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Motivation from famous entertainers: George Burns on success

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George Burns (1896 - 1996) was a beloved American comedian. With his wife Gracie Allen, Burns was one of a handful of comics able to successfully take a radio program and move it to the new medium of television. The “Burns and Allen Show” ran from 1950 until 1958 on the CBS television network after migrating from CBS radio.

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Burns knew how to be a success in comedy. “I tell every joke like I have never told it before,” he once told an interviewer.

Enjoying his work was part of his persona and a piece of his audience appeal.

“I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy,” Burns said, “than a _____________”. Choose the correct ending from these choices:

  • Success at something I hated.
  • Prisoner to the radio format.
  • Failure to get laughs.
  • Success at an office job.

To see the correct ending, click here.

Burns joked throughout his last years of his 100 birthday party but a fall just weeks before would tragically prevent him from attending the party.

This is another installment of a series of quotes by famous entertainers. Some wonder how an entertainer can inspire someone trying to pursue a career or build a business. The truth is that entertainers must be shrewd businesspeople in order to manage their career, finances and public image. Short quotes from them often serve as an inspirational thought of the day.

Guillermo Williams of in Rochester Hills, Mich., recommends using motivational stories to help set a workplace culture of success.

“Motivational quotes are a great way to set a positive tone at the beginning of a week, workday or meeting,” says Williams. “By adding some information about the person being quoted you create credibility for the speaker and make the quote more impactful.”

This quote can be used for an individual’s daily reflection, preferably in the morning to get their attitude focused for the day. It also serves as an anecdote for employee training in the areas of:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Dealing with difficult people.

This series is based on a motivational series from and is used by permission.



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