25 Powerful Quotes from the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher

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A Fellow ENTJ

Just this past January, in a discussion of the Myers Briggs (MBTI) personality types, I was reminded of the fact that, like me, Margaret Thatcher is an ENTJ. One of the rarer of the 16 personality types, ENTJ’s are said to make up 2% – 5% of the general population, but only 1% of women. ENTJ is also known as ‘The Executive’, ‘The Field Marshall’, or ‘The CEO’. ENTJs are described as being born leaders, visionaries and long-range planners with high levels of confidence, charisma and personal power. The dark side of the ENTJ personality is that they are perceived as being harsh, judgmental and impatient. ENTJ’s often come across as being forceful to the point of being intimidating, and rational to the point of being cold-hearted. Margaret Thatcher was indeed the prototypical ENTJ.

Early Life and Political Career

Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts on October 13, 1925, the daughter of a grocer and conservative politician. She was active as a young girl, enjoying a range of interests at school including piano, field hockey, poetry and swimming. She showed early signs of leadership, and served as her school’s head girl in her final year. She was bright, and won a scholarship to study chemistry at Oxford University.

Her political career began earlier, and she joined several conservative political groups on campus. Although her working life began as a research chemist, within a few years she had married a wealthy business man, Denis Thatcher, and began studying for the bar. She qualified as a barrister the year her twins were born, and devoted herself to being a full-time politician from that time on.

Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister

By the time, Margaret Thatcher, became Britain’s first female Prime Minister in 1979, the country was in the middle of the worst recession it had seen. Powerful labour unions had ground the country to a halt with long-lasting strikes. Rotting garbage piled up in the streets, and inflation was at an all-time high. The people of Britain agreed that it was time for a change.

As Prime Minister, Ms. Thatcher cut social welfare programs causing her to be dubbed  Margaret “Milk-Snatcher” Thatcher, and Attila the Hen. She privatized many of Britain’s key industries, and reduced trade union power. Her political mandate was uber-conservative. To her mind, the socialist experiment had failed. The government had become too involved in the economy and in people’s lives. She was pro-Capitalism, and pro-free market. Margaret Thatcher was also anti-Communist. Her campaign against the Soviets caused their press to label her “The Iron Lady”, and it was a moniker that stuck with her for life.

Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy

Ms. Thatcher was not always popular, her strong principles and unyielding political style won her many enemies. She refused to stand by and watch as Argentina attempted to claim the Falkland islands as its own, and unhesitatingly went to war. This bold and polarizing action characterized her career, but won her the favor of the British people. They voted her in twice more, making her the longest serving British Prime Minister of the twentieth century.

Margaret Thatcher was strong. She was determined. She was unyielding. This unwillingness to compromise displayed itself in ways that leave a black mark on her legacy, such as her refusal to impose sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid government. While she was said to be a steadfast critic of the system of racial segregation, she never took a political stand against it. Missteps notwithstanding, with nerves of steel, from 1979 to 1990, she led Britain out of economic recession and to victory in war, and left an indelible mark on world politics.

Here are 25 of Margaret Thatcher’s most powerful quotes. They give insight into the workings of an incredible twentieth century leader:


Margaret Thatcher on Knowing Who You Are and What You’re About:

  • “Don’t follow the crowd. Let the crowd follow you.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “If you just set out to be liked you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important although difficult is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I wasn’t lucky. I deserved it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside where it functions best.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. ” – Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher on Being a Woman:

  • “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I’ve got a woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” – Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher on Money:

  • “Pennies don’t fall from heaven – they have to be earned here on Earth.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.” – Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher on Having Conviction:

  • “One of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I love argument. I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me – that’s not their job.” – Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher on the Purpose of Hard Work:

  • “What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing and knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day when you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Plan your work for today, and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it should get you pretty near.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – Margaret Thatcher


Margaret Thatcher on Being Tenacious:

  • “Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “You turn if you want to. The Lady’s not for turning.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I fight on. I fight to win.” – Margaret Thatcher



Now It’s Your Turn:

What are your thoughts on Margaret Thatcher? Was she a mean and nasty politician with a heart of stone, or was she a strong-willed leader who did what needed to be done during a difficult time for her country? As a fellow ENTJ, I’m sticking up for Maggie. Margaret Thatcher loved her country, and did all she could to keep it great; her heart was in the right place, and her achievements enormous. I’m no political pundit, and she was far from perfect, but her strength of character puts her legacy in a place of honor for me.

For a dramatic turn on Margaret Thatcher’s life and political career, watch the brilliant movie “Iron Lady” in which she is portrayed by Meryl Streep.

What’s your personality type? Are you an ENTJ like me?  Click here to take a short-form version of the test. Post your results in the comments.