45 Quotes To Inspire EPSO Exam Applicants

Inspiration sometimes runs dry, especially when you’ve been studying for hours on end for an EPSO competition. 

Sometimes it can leave you feeling like “Why did I even sign up for this?!” 

Almost every EPSO candidate has felt that at some point...even if for a fleeting second. 

But if it gets to that point where you begin to have that nagging feeling like maybe this isn’t for you, and you should throw in the towel, it can help to seek out some inspiration. 

Something to refresh your perspective and remind you why you wanted to become an integral member in shaping Europe and work for an EU institution in the first place. 

Where to find inspiration? It can come from a talk with one of your mentors, taking a well-needed break to clear your head for a few days, or a sprinkling of practical advise and the well-thought-out words of history's greatest leaders. A good quote can sometimes be the very ticket to getting back on track and inspiring you to hit the books with more vigor and determination. 

We’ve collected 45 of our favorite quotes to help you get fired up and inspired: they range from some of Europe’s current leaders, like Jean-Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel, to historical politicians like John F. Kennedy and Napoleon Bonaparte,  as well as some great thinkers like Aristotle and Elon Musk. 

  1. “The European Union is the world's most successful invention for advancing peace.” — John Bruton
  2. "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." — John D. Rockefeller
  3. "Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller
  4. “We must now face the difficult task of moving towards a single economy, a single political entity...For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, we have the opportunity to unite Europe.” — Romano Prodi
  5. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
  6. “Do it! What are you waiting on? Do it! Stand up for what you believe in. The world needs your voice. Whoever you are, you have something to say. Say it.” — Kerry Washington
  7. “The good thing about the European Union is that the joint project ultimately benefits all Member States and not just a few.” — Jean-Claude Juncker
  8. “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” — Henrik Ibsen
  9. “To be human, at the most profound level, is to encounter honestly the inescapable circumstances that constrain us, yet muster the courage to struggle compassionately for our own unique individualities and for more democratic and free societies.” — Cornel West
  10. “The European Union has decades of experience in overcoming crises and has always emerged stronger after.” — Jean-Claude Juncker
  11. “It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act.” — His Holiness The Dalai Lama
  12. “Real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that in an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special.” — Bill Taylor
  13. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” — John F. Kennedy
  14. “Try and understand what part you have to play in the world in which you live. There’s more to life than you know and it’s all happening out there. Discover what part you can play and then go for it.” — Sir Ian McKellen
  15. “It is my damn duty and obligation to do everything possible for Europe to find a united path” — Angela Merkel
  16. “We must go back to teach Europeans to love Europe.” — Jean-Claude Juncker
  17. “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” — Aristotle
  18. “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  19. “Focus your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little life of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” — Barack Obama
  20. “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
  21. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” — John Maxwell
  22. “Nobody in Europe will be abandoned. Nobody in Europe will be excluded. Europe only succeeds if we work together.” — Angela Merkel
  23. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” — Henry Ford
  24. “A united Europe is our Continent's only chance to avoid falling off the world's radar. The heads of government of Germany, France and the United Kingdom also know that their voice is only heard internationally because they speak through the megaphone of the European Union.” — Jean-Claude Juncker
  25. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” — Beverly Sills
  26. “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” — E. Joseph Cossman
  27. “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity” — Robert Schuman
  28. “Nationalism is war, and war is the past. But it is not only past. It could be our future. You are guarantors of our peace and of our security.” — Francois Mitterrand
  29. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela
  30. “Everybody is ambitious. The question is whether he is ambitious to be or ambitious to do.” — Jean Monnet
  31. “The important thing is this: to be able to give up in any given moment all that we are for what we can become." — Max De Pree
  32. “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” — Paulo Freire
  33. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." — Eleanor Roosevelt
  34. “People must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other.” — Jane Jacobs
  35. “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” — Mark Sanborn
  36. “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out." — Steve Jobs
  37. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa
  38. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
  39. “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.” — Isaac Newton
  40. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama
  41. “Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.” — Peter McWilliams
  42. “If your objective is to be as good as you can be, then you’re going to want criticism.” — Ray Dalio
  43. "There is no future for the people of Europe other than in union." — Jean Monnet
  44. “I think it's possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.” — Elon Musk
  45. "Whatever you are, be a good one." — Abraham Lincoln

So, when you start getting frustrated with abstract reasoning questions, stressed by the strict time limits of an e-tray exercise or bored with your competency based interview preparation, take a moment to reinspire yourself. 

Whether this is with a handful of great quotes, watching an inspiring documentary, or having a good chat with a mentor or friend — it can reinvigorate you to keep at it when the going gets tough. 

A session with an EPSO expert can also help significantly in figuring out exactly what you need to do to improve your chances of reaching your goal of becoming an EU Official.

Find out more about personal coaching sessions here