Hella Motivational Quotes for Salespeople

Refer to these timeless quotes to lift your spirits.

Hella Motivational Quotes for Salespeople

Quotes inspire, motivate, and just plain fire salespeople up!

Whether they’re beneath an email signature, framed on the office wall, or on a billboard, motivational quotes can drive salespeople to “get after it.”

Here are 20 motivational quotes to consider as you close out the month, begin a new quarter, or approach the day.  Just click here and download them from SlideShare. The deck was built in 2013, so shows it's age here and there.

Here are some more of my all-time favorite quotes. I hope they resonate!

Do everything with love.

Never quit.

If you’re losing your cool, you’re losing. - Dan Crenshaw

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer the negative elements in your life, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy! - Dale Carnegie

A workspace is not a place for storing things. It is a place for accomplishing things.

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't.
- Thomas Edison

Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. - Edwards Deming

If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing. - Edwards Deming

Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances. - Abraham Lincoln

Alice reaches a crossroads where the Cheshire cat is sitting. Alice asks the cat: "Which road should I take?" In reply, the cat says: "Where are you going?" To that, Alice says: "I don't know." "Then it doesn't matter which road you take," the cat says in response.

If you talk to people in a language they understand, it goes to their head. If you talk to them in their language, it goes to their heart. - Nelson Mandela

Do whatever it takes…to make sure you are not fooled into thinking something is true that is not, or that something is not true when it is.
- Neil Degrasse Tyson

Confine yourself to the present. - Marcus Aurelius

Lesser men than you have come and done this. Why can’t you? - US Navy SEAL Master Chief

Never let anyone know you’re scared of anything. Just keep it to yourself. - Jocko Willink

In the information game, the race doesn’t go to the swift, it goes to the selective. - Tim Ferriss

Give people an opportunity to feel strong; and when they take it, bring the technique. - Ryron Gracie

Only through communication can human life hold meaning. - Paulo Freire

To evolve = to eliminate what no longer serves you. - Chip Conley

The standard pace is for chumps. - Kimo Williams (Derek Sivers’s music teacher)

Let the light that shines in you be brighter than the light that shines on you. - Dabo Swinney

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. - Archilochus

Writing is often the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about. - Shane Parrish

We need the discipline to think hard about the implications of our actions. We need to plan, to envision, to make trade-offs. It keeps us on track, doing work we’re proud of. - Seth Godin

I drive the ship. The ship does not drive me. - John Glenn

Torture the data enough and it will confess. - Ronald Coase

If you’re studying my game, then you’re entering my game, and I’ll be better at it than you. - Marcelo Garcia

Only those who go all the way and see things through until they’re done experience the rewards the workplace has to offer. - Grant Cardone

Truly believe that you are better than your opponent in knowledge of the game, in condition, and in fighting spirit and you will be mighty difficult to defeat. - John Wooden

Leaders get the behavior they exhibit and tolerate.

As a leader you’ve got to praise a lot. You’ve got to be a good listener. You’ve got to write notes and listen and then do something about it. You’ve got to inspire your team to believe in what you’re doing. If you can’t do that, you’re doing the wrong thing, I think. - Richard Branson

The smallest dog barks the loudest.

You are more persuasive when you are direct. - McKinsey

Motivation will get you to the starting line, but it won’t get you to the finish line. - Jeff Nichols (SEAL)

Quit acting poor and quit acting like you are a spectator. Boss up in everything. When the bill comes for dinner, boss up. - Grant Cardone

Preparation is grossly underrated. I over-prepare for everything I do.
- Barbara Corcoran

The actions of the few affect the many.

I would hate to die and never do the thing I was born to do. - TD Jakes

I don’t want to walk on stage until everyone’s fuckin’ dying laughing. - Dave Grohl

People who haven’t learned how to control their mind and emotions quit or get hurt. - Mark Divine

The only way to get hurt on a roller coaster is to jump off. - Dave Ramsey

Seek respect, not attention.

