1. Nelson Mandela on the Seemingly Impossible
“It always seems impossible until it is done.” ~ Nelson Mandela
This is true about the bigger tasks in life, and it can lead to a feeling of not even wanting to try. When it seems impossible it can be really easy to get into a defeatist mentality and that just adds to the impossibility of it all. The best course of action is to reach back into your past and find a situation that seemed impossible at first which eventually was accomplished and led to success. We all have them, and tapping into that power of belief in order to apply it to your current impossible seeming situation is key to starting on it with the right mind set.
2. Zig Ziglar on the Greatness of Starting
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Starting is the most important part of success, even though finishing is often thought of as having arrived. It’s so easy to get caught up in wondering about how things will turn out that we lose sight of getting started. Also, if you worry about failing, or coming up against obstacles along the way, this can deter you from even starting. But all of that is imaginary thinking because you only know what will really happen when you start moving towards your goal and deal with these challenges as you come upon them.
3. Victor Kiam and Moving Forward
“Even if you fall on your face you’re still moving forward.” ~ Victor Kiam
This is true because if you’re afraid to fail you won’t make any progress and there is only progress or regress, there’s no standing still. You’re either moving forward or you’re moving backward. You always want to keep forward momentum, even if that involves falling on your face. You’ll learn from the experience and be able to apply that to future challenges, potentially avoiding future face-fallings. When you don’t attempt something for fear of falling on your face, you don’t move forward, and you end up shriveling into a version of yourself that is not as great as it could be.
4. Ben Franklin on the Power of Doing
“Well done is better than well said.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Rather than talk the talk it’s better to walk the walk. Much of what is spoken is just hot air, and if you find yourself talking about what you’re going to do rather than talking about what you’re doing you may be in a state of not getting things done. It’s better to get the work done that needs to get done and be able to talk about that rather than just spout off about all of the things you plan on doing. What are some things you’ve been talking about lately that don’t seem to have any traction, or any sign of getting done? Focus on those areas for a week and put some inspired action behind them instead of just talk.
5. Norman Vincent Peale Says When You Can Quit
“It’s always too early to quit.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Quitting is the easy way out, but it doesn’t produce anything of value, and ends up leading to a habit of quitting that can haunt you for a lifetime. The good news is that you don’t have to accept quitting, and you can pick up old projects that you quit on too early and see them through to fruition. Of course it is also possible to strategically quit on something as long as you feel that there is a more worthwhile project to work on that demands all of your time and you don’t want to split your focus.
6. John Burroughs on Having Faith
“Leap, and the net will appear.” ~ John Burroughs
If you’re waiting around for conditions to be perfect before you stick your neck out you’ll be waiting forever. This quote reminds us that you have to have some faith in order to branch into something new and unknown. Take the flying leap and trust that if you don’t make it that things will be OK and you’ll land safely. What usually ends up happening is that situations will present themselves that never could have or would have presented themselves had you not made a bold choice and thrown yourself into it.
7. Wayne Dyer Gives the Best Time to Go For It
“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer
There’s no guarantee that your long-term plan will succeed because you never know what will happen in the future. None of us do. The only time you have complete control of is right now, so that’s the best time to do all of the things you’ve been wanting to do but have been putting off until some vague future date. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing now, so don’t wait. Put some things into motion and see where it leads. You may be surprised to find that this brings your goals and dreams faster than you ever thought possible.
8. Herbert Simon on Finding Your Limits
“One finds limits by pushing them.” ~ Herbert Simon
How can you know what your limits are if you’ve never pushed them? This quote is good not only for encouraging you to find your own limitations, if you have any, but also for testing the limits of what is possible out in the world. Sitting by and thinking you have limits without actually finding out if you do or not is akin to the story of how an elephant won’t try to break the simple rope that ties him down because as a baby they chained him up with a heavy chain. How many limits do you put on yourself that aren’t even real?
9. William Butler Yeats on Striking the Iron
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” ~ William Butler Yeats
It’s easy to get into the mentality that you have to wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself before you’ll start to work hard. But the trick is to work hard so that the perfect opportunity can present itself. It’s amazing what opens up when you start giving it your all every day. You’ll find that people, situations, and events will happen in your life that are the result of the work you’ve done, and you’ll realize that unless you did the work they would not have appeared at just the right time for you.
