Soichiro Honda is the Founder of Honda Corporation and one of the most inspiring people of the last 100 years.
I’ve previously made a post about Honda’s success story and below I’ve put together 70 of the most inspiring Soichiro Honda quotes about success, failure and never giving up.
Soichiro Honda was a man with a clear vision, self-awareness and and a never say die attitude to achieving his goals.
Despite all of the obstacles, many of which where outside of his control, he built Honda Corporation into one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in the world.
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67 Soichiro Honda Quotes
1. “We only have one future, and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention.” – Soichiro Honda
2. “I just wouldn’t give in, no way.” – Soichiro Honda
3. “I think best when I have a wrench in my hands.” – Soichiro Honda
4. “If you make a superior product, people will buy it.” – Soichiro Honda
5. “Profound belief in something allows every individual to find an immense inner force, and to overcome his or her failings.” – Soichiro Honda
6. “You don’t measure a man’s greatness by his physical size, but by his acts, by the impact he makes on human history.” – Soichiro Honda
7. “I would have to put in the necessary time, but nothing could stop me from succeeding.” – Soichiro Honda
8. “Action without philosophy is a lethal weapon; philosophy without action is worthless.”- Soichiro Honda
9. “When you place yourself in situations where there are no alternatives, a kind of freedom is born in you, the freedom that comes from a decision you made from which there is no turning back.” – Soichiro Honda
10. “We all have the right to our crazy dreams.” – Soichiro Honda
11. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” – Soichiro Honda
12. “Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure.” – Soichiro Honda
13. “I forced myself to be enthusiastic.” – Soichiro Honda
14. “I enjoy working, and it isn’t because I’m president that I would deprive myself of that pleasure!” – Soichiro Honda
15. “Real happiness lies in the completion of work using your own brains and skills.” – Soichiro Honda
16. “The worst kind of president is a person who eats in fancy restaurants, smoking a fat cigar and thinking well of himself while employees work in a dirty factory with their hands dirty. If you’re like a god, people will respect you, but they won’t come close.” – Soichiro Honda
17. “There are… qualities which… lead to success. Courage, perseverance, the ability to dream and to persevere.” – Soichiro Honda
18. “I let no one disturb my concentration… Even hunger could not disturb me.” – Soichiro Honda
19. “When you fail, you also learn how not to fail.” – Soichiro Honda
20. “[On Napoleon] I imagined him to have a physique as imposing and strong as his reputation merited. When I discovered from reading history books that he was a small man, I was not at all disillusioned. I’m not very big myself, and it was obvious that you don’t measure a man’s greatness by his physical size, but by his acts, by the impact he makes on human history. I also learned that Napoleon was of humble origin, that probably his family was very poor. So it wasn’t necessary to be born a nobleman or rich to succeed in life. There are other qualities which also lead to success. Courage, perseverance, the ability to dream and to persevere.” – Soichiro Honda
21. “Instead of being afraid of the challenge and failure, be afraid of avoiding the challenge and doing nothing.” – Soichiro Honda
22. “Many people dream of success. To me, success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection.” – Soichiro Honda
23. “A lot of my friends top me I’d be better off staying in my garage, growing little by little, letting my business prosper in this way rather than undertaking risky adventures. I had invested all my savings into this operation. I felt responsible to those with whom I’d gotten involved, and I said to myself that by closing my garage at the age of 30, I had perhaps missed my chance and sunk my own ship.” – Soichiro Honda
24. “I don’t regret the thousands of times I came home empty-handed, having lost all my ammunition and bait. When the days get as gloomy as that, then you know you will soon find the treasure…” – Soichiro Honda
25. “Hope, makes you forget all the difficult hours.” – Soichiro Honda
26. “In the lab, 99 percent of the people are working on lost causes. The modest percentage of success, nevertheless, serves to compensate for all the rest of the effort.” – Soichiro Honda
27. “The laboratory of a factory is the best place to learn about failure!” – Soichiro Honda
28. “Success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents 1 percent of your work which results only from the 99 percent that is called failure. Many people dream of success. To me success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents 1 percent of your work which results only from the 99 percent that is called failure.Success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection.” – Soichiro Honda
29. “A company is most clearly defined not by its people or its history, but by it’s products.” – Soichiro Honda
30. “I’d sooner die than imitate other people… That’s why we had to work so hard! Because we didn’t imitate.” – Soichiro Honda
31. “Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda
32. “If you hire only people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don’t particularly like.” – Soichiro Honda
33. “You direct a garage or a business like you drive a bus. It does its round, stopping to pick people up, but it can’t make a long distance trip. Of course you can be happy driving the same route all your life. But I wanted to drive bigger and faster buses, and see other places.” – Soichiro Honda
34. “If I’d had to manage my company myself, I would have very quickly gone bankrupt.