You become what you think about.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African proverb

The room is a better place because you’re there. - Jimmy Iovine’s father

Nobody remembers the losses. - Gary Vaynerchuk

Winners consistently do what they don't want to do and don't feel like doing.
- Grant Cardone

Don’t major in minor things! - Jim Rohn

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. - Louis L’Amour

Ship it. - Seth Godin

If you don't do it, it won't get done. GET TO WORK. - Jocko Willink

It doesn't have to be fun. It has to be effective. - Navy SEALs

Once begun the job’s half-done.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. - Stephen King

Never start a presentation with “How’s everyone doing?” You’ve just blown a precious opportunity to make an impact. - Steve Martin

People want to be celebrated not tolerated.

I often see those who embark on a path of dedication immerse themselves in seriousness, as if being serious would move them along faster. It won’t, trust me. - Mark Divine

Ideas are easy, execution is everything. - Casey Neistat

If you will change, everything will change for you. - Jim Rohn

Opportunities multiply as they are seized. - Sun Tzu

Do more. - Casey Neistat

Writing equals wealth. - Jeffrey Gitomer

Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. (They may not treat you the way you want to be treated, but it doesn’t matter.)

I have so many meetings where I know they’re disguises for an ask.
- Gary Vaynerchuk

If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset ("what can the world offer me?") and instead adopt the craftsman mindset ("what can I offer the world?"). - Cal Newport

Positive Mental Attitude. Got that PMA. - Bad Brains

See the problem as it is, not worse. - Tony Robbins

The key in a restaurant and any high-pressure situation is that 75% of success is staying calm and not losing your nerve. The rest you figure out, but once you lose your calm, everything else starts falling apart. - Sam Kass

Sell the cars on the lot.

Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you're in control, they're in control. - Tom Landry

The less human involvement required to create and deliver value, the more scalable the business. - Josh Kaufman

Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor. - Rumi

Losers have goals, winners have systems. - Scott Adams

No matter how altruistic your intentions, you are competing. - Onnit

When you add people to an inefficient process, you make things worse.
- Bill Gates

You better pray to God you put the work in, because I have. - Marcus Luttrell

If you’re in your head, you’re dead.

Poor people ask “How much down? or “How much a month?” Rich people ask “How much?”

You can’t reach your potential without haters. - Grant Cardone

There is no shortage of opportunity or success.

If you’re explaining yourself, you’re losing. - Chael Sonnen

People get confused by my energy, but it’s just optimism. The alternative just isn’t productive or attractive. - Gary Vaynerchuk

You’re all too soft to beat me. - Gary Vaynerchuk

Things don't happen to you, things happen because of you. - Grant Cardone

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better! - Jim Rohn

I came to work every day thinking about the people process. - Jack Welch

It’s all a mistake...until it works. - Seth Godin

Success is your duty, obligation, and responsibility. - Grant Cardone

We don't defeat our opponents, they defeat themselves. - Helio Gracie

Share your work online. If your work isn’t online, it basically doesn’t exist.
- Derek Sivers

Self-awareness means you know yourself. If you know yourself, you’ll bet on your strengths. If you bet on your strengths, you’ll win. - Gary Vaynerchuk

I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better. - Abraham Lincoln

Sales is like jazz. - Richard Harris

If it ain’t one thing, it’s a mothafuckin’ ‘notha. - Snoop Dogg

You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in one drop. - Rumi

Time is a created thing. To say, "I don't have time" is like saying, "I don't want to." - Lao Tzu

Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality. - Dalai Lama

If you don't know where you want to be in five years, you're already there.

No matter where you go, you are what you are, player. - Jay-Z

There's no such thing as a bad student, only a bad teacher.
- Gracie Academy Instructor Code

Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.
- Bruce Lee

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.  - Albert Einstein

Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it's dark. - Zen proverb

Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.
- Theodore Roosevelt

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. - Lao Tzu

Communicate effectively by giving people something to feel, something to remember, and something to do.

Put a "10" on everyone's forehead. Expect the best out of them first.

Vision without action is a daydream.

