Lucille Ball Quotes: Words on Humility and Courage From the ‘I Love Lucy’ Star

by Clayton Edwards
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Lucille Ball was, and will forever be, a Hollywood icon. She is best known for her groundbreaking sitcom “I Love Lucy,” but her career was much more than that. She was a model, a producer, a dancer, and a comedian.

Her career spanned six decades. During that time, she helped to change the face of television and touched the lives of countless viewers as well as those close to her. To say that she knew what it took to make it in life would be a gross understatement.

Lucille Ball knew that there were two things that could help her succeed in not just Hollywood but life in general. Those things were humility and courage. Without those core strengths, she wouldn’t have had such a groundbreaking and boundary-pushing career.

Lucille Ball on Humility

Lucille Ball was incredibly talented and successful. At the same time, she was stunning. It would have been easy for her to be completely and utterly full of herself. However, she was the furthest thing from that. Even after her career in television and film, Ball stayed humble. In fact, she saw humility as a key to success.

Part of that is knowing your limitations, on that, she said, “I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can do. In fact, that’s good taste.”

In fact, Lucille Ball credited her measured self-doubt to her success. “I’m not sure that I want to be without some lack of confidence. If you are too sure of yourself, you don’t grow. You may feel confident in some things, but other fields come up as a challenge. And if you don’t anticipate trouble, you will be in trouble.”

Most people think of Lucille Ball as being really funny. Her timing was impeccable and she never failed to get laughs from audiences. However, she would have been the first to tell you that she wasn’t funny. She saw herself very differently than her fans, on this she said, “I’m not funny. What I am is brave.”

Success Takes Courage

No one could say that Lucille Ball lacked courage. When she married Desi Arnaz, mixed-race marriages were still frowned upon by a large portion of the population. Instead of trying to keep that part of her life away from the eyes of the bigoted section of the public, she and Desi decided to broadcast it to the world.

In fact, she was more proud of her courage than she was any of her other attributes. She learned that a strong backbone was the most important thing that she could have. About this, she said, “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore faith in yourself.”

This was especially true in Hollywood. Her courage shined in how she looked at the studio execs. When she had an idea that she knew was good, she had the gumption to pursue it no matter what the suits had to say about it. “When they say no, you hear yes. Someone says we can’t do this movie, hug them and say thank you for believing in me.”

That steel backbone wasn’t reserved for her career. It was an everyday thing. She put it simply when she said, “Life takes guts.”

Bonus Quotes: Lucille Ball on Loving Yourself and Hard Work

Lucille Ball was brave and humble. She never owned up to being funny. At the same time, she wouldn’t say that she was lucky. Instead, she was a hard worker. On this, she said, “I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it, and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”

At the end of the day, Lucille Ball knew how important it is to love yourself. This self-love may have been the secret ingredient to her success. She said, “I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.”

You may not change the face of television like Lucille Ball did, but if you’re brave and humble, work hard, and love yourself, there’s no telling where you can go in life.

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