11 Timeless, Illustrated Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes for Leaders
Words of wisdom from the man who famously said, "Become who you are".
No discourse on revolutionary philosophers can be complete without a mention of Friedrich Nietzsche. The man who challenged a traditional view of the world, and the cognizance of reality with his free-spirited ideas, is a prominent figure in the late 19th-century literary history of Germany. To this day, some of his ideas evoke serious debate and interpretative analysis among academicians, philosophers, and scholars. He is revered for his idiosyncratic outlook born out of deep introspection that could make any reader meditate on it for days on end.
Here is a handful of memorable pieces from the works of the man who was famously quoted as saying, “Become who you are.”
On the power of will.
Nietzsche passionately believed that what matters more than the values of an individual is his willingness to rise above oppressive predicaments and shake up the status quo.
He was always a fan of a strong will and the desire to break free from being enslaved by circumstance.
As was common among great thinkers of his era, Nietzsche often employed the image of the “grand striver” or Übermensch (meaning ‘the overman’), a high-minded figure who essentially strives to achieve the greatest potential by rising against mass culture that tries to make him a non-person.
He idealistically defined this character as one who beats trials, engages in heroic struggles, pursues goal after goal, thinks beyond existing norms and structures, and is addicted to originality and fresh thought. Purposefulness was of great importance to him which, he believed, could show a person the path he needs to take to succeed.
3On the struggle that leads to success.
Nietzsche urged that whatever one’s chosen path is, one must first experience a tremendously powerful and burning desire for greatness, and for breaking free of the shackles of mediocrity.
On the importance of unconventional thinking.
Teaching children tolerance is as important as teaching them to believe in themselves. Nietzsche wished for people to respect those with a different opinion than theirs.
Nietzsche who advocated subjective morality questioned the validity of objective reality and the social constructs of right and wrong through his concept of Perspectivism which is perhaps one of the most controversial philosophical thoughts to have emerged. In his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche challenges the societal conceptions of good vs. bad, saying they are conditional and largely depend on individual perspectives influenced by circumstances. Nietzsche idealized originality of thought and the desire to overcome the suffocation of ‘herd-mentality’.
On living with gala and grace.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s great love for the celebration of life through festivity, art, poetry, and dance is evident in many of his quotes. He often advised living in the present, going about life with zeal and vigor, and appreciation for artistic expression.
On dignified victory.
Perhaps the most heroically honorable and virtuous expression of triumph to ever exist, this quote appears in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra in which the Übermensch is one who looks at his contender or adversary as someone made him stronger, taking the scars he endured in battle as opportunities he received to grow stronger.
Nietzsche admired a dignified striver and despised revenge and ressentiment.
On personal growth and achievement.
He emphasized a great deal on the journey towards exceptional achievement, assuring that the one who embraces his encounters with adversity will one day shine the brightest.
On marriage, love, and friendship.
Nietzsche has left behind some of the most profound yet candid words of wisdom for people (especially men) looking to excel at nurturing their relationship. Nietzsche never married and may seem like the last person to be approached for relationship advice but the depth and acuity of his unconventional angle of thought was so sublime that even though some of his remarks were viewed as outrageous (‘women marry for babies‘) and cynical (‘everlasting love is unrealistic‘), there are some people who do find some of his views oddly relatable and unembellished truths.
Despite his own rather mysterious love life, and some of his viewpoints that would seem as rather sexist (‘men like suffering and women like comfort‘), he did get this right about love – that it must be based on a strong level of friendship. Nietzsche opined that one should never marry for looks or influenced by the intoxicating romantic rush of young love that we experience initially. If one wants to settle down with someone, one should really like the idea of growing old with that person and be able to find a comfortable friendship between each other.
On shunning anger.
To Nietzsche, the mark of an evolved mind and a higher existence is the rejection of all reaction to crisis driven by unchecked rage, petulance and a quick-tempered reaction to derogation. An exceptional person learns to take difficult people and unfortunate events in his stride and believes that he is above those who try to pelt stones at him.
11On the importance of art in daily life.
Art finds its way into the hearts of all people who yearn to live a grand life, one that is inspired to spread joy and create something of beauty and value. Like the curse that all philosophers have to endure, the question of the purpose of life haunted Nietzsche too and his search ended in his observation that his contemporaries lived as though God were dead.
He wrote extensively on fatalism and nihilism, although he himself was not known to be a nihilist. He merely foretold the unfolding of a belief system that holds all values to be baseless and is affected by the notion of cosmic purposelessness. Although he buried himself in such essentially pessimistic ideas, he could still clearly see the importance of creativity and artistic expression in the daily lives of people and they occupy a special place in Nietzsche’s philosophy. He believed that art is the exclusively the most potent evidence of the “eternal joy of existence”. He wished that society would not pressure human beings into neglecting their Dionysian persona, the emotive, passionate side that appreciates music, art, and drama.