Action without vision is a nightmare. - Japanese proverb

Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably. - Jiro Ono

You can't coach people who don't care. - Steve Richard

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them. - Pablo Picasso

Just because it looks like I am in trouble, it doesn't mean I am. - Ryron Gracie

When you are content to be simply yourself, and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you. - Lao Tzu

Specificity wins. - The team at TOPO

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
- Bruce Lee

Your fuck-up's should fuel you. - Joe Rogan

The #1 reason people fail is also the #1 reason people win: Attitude. - Brad Lea

The cyclone derives its power from a calm center. So does a person.
- Norman Vincent Peale

Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.
- Steve Maraboli

Decide that no matter what is happening around you, the sun will always be shining in your world. - Russell Simmons

Your unhappiness ultimately arises, not from the circumstances in your life, but from the conditioning of your mind. - Eckhart Tolle

Zero fucks given. - Joe Rogan

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing to help others?’ - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I got a mil out the deal and I'm still on the grind. - 50 Cent

You can only lose what you cling to. - Buddha

Fitness is a state of readiness. - Tony Robbins

The best performers are focused on outcomes, not activities. - Tony Robbins

Anticipation is the ultimate power. Losers react; leaders anticipate. - Tony Robbins

I have no scene. I go everywhere. I adapt. - Karl Lagerfeld

There’s absolutely no reason to be rushed along with the rush. - Robert Frost

Preach at all times, and when necessary, use words. - St. Francis of Assisi

When you judge others, you do not define them; you define yourself.
- Dr. Wayne Dyer

Control your emotions. Discipline your mind. - Snape

You cannot forgive what you don’t understand. Adjust your expectations. Everyone has a different capacity. When you expect somebody to love on a gallon level, and they are a pint person, you’re going to be frustrated the rest of your life. - TD Jakes

You don't know the half of it.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ― Rumi

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
- Vince Lombardi

The player who has done their best has done everything, while the player who has done less than their best is a failure.- John Wooden

If a crowd is in my realm, I’m sayin’, “Mic please?” - Phife

What others think of you is none of your business.

Don’t major in minor things.

The greatest holiday feast is eaten one bite at a time. - John Wooden

It’s not how good your jiu-jitsu is, but how good jiu-jitsu is for you.
- Caio Terra

Doesn't mean that much to me, to mean that much to you.  - Neil Young

You can only be beaten if you give up or die. - US Navy SEALs

It is not length of life, but depth of life. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sending out love to all corners of the land. I jump up on the stage and take the mic in my hand. I'm not playing a role, just being who I am; and if you try and dis me, I couldn't give a damn cuz I'm rockin'. -Beastie Boys

Discipline equals freedom. - Jocko Willink

I will get by. I will survive.  - Grateful Dead

More revenue solves all known problems. - Eric Schmidt

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world. - Miyamoto Musashi

I come as one, but I stand as 10,000 to the 10th power. - Maya Angelou

Go past the surface and begin to experience life at its depths.
- Russell Simmons

If you’re not comfortable on your back, you will give your back to your enemy. - Ryron Gracie

Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything.
- John Grossmann

To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. - Eckhart Tolle

My life is better than your vacation.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. - Mike Tyson

Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. - Kahlil Gibran

One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life. - Kahlil Gibran

When you become a star, you don’t change...everyone else does. - Kirk Douglas

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. - Bruce Lee

You should be so busy, you don’t even know what day it is. - Grant Cardone

Don't anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.  Stay in the sunlight. -Benjamin Franklin

Forget about your life situation for a while and pay attention to your life.
- Eckhart Tolle

Pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath.  Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. - Eckhart Tolle

You’ve got to win early and often. - Don Shula

Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you.

Get busy living!

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
- Albert Einstein

If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand. - Confucius

Move, and the way will open. - Zen saying

If you think training is hard, try losing.

With one breath, with one flow, you will know synchronicity. -The Police

Student says, “I’m very discouraged. What should I do?” Master says, “Encourage others.” - Zen proverb

Today I settled all family business, so don’t tell me you’re innocent, Carlo.
- Michael Corleone

We cannot see our reflection in running water.  It is only in still water that we can see. -Taoist proverb

Do you realize that no one’s listening to you? - Groucho Marx

I hate to give away the ending, but it all works out.

If you want to go protest and complain, you better have a better idea.
- Kevin O’Leary

Progress equals happiness.  If you’re not happy, it’s because you’re not growing. - Tony Robbins

Be aware of your breathing.  Notice how this takes attention away from your thinking and creates space. - Eckhart Tolle

I’m not creative because I’m a WRITER, I’m creative because I’m WRITING.
- Brendon Burchard

Go with God, but back it up with data.

