A true comedic legend for the ages, Lucille Ball has imprinted herself into the hearts and minds of people the world over with her iconic role as the loving, hilarious, and frequent troublemaker Lucy Ricardo. But beyond her trademark red locks (fun fact: Ball’s natural hair color was brown!), her memorable physical comedy, and her infectious laughter, Ball was a trailblazer for women in the industry at a time when men not only dominated but also dictated all the rules. The actress, model, producer, and comedian had to work harder, and smarter, to get by. And, boy, did she ever.
With Desilu Productions, Ball was the first woman to run her own Hollywood studio; she was one-half of the first interracial couple ever presented on TV; and she climbed hurdles to be the first pregnant woman to play a pregnant woman on television. With such an impressive list of achievements, it’s no wonder Ball was full of inspirational sayings, motivational quotes, and nuggets of wisdom we can all use to give us that much-needed boost of confidence every now and then. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites, below.
1. “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
2. “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” 3. “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.” 4. “I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.” 5. “Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.” 6. “Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.” 7. “A man who correctly guesses a woman’s age may be smart, but he’s not very bright.” 8. “In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by.” 9. “I don’t know how to tell a joke. I never tell jokes. I can tell stories that happened to me… anecdotes. But never a joke.” 10. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” 11. “Ability is of little account without opportunity.” 12. “Use a make-up table with everything close at hand and don’t rush; otherwise you’ll look like a patchwork quilt.” 13. “I’m happy that I have brought laughter because I have been shown by many the value of it in so many lives, in so many ways.” 14. “Remember to recognize the small successes that you will have.” 15. “Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work — and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.” 16. “I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can.” 17. “People either have comedy or they don’t. You can’t teach it to them.” 18. “I dyed my hair this crazy red to bid for attention. It has become a trademark, and I’ve got to keep it this way.” 19. “It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” 20.”I believe that we’re as happy in life as we make up our minds to be.” 21. “Don’t let the brightness of that big goal blind you to what happens on the way toward the goal.” 22. “I’ve always prided myself on knowing when to get off, and I hope it works out that way.” 23. “Meet one wave at a time and enjoy what progress you make.” 24. “The more things you do, the more you can do.” 25. “I want you please not to be taken up in the undertow of pessimism.” 26. “I’m not sure that I want to be without some lack of confidence. If you are too sure of yourself, you don’t grow. You may feel confident in some things, but other fields come up as a challenge. And if you don’t anticipate trouble, you will be in trouble.” 27. “I don’t think you should write a book until you tell the absolute truth. You can’t do that until you’re 85, and I don’t want to live that long. I’ve always prided myself on knowing when to get off, and I hope it works out that way.” 28. “How was I Love Lucy born? We decided that instead of divorce lawyers profiting from our mistakes, we’d profit from them.” 29. “I am a real ham. I love an audience. I work better with an audience. I am dead, in fact, without one.” 30. “Now get the hell out of here and go change the world.” 31. “There’s a great deal of difference between temperament and temper. Temperament is something you welcome creatively, for it is based on sensitivity, empathy, awareness… but a bad temper takes too much out of you and doesn’t really accomplish anything.” 32. “I cured myself of shyness when it finally occurred to me that people didn’t think about me half as much as I gave them credit for. The truth was, nobody gave a damn. Like most teenagers, I was far too self-centered. When I stopped being prisoner to what I worried was others’ opinions of me, I became more confident and free.”
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