Category Archives: Liane Cordes

Continuous Effort — Not Strength or Intelligence — Is the Key to Unlocking and Using Our Potential

Winston Churchill? Liane Cordes? Liane Cardes? Apocryphal?

reflecting05Dear Quote Investigator: On two popular websites with large collections of quotations I found an appealing statement ascribed to the famous statesman Winston Churchill:

Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.

No citations were provided, and I have been unable to determine when this was written or said by Churchill. Is this an accurate quotation and attribution?

Quote Investigator: No. This saying is not listed in the key reference “Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations”, 1 and there is no substantive support connecting the words to Churchill.

The earliest evidence located by QI of a version of this saying was printed in the 1981 book “The Reflecting Pond: Meditations for Self-Discovery” by Liane Cordes: 2

Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking and using our potential.

This work was from the publishing arm of the Hazelden organization, and the website of this group presented the following goal: 3

The mission of Hazelden Publishing is to provide products and services to help people recognize, understand, and overcome addiction and closely related problems.

In 1986 a version of the saying was included in a compilation titled “Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Quotations”; however, the quotation was slightly modified by the deletion of two words. In addition, the ascription was shifted from “Liane Cordes” to “Liane Cardes”. QI believes this was probably due to a simple spelling error: 4

Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.
Liane Cardes

In 1987 this reference work was re-released as the “Barnes & Noble Book of Quotations”, and the same saying and ascription were included in the volume. 5

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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Notes:

  1. 2008, Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations, Edited by Richard Langworth, PublicAffairs, New York.
  2. 1981, The Reflecting Pond: Meditations for Self-Discovery by Liane Cordes, Quote Page 89, Hazelden Publishing, Center City, Minnesota. (Google Books Preview)
  3. Website: Hazelden, Article title: Hazelden Publishing, Date on website: No date listed, Website description of organization: “Hazelden helps individuals, families, and communities struggling with alcohol abuse, substance abuse, and drug addiction transform their lives”. (Accessed hazelden.org on August 21, 2013) link
  4. 1986, The Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Quotations, Revised and Enlarged, Edited by Robert I. Fitzhenry, Section: Fate and Destiny, Quote Page 127, Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, Toronto. (Verified on paper)
  5. 1987, Barnes & Noble Book of Quotations: Revised and Enlarged, Edited by Robert I. Fitzhenry, Section: Fate and Destiny, Quote Page 127, Barnes & Noble Books, Division of Harper & Row, New York. (Verified on paper)