Done is better than perfect.

Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Peyton Manning

Measure twice, cut once.

Don’t beat the other guys.  Beat the golf course. - Earl Woods

Don’t get tapped out today. - Nick Diaz

When you're young, you're supposed to be seen, not heard.  And when you're old, you're supposed to be heard, not seen. - Grace Slick

You get what you put up with.

Big dance committee equals big dance.

If you're putting together a committee, make sure it has good looking people on it.

Work on your business, not in it.

Don't touch base.  You're not playing baseball. - Dan Carrillo

I feel sorry for people who don't drink.  When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. - Frank Sinatra

The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw

Don't solve problems; pursue opportunities. - Peter Drucker

There's nothing that can't be fixed.

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few. - Shunryu Suzuki

(To college students) Your career is going to need to be deep first and broad second.

Positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative.

Raise your standards.

I could walk out my door right now and run a marathon.  Right now.  And that's what separates you from me. - Diddy

The team with the best players wins. - Jack Welch

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.
- Peter Drucker

Prospects are more fearful of losing their jobs than you are of losing the deal.
- Dan Carrillo

Your income is determined primarily by your philosophy, not by the economy. - Jim Rohn

Work on yourself harder than you work on your job.  Success is something you attract by becoming an attractive person. - Jim Rohn

Life can be very comfortable. - Sammy Hagar

All you have to do is know where you're going. The answers will come to you of their own accord. - Earl Nightingale

We become what we think about.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. - Bruce Lee

The past does not equal the future. - Tony Robbins

(Life is) Just like skiing.  The goal is not to get to the bottom of the hill.  The goal is to have a bunch of good runs before the sun sets. - Seth Godin

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
- Chinese proverb

When two people meet, if there's rapport, the person who's most certain will always influence the other person. - Tony Robbins

Dana White: How do you think you'll finish this fight?
BJ Penn: With my hand raised.

There's no one you can't get to if you're determined.  - Chet Holmes

It always seems impossible until it's done. - Mandela

Focus=Power Find one thing you desire and concentrate all your focus on the mastery of it & success will be inevitable. - Tony Robbins

If you act like a champion, you will become a champion. Georges St-Pierre

Control the process, not the buyer. - Michael T. Bosworth

Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit. - Ka Pôhaku

Before I refuse to answer your questions, I have an opening statement.
- Ronald Reagan

Observe your reaction before reacting.  - Deepak Chopra

A painter paints pictures on canvas.  Musicians paint pictures on silence.
- Leopold Stokowski

You run and not grow weary. - U2, Drowning Man

A man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man. - Don Corleone

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to him who endures that the final victory comes. - Buddha

Activity - to produce real results - must be organized and executed meticulously.  Otherwise, it's no different from children running around the playground at recess. - John Wooden

You're not here to survive this, you're here to take charge of it.

Do is the first part of Done.

The drummer is the first on the gig and the last to leave.
- Alfred "Papa" French

Physical training is one of the most visible illustrations of leadership by example. - USMC DI School Manual

Make every day as productive as the day before you go on vacation.
- Jeffrey Gitomer

If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.
- Thomas Edison

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities.  Seize common occasions and make them great.  Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.
- Orison Swett Marden

Frustration is a function of our expectations. - Stephen Covey

It's not the daily increase but the daily decrease.  Hack away at the unessential. - Bruce Lee

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.
- Henry David Thoreau

All day and night, music. A quiet, bright reed song. If it fades, we fade. - Rumi

"You can shower a child with presents or money, but what do they really mean, compared to the most valuable gift of all - your time?  Vacations and special events are nice, but so often the best moments are the spontaneous ones.  Being there.  Every moment you spend with your child could be the one that really matters."  - Tim Russert From Starbucks Cup, The Way I See It #198

If you want to be first, then you must be last, and a servant to everyone.
- Mark 9:35

Do not be impatient with your seemingly slow progress. Do not try to run faster than you presently can. If you are studying, reflecting and trying, you are making progress whether you are aware of it or not. A traveler walking the road in the darkness of night is still going forward. Someday, some way, everything will break open, like the natural unfolding of a rosebud.
- Vernon Howard

Luke:  I don't believe it.  Yoda:  That is why you fail.

