Editor's note: This piece was first published in January 12, 2019. It was updated on September 21, 2020, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg became just the second female U.S. Supreme Court justice when she took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She faced workplace discrimination in the 1960s despite graduating first in her class at Columbia Law School in 1959. Ginsburg was a longtime, forceful advocate of women's rights and gender equality, and she earned the deep and abiding respect of her colleagues on the Court along with the American public. She died at the age of 87 on Friday, September 18, 2020.
For years, she shrugged off suggestions that she retire as she fought against a variety of illnesses and injuries, including colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, fracturing three ribs after a fall in her office, and surgery to remove cancerous growths in her left lung. Despite these setbacks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG for short) rejected the idea of stepping down from her position--perhaps inspired by Justice John Paul Stevens, who didn't retire until he was 90 years old.
Ginsburg is a powerful example of someone who lived her beliefs and wasn't afraid to voice them. Here are 17 RBG quotes that will inspire your success in business and in life.
1. "Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."
2. "So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune."
3. "Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade."
4. "When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out."
5. "Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."
6. "You can't have it all, all at once."
7. "I'm a very strong believer in listening and learning from others."
8. "In the course of a marriage, one accommodates the other."
9. "In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf."
10. "A gender line ... helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage."
11. "If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself."
12. "Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true."
13. "Don't be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time."
14. "You can disagree without being disagreeable."
15. "If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me."
16. "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception."
17. "I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability."