On His 55th Birthday, 12 Inspirational Quotes From President Obama

He was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was on the Illinois State Senate and is most notably the first African-American president in the history of the United States.

And he turns 55 today.

President Barack Obama has given many speeches during his near eight years of presidency -- on entrepreneurship, violence, racism, war and much more. So to celebrate his birthday, we choose some of our favorite quotes from his time in the Oval Office to inspire and challenge you:

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On being an entrepreneur.

"Entrepreneurship means ownership and self-determination, as opposed to simply being dependent on somebody else for your livelihood and your future. Entrepreneurship brings down barriers between communities and cultures and builds bridges that help us take on common challenges together."

On change.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

On taking control of the future.

"We did not come to fear the future, we came to shape it."

On progress.

"If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress."

On persistence.

"The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on."

On hard work.

"We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential."

On taking action.

"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something."

On cynicism.

"Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom."

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On being excellent.

"We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent."

On fighting for what you believe.

"We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it’s easy, but when it is hard."

On working your way up.

"Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you end up."

And finally, on breakfast.

"Why can't I just eat my waffle?"