Source of quote attributed to Kanō Jigorō: “It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.”

Source of quote attributed to Kanō Jigorō: “It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.”


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The following quote:

It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than yesterday.

is frequently attributed to the founder of Judo, Kanō Jigorō, but I can find no evidence to support this claim.

What is the origin of this quote?


It is very similar to, and I suspect based on, another quote:

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

This version is frequently attributed to Ernest Hemingway, after appearing in a posthumous Playboy article of dubious authenticity in 1963, however its earliest appearance in this form is from a sermon in 1897:

Remember that there is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

  • “What to Believe: An Ethical Creed”, W. L. Sheldon, (Ethical Addresses) (1897)

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