Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958)

“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.”

“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”

“Problems are the price of progress. Don’t bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me.”

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved”

“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.”

“People are very open-minded about new things – as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.”

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.”

“The opportunities of man are limited only by his imagination. But so few have imagination that there are ten thousand fiddlers to one composer.”

“Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future”

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”

“It is not a disgrace to fail. Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world.”

“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it”

“A man must have a certain amount of intelligent ignorance to get anywhere”

“My definition of an educated man is the fellow who knows the right thing to do at the time it has to be done. You can be sincere and still be stupid.”

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”

“The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.”

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there”

“The only difference between a problem and a solution is that people understand the solution.”
“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.”

“You can be sincere and still be stupid.”

“One fails forward toward success.”

“Thinking is one thing no one has ever been able to tax.”

“Inventing is a combination of brains and materials. The more brains you use, the less material you need.”

“You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.”

“People think of the inventor as a screwball, but no one ever asks the inventor what he thinks of other people.”

“The future can be anything we want it to be, providing we have the faith and that we realize that peace, no less than war, required ‘blood and sweat and tears”

“I think that the greatest education in the world is the education which helps one to be able to do the right things at the time it has to be done.”

“Where there is an open mind there will always be a frontier.”

“It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.”

“It is easy to build a philosophy – it doesn’t have to run”

“The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility.”

“An inventor is simply a person who doesn’t take his education too seriously. You see, from the time a person is six years old until he graduates form college he has to take three or four examinations a year. If he flunks once, he is out. But an inventor is almost always failing. He tries and fails maybe a thousand times. It he succeeds once then he’s in. These two things are diametrically opposite. We often say that the biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.”

“If we taught music the way we try to teach engineering, in an unbroken four year course, we could end up with all theory and no music. When we study music, we start to practice from the beginning, and we practice for the entire time, because there is”

“There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.”

“If a fellow wants to be a nobody in the business world, let him neglect sending the mail man to somebody on his behalf.”

“When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I’d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here! If I didn’t do that, I’d find some engineer reaching for his slide rule. Then he’d be on his feet saying, ”Boss you can’t do that.””

“We have a lot of people revolutionizing the world because they’ve never had to present a working model”

“If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong”

“The only difference between intelligence and education is this: intelligence will make you a good living”

“We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to live the rest of our lives there.”

“We need to teach the highly educated man that it is not a disgrace to fail and that he must analyze every failure to find its cause. He must learn how to fail intelligently, for failing is one of the greatest arts in the world.”

“I object to people running down the future. I am going to live all the rest of my life there.”

“In America we can say what we think, and even if we can’t think, we can say it anyhow.”

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