You cannot build success on what you're about to do.

A dog in desperation will leap over a wall. - Chinese proverb

Change your thoughts and you change your world. - Norman Vincent Peale

If you stay ready, you ain't got to GET ready. - Will Smith

When the pupil is ready, the master appears.

I put myself in front of people who can say 'yes' to me, and give them value first. - Jeffrey Gitomer

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. - Steve Prefontaine

Maintain a healthy disregard for the impossible. - Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Ain't no one that's 'bout to help, and I'll keep on, I tell myself.
- CCR, "Porterville"

But I'm gonna break, I'm gonna break my, I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run.  - Soundgarden

Pound for p-p-p-pound, the best around, no way you can get up when I get down. - Jay-Z

There is no finish line. - Nike

And if they stare, just let them burn their eyes on you moving. - Argent

Without music, the world would B flat.

I got an idea that I want to share.  You don't like it?  So what, I don't care.
- Rob Base

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ah, people asking questions -- lost in confusion.  Well, I tell them there's no problem -- only solutions. - John Lennon, Watching the Wheels

It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind. - Orison Swett Marden

Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them... they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.
- Orison Swett Marden

In a race, everyone runs, but only one gets first place; so run your race to win.
- 1 Corinthians, 9:24

Relaxation is a prelude to awareness. - Deepak Chopra

The future comes one day at a time. - Dean Gooderham Acheson

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

It pays to be a winner.

Never give in to pain, just adjust to it.

When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life.  Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. - Rick Warren

God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out. - 1 Corinthians 10:13

When the lion is chasing the antelope, he doesn't look back. He has to eat; so when I run, I don't stare at my time. - Robert Cheruiyot

I ain't scared of you mother fuckers. - Bernie Mac

You cannot always control the events in your life, but you can always control what they MEAN to you.

Outstanding proposals equal incoming sales.

Plan your work and work your plan.

A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough. - Bruce Lee

What you focus on is what you feel.

You can't win if you don't keep score.

The part where the drummer was playing was the least noticed out of the whole composition. - Grandmaster Flash

Stress is a code word for fear.

Kick your own ass. - Jeffrey Gitomer

Pain is weakness leaving the body. - USMC

How can you become the best version of yourself? - Matthew Kelly

You are what you believe.

Everyone you encounter is a mirror, reflecting all there is that is you.

Trees with deep roots can weather any storm.

All know the way, few actually walk it. - Bodhidharma

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Deal with it before it happens.  Set things in order before there is confusion.
- Confucius

A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do. Nothing else.

It's not who you know, it's who knows you. - Jeffrey Gitomer

Every child should be taught to expect success.

Obstacles are what appear when you take your eyes off your goals.

My Heaven will be a big Heaven, and I will walk through the front door!
- Peter Gabriel

If you're not physically fit, you're not mentally fit. - Gary Player

Everything we do is right on time, the beat's so good it blows my mind.  Don't stop the music, it's so satisfying.  Feels so good to me, there is no denying.
- Yarbrough and Peoples

Keeping my mind active remains my first path to survival.
- Survivorman Les Stroud

I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train. I'd shine my light through the cool Colorado rain. - Grateful Dead

You get diamonds out of coal, with tremendous pressure.

Strong as an ox, fresh out the box, the crowd's so live, they're comin' in flocks. - Beastie Boys

Most of the customers you're selling to need to talk to their mommy or daddy to make a deal.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. - Stephen Covey

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. - John Wooden

Winning is a habit.  Unfortunately, so is losing. - Vince Lombardi

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Suess

The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.  They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care.  Either case is a failure of leadership. - Colin Powell

Nothing great can be accomplished without enthusiasm.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities.  Seize common occasions and make them great.  Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.
- Orison Swett Marden

When you're in a hole, stop digging.

A Zen Parable

A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, “Master, how do I enter Zen?”

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.

The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. “Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?” The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Zen.

Now, as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.

“Yes, I can hear it now,” he said.

The Master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, “Enter Zen from there.”

The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori - a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!

They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. “Master” he said, “I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?”

The Master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said,

“Enter Zen from there.”