10. Baltasar Gracian on Being Wise and Foolish
“The wise does at once what the fool does at last.” ~ Baltasar Gracian
Here’s the best way to sum up the act of procrastination. Be wise and just do what needs to be done at the time it needs to be done. It is rather foolish to push things back that must be done if they’re eventually going to need to get done at some point. When you do the work in a timely manner you free yourself up to do more and achieve more, rather than struggle with easy tasks that should have been done long ago. When you put off what needs to be done you are putting off your success and plenty of opportunities to accomplish and become even more.
11. Sam Levenson Says Be Like the Clock
“Do not watch the clock. Do what it does. Keep going.” ~ Sam Levenson
Ever get caught watching the clock and stressing out about the ticking seconds and thinking that you won’t be able to get your current task done in time? That’s a dangerous thing to do because the clock doesn’t stop unless the batteries go out on it. You should take the same approach and work with the clock rather than against it. It keeps ticking methodically and so should you. Make use of each second and don’t waste time because you’ll find that eventually you’ll be looking at the clock and stressing over it, which doesn’t produce anything.
12. Charles Atlas on Taking Steps
“Step by step and the thing is done.” ~ Charles Atlas
A funny thing about taking steps towards your goal is that eventually you get there. The trick is to keep taking those smaller steps while keeping a positive attitude about the progress you’re making. It’s harder to do than it sounds because often these steps are not glamorous and it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and where you’re going. But as long as you keep taking the steps you’ll achieve something bigger than the sum of those steps.
13. His Airness Sounds Off on Success
“I’ve failed over and over and over again. And that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan
Leave it to MJ to put into words a simple truth. You can’t succeed without failing because failing shows effort and shows that you’re attempting success. Failure also teaches, as surely Michael missed plenty of shots but tweaked his shot with each miss until he missed less and less. He also wasn’t afraid to take the shot, even if the entire game was riding on it. That fearlessness in the face of possible failure is something we can all take away.
14. Mark Twain on the Secret of Starting
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
If you get started enough times you’ll eventually get ahead. But those that dream of getting ahead and never start never get ahead. It’s a peculiar secret, as it seems so obvious, but is the downfall for many who want to be successful but don’t actually start anything that could get them there. It doesn’t matter if what you start is a giant success or not, as long as you keep starting things you’ll eventually get a hit. And if you don’t at least you won’t have any regrets because you put your whole self into trying.
15. Og Mandino on Why You Should Do Your Best
“Always do your best. What you plant now you will harvest later.” ~ Og Mandino
The thought of always doing your best may sound obvious, but honestly how often do you find yourself slipping into less than your best? What we do in the moment, with each day, is what we’ll end up reaping later. It’s best to get into the habit of giving it your all each day because it just sets you up for a better and better harvest later. It’s a hard concept to grasp because each day presents new difficulties and a requirement for us to refresh ourselves and recharge our energy so we can do our best and give our all to everything.
16. Disney Gives His Take on Dreaming
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney
This is partly true because you also have to believe you can do it. Be sure you don’t get caught in the trap of chasing a dream you don’t believe in. Disney talked about dreams a lot but he also spoke on putting belief behind them. Once you have a dream that gets you excited and you amp up your belief that you can achieve it, it’s only a matter of time before that dream becomes a reality. The point of this quote is that you wouldn’t have developed the dream if you weren’t capable of its achievement, which should help you believe you can do it.
17. Jim Rohn on Running Your Day
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” ~ Jim Rohn
It’s easy for the day to get away from you if you let it, which is why it’s important to take control of the day and bend it to your will. There will always be distractions and things getting in the way of what you have planned for the day, so you have to make sure that what you want to get done takes priority. Get into the habit of letting the day run you and you will stack many days up that don’t go your way. Have a clear plan for what you want to accomplish for the day and make sure that you stick to that plan.
18. William James Advises to Feel Like You’re Making a Difference
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James
Sometimes what we’re working on doesn’t seem like it matters much, especially when we’re doing things for other people when we’d much rather prefer to be doing things for ourselves. But if you put the sort of effort into everything you do as if it all matters, you’ll find that it does make a difference to your life and your mental state in the form of a better feeling. We all want to feel like we’re making a difference, and this quote is a reminder that we are making a difference, it just might not be as big as we’d like, but over time it can get bigger.
19. Robert Schuller on Making the Great Attempt
“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail, than to attempt nothing and succeed.” ~ Robert H. Schuller
Nothing from nothing leaves nothing, so it’s a better idea to try your hand at greatness. So what if you fail, and least you tried something amazing and have a story to tell. Those that attempt nothing wind up with nothing to show for it and no story of even an attempt. How boring! Make sure that you’re always striving for something great so that you can look back and say you gave it a go. And if you have the right amount of perseverance and a bit of luck you might actually achieve something great for the history books.