Why should a man… spend his days seated behind a desk, twiddling his thumbs to pass the time?” – Soichiro Honda
35. “I got myself completely absorbed in my job as apprentice inventor. I let no one disturb my concentration, not even my friends with whom I enjoyed spending time and doing a thousand things. ‘Time for supper!’ My mother had to force me to come to the table, since my mind was elsewhere, my ears blocked. ‘I’m coming!’ I would answer politely, and then get back to work. So she ended up by respecting my work and letting me finish what I had to do. Even hunger could not disturb me.” – Soichiro Honda
36. “The moment had come to start working on realizing another dream. Trying to win Formula 1 was for many trying to accomplish the impossible. But my decision was made, once and for all. I would have to put in the necessary time, but nothing could stop me from succeeding.” – Soichiro Honda
37. “I finally became an independent man, a real man, master of his legs, head, destiny, of his timetable and the risks he knew he should take.” – Soichiro Honda
38. “A diploma is less useful than a ticket to a movie.” – Soichiro Honda
39. “It wasn’t necessary to be born a nobleman or rich to succeed in life.” – Soichiro Honda
40. “There is a Japanese proverb that literally goes ‘Raise the sail with your stronger hand’, meaning you must go after the opportunities that arise in life that you are best equipped to do.” – Soichiro Honda
41. “Man is not interesting without some imperfection.” – Soichiro Honda
42. “90% of success is failure.” – Soichiro Honda
43. “The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred.” – Soichiro Honda
44. “Enjoying your work is essential. If your work becomes an expression of your own ideas, you will surely enjoy it.” – Soichiro Honda
45. “Each individual should work for himself. People will not sacrifice themselves for the company. They come to work at the company to enjoy themselves.” – Soichiro Honda
46. “What we learn through failure becomes a precious part of us, strengthening us in everything we do. So let the tough things make you tougher.” – Soichiro Honda
47. “We will not be content with this victory alone [first win in F1]. We will study why we won and aggressively apply those winning technologies to new cars.” – Soichiro Honda
48. “My biggest thrill is when I plan something and it fails. My mind is then filled with ideas on how I can improve it.” – Soichiro Honda
49. “The day I stop dreaming is the day I die.” – Soichiro Honda
50. “When I started making motorcycles, the prophets of doom, some of them my friends, came to discourage me. ‘You’d be better off opening another garage, in the country or in Tokyo. You’ll make a lot of money. There are a lot of cars that need to be repaired in this country.’ I didn’t listen to them, and despite their pessimistic advice I created, on the 24th of September, 1948, next door to my research laboratory, the Honda Motor Company, which today is successful around the world.” – Soichiro Honda
51. “When I take stock of life, I realize how important the personal contact is, how much more they are worth than the invention of machines, because [people] allow us to expand our view of things, and open up thousands of experiences which we would otherwise be unable to understand.” – Soichiro Honda
52. “Henceforth I went to school every morning, and in the evening when I came home I would practise what I’d learned in my little studio. I forced myself to be enthusiastic. But I had no choice, and when you place yourself in situations where there are no alternatives, a kind of freedom is born in you, the freedom that comes from a decision you made from which there is no turning back. A thousand reasons to persevere filled my mind. Friends had placed their confidence in me, and my father too, as well as all the men who worked with me. I no longer had the right to go back, and only school could get me what I wanted – to become an engineer, to be able to theorize my technological intuition and assure production. I solemnly said to myself: If I give up now, everyone will die of hunger. And I imagined the pathetic state of all those people who were depending on me.” – Soichiro Honda
53. “We do not make something because the demand, the market, is there. With our technology we can create demand, we can create the market. Supply creates its own demand.” – Soichiro Honda
54. “The students’ attitude surprised me. They didn’t really try to understand anything. Instead, they just took their notes and learned all the theories by heart without drawing any conclusions or verifying the theories with the aid of experiments.” – Soichiro Honda
55. “[On going to university but having no desire of getting a diploma or doing any exams] The only thing that interested me was acquiring knowledge that I lacked as quickly as possible.”- Soichiro Honda
56. “A degree, is worth less than a ticket to a movie…A degree is a piece of paper that confirms that, during his or her youth, the student was diligent, disciplined, and probably quite detached from real life.” – Soichiro Honda
57. “Every human being has the desire to improve.” – Soichiro Honda
58. “I am not impressed by diplomas. They don’t do the work. My marks were not as good as those of others, and I didn’t take the final examination. The principal called me in and said I should leave. I told him that I didn’t want a diploma – it had less value than a cinema ticket. A ticket at least guaranteed you would get in. A diploma guaranteed nothing.” – Soichiro Honda
59. “If it’s something a person can do, then it’s something I can do. What is there that a person can do that I can’t do? That’s what I always said.” – Soichiro Honda
60. “Each individual should work for himself – that’s important.” – Soichiro Honda
61. “People will not sacrifice themselves for the company. They come to work at the company to enjoy themselves. That feeling will lead to innovation.” – Soichiro Honda
62. “Think young and quest for the ‘three joys’: creating, buying and selling.” – Soichiro Honda
63. “Where 100 people think, there are 100 powers; if 1,000 people think, there are 1,000 powers.” – Soichiro Honda
64. “Do not imitate others.” – Soichiro Honda
65. “Success is only 1% of your work, and the rest – bold overcoming of obstacles. If you are not afraid of them, success will come to you itself.” – Soichiro Honda
66. “I wanted to be Number 1 in the world, not just Japan.” – Soichiro Honda
67. “Looking back on my work, I feel that I was doing nothing more than mistakes, blunders and serious omissions. But I am proud of the achievements. Although I did one mistake after another, my mistakes and failures never occurred for the same reasons.” – Soichiro Honda
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