21. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee
Known as a martial artist, Lee was also quite an avid philosopher. He helped to change how Asians were depicted in American films, creating complex characters instead of adhering to caricatures.
Being able to achieve success often requires tunnel vision. You almost have to put everything else aside so that you can channel all of your energies towards your goal. That way, you’ll make fewer mistakes and take notice of what should be improved upon for the future.
22. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
Growing up in Harlem to Jamaican immigrants, he worked in a local baby furniture store and was a pretty average C student in school. He graduated from college with a BS in Geology and eventually served in the army for 35 years.
As was said earlier, there is no secret recipe for success. It does take much hard work to overcome speed bumps and hurdles that will be in your way. Achieving success is an uphill climb that not many people can endure, but by knowing that there will be difficulties ahead and visualizing where you might make mistakes can prepare you for even greater success.
23. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton
Hilton attended military school at a young age where he eventually served for two years in the U.S. military. However, it was his upbringing in a Catholic family that shaped his outlook on life, as well as the influence of his sisters.
The path to success is inherently about moving forward, but even when met with problems or failure, those who are determined enough don’t let those hold them back. They turn those failures into learning opportunities that they work into their plans to make improvements.
24. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–It is: Try to please everybody.” – Herbert Bayard Swope
An editor and journalist for the New York World, he received 3 Pulitzer Prizes for reporting. His work examined the structure of the German Empire at the time, and he coined the phrase “Cold War.”
The one real thing about success is that it’s about you and you alone. If you listened to the advice of everyone you knew and did what was necessary to please them, your focus would be split in a million different directions, ultimately leading to failure. Plus, it’s not their goal you’re trying to achieve, it’s your own.
25. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
Schweitzer was known as a writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician, among other things. He received a Nobel Prize for his work “Reverence for Life,” which focused on finding a universal concept of ethics.
Aiming for a goal that isn’t linked to your passion isn’t going to feel very rewarding in the long run. Finding success that adds value to your life should be linked to something you’re passionate about. That way, your journey to success won’t feel as burdensome as if you were working on something you didn’t enjoy doing.
26. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.” – David Brinkley
Brinkley was a newscaster for both NBC and ABC for almost 50 years, so that’s a lot of time spent behind the desk, talking about the news. He also became the White House correspondent and continued his work for various news segments over the years.
Getting critiques is one thing, but heading to success often comes with comments from those who mean to tear you down or don’t want you to succeed. You could internalize those comments and let them demoralize you from the inside out, or you can use them to pave your way to success and prove them wrong.
27. “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
Kazantzakis was a Greek writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years. This timeline just goes to show how influential his work was over the decades. He faced much adversity for his work, and many countries wanted his books banned altogether.
Ninety percent of being successful is all about determination and the mental fortitude to see things through to the end. Telling yourself that you’re going to succeed will set the foundation for you to build your self-confidence on so that there’s no other way to go but up.
28. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
Edison is credited with many of the inventions in today’s society, despite the whispers that he never really developed these ideas himself. However, he was a shrewd businessman who knew how to market these inventions so that they could reach a wider audience of consumers.
The path to success is a challenging journey. It feels like you’re never going to get to the end, no matter what you do. This difficulty often leads to some people giving up in the end, not knowing that they were mere inches away from success. If they’d just gone a little further, all of their hard work would have paid off in the end.
29. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember–the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar
Ziglar’s life started as being the 10th of 12 children, and when he was only six years old, his father and younger sister both died. That’s a lot for a young child to take in, but that didn’t stop him from finding his place in the realm of motivational speaking.
There’s a difference between constructive criticism and criticism to the point of tearing your work apart. It’s vital that you learn the difference so that you know what elements you should be working. The vindictive type of criticism serves no purpose other than to make the other person happy to see you prove them right.
30. “The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.” – John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
The son of the famous Rockefeller, he was slated to go to Yale University but was eventually steered into attending Brown University instead. Unlike the other rich sons attending college, he was actually quite scrupulous with his money. He was very charitable with his money and donated to birth control clinics and treating venereal diseases.
Many successful endeavors start as ordinary tasks that no one would blink at twice. It’s taking the mundane and turning it into the extraordinary that sets it apart from the rest. Thinking outside the box and taking risks that no one else has ever made before is one of the key reasons some people end up being more successful than others.
31. “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.” – Oprah Winfrey
Before Oprah became Oprah, she endured a difficult childhood that saw her pregnant at 14 and then being sent to live with her father. She gained a job at a radio station while she was still in high school and became a co-anchor on the local news at the young age of 19.