20. President Lincoln on Resolving to Succeed
“Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
It doesn’t matter if others believe you can succeed, or that you will succeed. No one can give you the resolution to succeed except yourself. It’s important to stoke those fires regularly, even daily so that you don’t get into the mentality that you can’t succeed or that failure is an option. Remember that we measure success personally, so that your idea of what it means to succeed is different than other people’s. Follow your own path to your own vision of success and stay the course.
21. Ralph Marston on Improving Your Future
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” ~ Ralph Marston
Be the person today that your future self will thank you for being. You’re setting yourself up for your tomorrows today, and if you think about it you’re living the life today that you’ve set up with all of your yesterdays. If you’re not where you want to be today, you’ll likely have to change what you’ve been doing in the past that led you to this moment. Begin to make changes starting today that can influence how you’ll be living your life tomorrow, and the day after that.
22. Daniel Webster on the Spaciousness of Success
“There is always room at the top.” ~ Daniel Webster
When you hear stories of success do you ever think that there isn’t any left for you? It’s a common thought to have but it’s not accurate. One person’s success does not leave less for the rest of us. The universe expands, and the fact is there’s always room at the top because there’s always people getting there. It isn’t a zero sum game with a loser for every winner. There are plenty of winners coexisting at the top and you can be part of the party. So use other people’s success stories as motivation rather than discouragement.
23. Ford on Building Your Reputation
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” ~ Henry Ford
This is true because your reputation is built on your actions, not what’s in your head as far as your plans. Plans that stay in your head and never see the light of day will never get you to where you want to be, or to a place where you can have a reputation for being a success. Look at the most successful people in the world and how they got their recognition. It’s because of the things they achieved and did, not for what they said they are going to do.
24. Churchill on Staying Enthusiastic
“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill
This may be the hardest part of success because it’s difficult to remain enthusiastic when everything around you is crashing down. If you have a string of failures what do you think your likelihood is to be enthusiastic about the new things you’re starting? Not very high. But if you can somehow remain enthusiastic, even if it seems silly or illogical to be enthusiastic, you’ll eventually reach success because it’s that positive eager attitude that will make it so you win one time.
25. Peter Marshall on Doing Small Deeds
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” ~ Peter Marshall
Rather than think that you have to accomplish some huge task in order to be great, it’s better to get a string of smaller things done. If all you think about is doing a mammoth deed in order to show how awesome you are, but all you do is think about it, there isn’t much value in the thought. But when you do a bunch of smaller deeds, and get them all done because they’re smaller and you can start on them right away and finish them up without a lot of trouble, you’re actually accomplishing something pretty big even though it might not feel like it.
26. Jack London and Hunting Down Your Inspiration
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London
Waiting around for inspiration to strike is going to be a long wait. This quote is a reminder that you have to chase down inspiration, and that may come in the form of work. Sometimes you have to start working to get inspired, rather than waiting for inspiration before you start working. The kicker: you can’t just do it one day and expect to be inspired every day that follows. You have to go and get your inspiration each day, or else you run the risk of having a flat, uninspired day, and too many of those in a row leads you places you don’t want to be.
27. Chris Grosser on Opportunities
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” ~ Chris Grosser
A lot of unsuccessful people will point to their lack of opportunities and say that they just didn’t get their fair share. They’ll look at successful people and say that they got an unfair amount of opportunities presented to them. But the truth of the matter is that you create your own opportunities, and successful people have found out this truth and are applying it in their lives. Look at opportunities that have presented themselves to you and realize that you created that opportunity and then took it.
28. Carol Burnett and Making a Life Change
“Only I can change my life. No one else can do it for me.” ~ Carol Burnett
It’s not a good idea to expect someone else to come by and change your life for you. There is a bigger chance of winning the lottery, and that’s basically what you’re hoping for when you put the keys of change in someone else’s hand. Only you can do it, and if you want to make a change in your life and be more than you’ve been, you have to be the one that provides the energy, that takes the steps, and that draws a line in the sand and says you’re not going to go back to those old ways again.
29. Lolly Daskal and Letting Things Chase You
“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” ~ Lolly Daskal
Have you identified some things in your life that may be the wrong thing to chase? It’s funny how as time goes by some of the things you found important at some time in the past don’t seem that important anymore. You could still be chasing them on autopilot. Once you give up the chase, the right things, the things you want in your life right now, have a chance to catch up to you and you can have what you really want. Give it a try and see if it happens for you, at the very least you won’t be wasting time on the wrong things anymore.