15 Things I’ve Learned From Truett Cathy

The world is at loss as we mourn and celebrate the passing of Truett Cathy. Truett, the founder of a faith-driven business Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, died at 93. He built his popular chain from a single Atlanta restaurant into a billion dollar business. But most importantly, Truett was a man of principle, value, and character. He epitomized the quintessential faith-driven business leader in America. He learned how to merge the Sunday worship and Monday work gap.

In memory of his remarkable legacy, here are 15 life-changing quotes from Truett Cathy.

1. “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

2. “I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.”

3. “You have to be very careful about what you say. More importantly, you have to be very careful about what you do. You never know how or when you influence people – especially children.”

4. “It is when we stop doing our best work that our enthusiasm for the job wanes. We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well.”

5. “I believe no amount of business school training or work experience can teach what is ultimately a matter of personal character. Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are. Thus, a business, successful or not, is merely a reflection of the character of its leadership.”

6. “If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers; If you wish to enrich years, plant trees; If you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others.”

7. “We’re not just in the chicken business, we’re in the people business.”

8. “Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are.”

9. “If they can’t take care of the personal life, how can you expect them to take care of business?”

10. “The Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich itself was born in the wake of an unexpected opportunity. When one of my first two restaurants burned to the ground, I found myself with time on my hands and the availability to develop a new recipe…”

11. “The unexpected opportunity I enjoy most is the opportunity to turn a frown into a smile.”

12. “We have an impact on our children by what we say, but particularly by what we do. They forget many of the things we say, but they observe everything we do. We can’t expect to keep beer in the refrigerator and expect our fifteen-year-old not to drink beer.”

13. “A reporter once asked me how I would like to be remembered. I answered, ‘I think I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.”

14. “I knew if I ever had anything, I’d have to work for it.”

15. “I worked hard for a C, but I had to work… I find that most successful people are C students.”


  • Some fantastic wisdom here, Paul. Thanks for putting these together.

    • Thanks Matt! Appreciate you stopping by.

  • Florine

    Profound. Tremendous insight to peek priorities focused in changing times. Amazed that he could call the burning of a restaurant an”unexpected opportunity”. I guess many of the adversities of my life could have been opportunities that I just did not perceive I was so aware of the negative. thank you

  • Steven Tessler

    These are great! What a great leader!! Thank you for this!

    • Thanks Steven for checking out the post! Definitely what a great leader we should all learn from.

  • Solomon Abate

    Very insightful. Agree with Florine about keeping intact one’s priorities in times of change. This is deep. Thanks Paul.

  • Jack Douglas Cerva

    Thanks Paul. Great Model, Great Wisdom.

  • May Bohon

    What a great collection! I want to print all of them for my office! 🙂

  • Greg

    Are not 2 and 13 the same?

  • These are some great quotes Paul! Truett will be missed.

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  • Wow…“If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers; If you wish to enrich years, plant trees; If you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others.” … this is what I’d call a Chick-fil-A Proverb! What a legacy. This quote could easily be encouraged of our churches and families too. Great post, Paul.

  • Charles S Areson

    Thanks for posting. Good stuff. Do I need to be concerned if I was an A student?

  • Jakub Wawrzyniak

    There are some good things in what he says. I especially like the one about the family . If you cant control your family you cant control your business. I think especially now when there is no Job for life institution its much easier to forget the family and let the situation spin it out of the control. Although on the other hand kids are more independent and they accept what we do a bit more especially changes in employment and places of living.
    Anyway some great wisdom there. RIP

  • Joshua Christensen

    This is a great share Paul. Thanks for taking the time to put this piece of wisdom together for us. Truett will truely be missed. As he said keeping our priorities in proper order is important. I heard the other day that Chic-Fil-A is planning on opening on Sundays. If that is true, I wonder how he would respond.