Knight
29. “I’d tell men and women in their midtwenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.” – Phil Knight
30. “I thought back on my running career at Oregon. I’d competed with, and against, men far better, faster, more physically gifted. Many were future Olympians. And yet I’d trained myself to forget this unhappy fact. People reflexively assume that competition is always a good thing, that it always brings out the best in people, but that’s only true of people who can forget the competition. The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. – Phil Knight
31. “Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.” – Phil Knight
32. “But that’s the nature of money. Whether you have it or not, whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, it will try to define your days. Our task as human beings is not to let it.” – Phil Knight
33. “And those who urge entrepreneurs to never give up? Charlatans. Sometimes you have to give up. Sometimes knowing when to give up, when to try something else, is genius. Giving up doesn’t mean stopping. Don’t ever stop. Luck plays a big role. Yes, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the power of luck. Athletes get lucky, poets get lucky, businesses get lucky. Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome. Some people might not call it luck. They might call it Tao, or Logos, or Jñāna, or Dharma. Or Spirit. Or God.” – Phil Knight
34. “Like it or not, life is a game.” – Phil Knight
35. “Starting my own business was the only thing that made life’s other risks—marriage, Vegas, alligator wrestling—seem like sure things. But my hope was that when I failed, if I failed, I’d fail quickly, so I’d have enough time, enough years, to implement all the hard-won lessons. I wasn’t much for setting goals, but this goal kept flashing through my mind every day, until it became my internal chant: Fail fast.” – Phil Knight
36. “There were many ways down Mount Fuji, according to my guidebook, but only one way up. Life lesson in that, I thought.” – Phil Knight
37. “Driving back to Portland I’d puzzle over my sudden success at selling. I’d been unable to sell encyclopedias, and I’d despised it to boot. I’d been slightly better at selling mutual funds, but I’d felt dead inside. So why was selling shoes so different? Because, I realized, it wasn’t selling. I believed in running. I believed that if people got out and ran a few miles every day, the world would be a better place, and I believed these shoes were better to run in. People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves. Belief, I decided. Belief is irresistible.” – Phil Knight
38. “It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad.” – Phil Knight
39. “I refused to even consider ordering less inventory. Grow or die, that’s what I believed, no matter the situation.” – Phil Knight
40. “I wanted to build something that was my own, something I could point to and say: I made that. It was the only way I saw to make life meaningful.” – Phil Knight
41. “Beating the competition is relatively easy. Beating yourself is a never-ending commitment.” – Phil Knight
42. “You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you.” – Phil Knight
43. “Fight not to win, but to avoid losing. A surefire losing strategy.” – Phil Knight
44. “No matter the sport-no matter the human endeavor, really-total effort will win people’s hearts.” – Phil Knight
45. “There’s a kind of exuberant clarity in that pulsing half second before winning and losing are decided. I wanted that, whatever that was, to be my life, my daily life.” – Phil Knight
46. “I wanted what everyone wants. To be me, full-time.” – Phil Knight
47. “Someone somewhere once said that business is war without bullets, and I tended to agree.” – Phil Knight
48. “Every runner understands this. Front runners always work the hardest, and risk the most.” – Phil Knight
49. “Play by the rules, but be ferocious.” – Phil Knight
50. “The only time you must not fail is the last time you try.” – Phil Knight
51. “We had no capital but we grew.” – Phil Knight
52. “I do not follow conventional wisdom.” – Phil Knight
53. “We understand the most important thing we do is market the product…” – Phil Knight
54. “Everybody was writing about computers and electronics, but all I really knew about was running. It’s what I’ve chosen to do with my life.” – Phil Knight
55. “How can I leave my mark on the world unless I get out there first and see it? Before running a big race, you always want to walk the track.” – Phil Knight
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