This timeline goes back to the statement of being passionate about your work. Doing something just for money is fine and dandy since it pays the bills; however, if you would still do the same role without money, then that’s something to be happy about in life. That joy that you feel will make you try even harder to be better in the future so that you can be even more successful.
32. “The secret to success is to know something nobody else knows.” – Aristotle Onassis
Onassis had the largest privately-owned shipping fleet in the world, which made him one of the richest men in the world too. As a child, he and his family fled Greece during the Greco-Turkey War and moved to Argentina, where he worked as a tobacco trader.
It’s finding that niche that no one else has found yet that makes one person stick out from the rest. Having a careful eye for detail and finding ways to improve upon what already exists is the foundation for most successes in the world.
33. “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder
Lauder was the only woman in Time magazine’s list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th Century in their 1998 issue. She developed her own cosmetics line with her husband, after working for her uncle, who was a chemist and developed creams that were very beneficial for the skin.
As we said before, success is about taking action, not just talking or dreaming about it. It can be a good start, mentally, to imagine yourself at your end goal, but if you don’t do anything about it, it’s just wasted energy. You’ll get nowhere with just dreams.
34. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
Vidal’s life started in extreme poverty, where the first seven years of his life were spent in an orphanage. At 14, he quit school and worked several jobs until his mother encouraged him to be an apprentice hairdresser. The rest was history.
Real success comes from years of hard work; it’s not something that’s going to be dropped into your lap. Though there are those who are born with silver spoons in their mouths, inheriting what their parents created is not a genuine success. It’s putting yourself at the risk of failure that develops your character and strengthens your mettle.
35. “Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering
Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents, which is definitely not something to laugh at. He was the head of research for General Motors and worked with DuPont to develop the Freon refrigerant.
Exploration, in terms of both the self and the goal you’re trying to achieve, broaden your horizons and allows you to think outside the box. Being active in your pursuit makes it easier for you to take notice of what’s out there and how you can make improvements. Sitting down and doing nothing, however, is excellent for a sore back, but it’s not going to help you become successful.
36. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” – James Cameron
Cameron has found much success after directing and writing “The Terminator” film, as well as directing “Aliens.” He enrolled in a two-year college to study physics but then switched to English before dropping out before the start of the second fall semester. That didn’t stop him from finding his passions in films, however.
People have often said that you should never set your goal too high because that makes it unattainable — you’re already setting yourself up for failure. However, there’s nothing wrong with trying to achieve the seemingly impossible because even if you do fail, you’ve attempted something that no one else has and that’s enough to warrant attention for your efforts.
37. “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden
Wooden went from being a basketball player to eventually coaching his own team at UCLA. He ended up winning 10 NCAA championships in a period of 12 years, which is definitely impressive, to say the least.
Looking at your failures is not only a learning experience, but they also allow you to turn them into something else. Failures can show you the error of your ways so that you can pick up where you left off and try again. It’s about being positive about everything, even when things don’t go your way so that you can cross that finish line in the end.
38. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life–think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda
Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk who was a crucial figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. He brought Hinduism to the forefront as a dominant world religion, encouraging its revival in India, during a time when it was being colonized by the British.
In order to be successful, you have to dedicate your body and mind to a single goal. It has to become second nature to your existence. Otherwise, there’s no point. It has to be something that you genuinely want before your life is over, and that means preparing your body, both physically and mentally, for the long road ahead.
39. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
A diplomat and an activist, Roosevelt held very controversial opinions at the time when it came to the treatment of African Americans. While serving as the First Lady, she managed to have press conferences regularly, write a monthly magazine column as well as a daily newspaper column, and host a weekly radio show. There was no slowing her down.
There will always be people telling you not to do something or trying to tear down your efforts. So it is entirely your choice to accept those words into your life and internalize them. However, you can also choose to reject them and stand up for what you believe in so that you can rise above those criticisms and make it to the goal post despite what they say.
40. “Our greatest fear should not be of failure … but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan
Chan and his wife founded the Cornerstone Community Church, which started with just 30 people. Soon, those numbers blossomed into a congregation of about 1,600. He eventually resigned from the church and moved to California to start the Eternity Bible College. His faith was shaped during his childhood years after several deaths in his family, including his mother, father, and stepmother, all before he was 13 years old.
Small successes are great at starting that snowball reaction of building to more significant achievements. However, what’s the point in progress if you’ve excelled at something that doesn’t matter? That isn’t to say you have to measure yours against the more prominent successes of others. Instead, it should be an internalized examination of what is really important to you so that you know your efforts aren’t for nothing.