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How to Be Successful: Quotes from Famous People on Success

Inspirational essays and articles, with a touch of humor, are favorite topics for Ms. Giordano, a writer and public speaker.

Everyone Wants To Be Successful

Everyone can be successful by keeping a few simple rules in mind.

Everyone can be successful by keeping a few simple rules in mind.

Wise Words On Success

From the beginning of time, wise people have spoken about how to be successful.

Everything that philosophers, authors, scientists, and successful people from all walks of life have said about success can be boiled down to just 10 rules.

If you want to be successful, just apply these rules to your life.

Rule 1: Think Positive Thoughts

You are what you think, so use the power of positive thinking. Positive thoughts will yield positive outcomes. Positive affirmations can be an important tool for success.

So repeat after me: "I am a powerful person. I will succeed." Now add your own affirmations that are specific to your situation. Repeat them frequently throughout the day.

Buddha: Spiritual leader

"All that we are is a result of what we have thought."

Mohandas K. Gandhi: Leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India

"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes."

Earl Nightingale: Motivational speaker

"We become what we think about most of the time, and that's the strangest secret."

Rule 2: Treat Obstacles as Challenges

Obstacles are just challenges you haven't overcome yet.

Set your goals and do not be deterred by obstacles. When you are blocked, find a way around the obstacle—go over it, under it, or through it. There is no obstacle that can not be overcome.

NASA found a way to put a man on the moon. What are your obstacles compared to that? They did it by treating each obstacle as a challenge and then working out a way to overcome it.

John Wooden: Basketball player and coach

"Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out."

Albert Einstein: Astrophysicist

"Failure is success in progress."

Washington Irving: Author, essayist, biographer, historian, diplomat

"Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it.:"

Dream Big

Don't be afraid to  dream big.

Don't be afraid to dream big.

Rule 3: Dream Big, Then, Turn Your Dreams into Reality

Remember the song “Happy Talk” from the show “South Pacific. The lyrics say, you can never have a dream come true, unless you first have a dream.

So dream your dream, and don’t be afraid to dream big. Then figure out how to turn the dream into reality.

Napoleon Hill, Author of self-help booksl

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."

Steven Spielberg: Director, producer

"I don’t dream at night, I dream all day, I dream for a living."

Walt Disney: Entrepreneur, animator, director, producer

"It you can dream it, you can do it."

Henry Ford: Entrepreneur, founder of Ford Motor Company

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one's destiny to do, and then do it."

Harriet Tubman: African-American former slave, abolitionist, humanitarian, Union spy during the Civil War

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

Rule 4: Follow Your Own Star

It’s your dream, so do it your way. You can ask for advice, you can listen to advice, but in the end. you have to do it your way.

You may get a lot of conflicting advice. Consider what others have to say. Think it through and then follow your instincts.

I’m not a famous person, but I’ll quote myself anyway: “I’d rather be wrong doing what I think is right, than right doing what I think is wrong.”

William Shakespeare: Playwright, poet

"To thine own self be true."

Bill Cosby: Comedian, actor, author, television producer

"I don't know the key to success, the the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Maya Angelou: Author, poet, dancer, actress, singer

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."

David Frost: Journalist, comedian, writer, television host.

"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally."

Rule 5: Don’t Be Afraid To Take a Chance

Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. You know the old saying—noting ventured; nothing gained.

Everybody fails at something, some time. But the surest way to be a faiure at something is to never even attempt to do it.

William Shakespeare: Playwright, poet

"Faint heart never won fair maid."

Wayne Gretzky: Ice hockey player, coach

"You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take."

Michael Jordan: Basketball player, entrepreneur

"I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."

Robert Kiyosaki: Investor, businessman, self-help author, motivational speaker

"Don't let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning."

Les Brown: motivational speaker, former Congressman author, radio DJ

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears."

Be Determined

Do not let setbacks stop you from following your star.

Do not let setbacks stop you from following your star.

Rule 6: Keep On Keeping On

There’s a saying about boxers--the winner is the guy who gets up one more time than his opponent. The will, and the courage, to keep going even when you fail leads to success.

Like a baby learning to walk—she gets on her feet and falls on her bottom. But she keeps on trying and eventually she is walking.

You were that baby once. You didn’t give up then; don’t give up now.

Winston Churchill: Prime Minister of England

"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."

Margaret Thatcher: Former Prime Minister of England

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."

Zig Ziglar: Motivational speaker

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."

Vince Lombardi: Football player, coach

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

Rule 7: Learn From Failure

One reason you should not be afraid to fail is that experience is a great teacher. Failure is just a way to learn what won’t work.

When you fail, don’t just try again. Figure out why you failed, and ten try a different way. There’s a saying “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.”

Thomas A. Edison: Inventor

"I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."

Oscar Wilde: Playwright, writer, poet

"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."

Dale Carnegie: Motivational speaker

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success."

George Bernard Shaw: Playwright

"Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time."

Rule 8: Do Things that You Find Valuable and Meaningful

You are much more likely to stick with something if you are trying to accomplish something that you believe is important, something that is meaningful to you.

Albert Einstein: Ttheoretical physicist

"Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value."

Guy Kawasaki: Marketer for Apple, writer

"The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning; to create a product or service to make the world a better place."

Kelly Kim: Professional poker player

"Success is about creating benefit for all and enjoying the process. If you focus on this and adopt this definition, success is yours."

Rule 9: Work Hard

Success takes hard work. It may mean long hours and personal sacrifice.

Whenever you hear about an “overnight success”, take a closer look. You will inevitably find years of hard work, years of trying and failing, preceded the success.

Vidal Sassoon: Hairdresser, entrepreneur

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."

Thomas Jefferson: 3rd President of the United States

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

Robert Collier: Writer (self-help books)

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out."

Success Can Be Yours

Don't lose confidence. Success is within your grasp.

Don't lose confidence. Success is within your grasp.

Rule 10: Believe In Yourself

Maybe “Believe in yourself” should have been the first rule because having confidence in your ability to be successful is what makes all the other rules possible.

Remember the children’s book, The Little Engine that Could. If you think you can—if you know you can, then you will.

Virgil: Poet (Ancient Rome)

"They can because they think they can."

Eleanor Roosevelt: Former First Lady

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Steve Jobs: Founder of Apple

"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Mike Ditka: Football player, coach, television commentator

"Before you can win, you have to believe you are worthy."

Norman Vincent Peale: Minister, author of self-help books

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy."

Bonus Rule: Know When To Quit

After all this pep talk stuff about trying and striving and believing, do you think if is anti-climatic to add “know when to quit.”

Sometimes something really is a lost cause, and you have to know when to let go. This does not make you a quitter; it makes you a realist. And, it allows you to put your resources—your time, your money and your energy elsewhere.

It hasn’t been a waste. You have learned, probably more than you realize. Further, life is often like a spiral. You may find that you come back to this abandoned project at a later time, and this time you succeed.

W.C. Fields: Comedian, actor, writer

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."

How Likely are You to Succeed?


Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure. --Earl Wilson

Eighty percent of success is showing up. --Woody Allen

The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success. --Author Unknown

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© 2014 Catherine Giordano

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