Have you ever wondered what the secret to success is? Why do some people make it big while others lead lives of daily struggles and setbacks? Does success come from external circumstances or is there an internal source of power and potential that anyone can tap into?
Let’s hear what some of the world’s most successful people have to say about this topic. Read on as 11 people offer up their success secrets.
- Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed
I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.
—Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC
- Take Action
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
—Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius
- Be Brave Enough to Follow your Intuition
Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
—Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff
Something wonderful begins to happen with the simple realization that life, like an automobile, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around. As you focus more on becoming more peaceful with where you are, rather than focusing on where you would rather be, you begin to find peace right now, in the present. Then, as you move around, try new things, and meet new people, you carry that sense of inner peace with you. It’s absolutely true that, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
—Richard Carlson, an American author, psychotherapist and motivational speaker, who rose to fame with the success of his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all Small Stuff (1997)
- Pace Yourself
A therapist once told me something that’s as true now as when I first heard it: “You can only go as fast as the slowest part of you can go.”
—Singer Bonnie Raitt, who took a seven-year hiatus from the studio before releasing her new album, Slipstream
- Know When to Quit
After my first book was published in 2000, I spent two and a half years writing a novel. But it never felt right. I didn’t even name it—it was the poor, misshapen beast child I kept hidden under my bed. Then I showed it to my agent. “None of the things you do well are in evidence here,” she said. I was devastated, then relieved: I had failed, and now I could stop. If you don’t feel a shiver of excitement or fear, if there’s no emotional risk involved, let it go. You can’t discount how hard it will be to leave your bad marriage or stop writing your bad book, but if you’re unhappy, nothing can get better as long as the status quo stays the status quo.
—Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls
- Fake It Till You Make It
The philosopher William James believed that acting a certain way could make you feel that way. Hundreds of experiments have proved him right. A Clark university study showed that smiling made people feel happier. At the University of Rochester, when researchers gave subjects an unsolvable problem, those who folded their arms in a stubborn pose persevered nearly twice as long as others, and a study in Singapore revealed that clenching your fist powers your willpower.
—Richard Wiseman, PhD, psychology professor at the UK’s University of Hertfordshire and author of the book The As If Principle
- Laugh at Life
The tap water hits a spoon in the sink and sprays you. You pull a window shade and it just keeps going and going. You can’t roll up a garden hose in any dignified way. You have to become a connoisseur of these events—”Wow, look at that, that’s great.” You have to hope that a higher power is saying, “That was a good one!” And that you’re sharing the divine pleasure it’s taking in your misfortune.
—Ian Frazier, author of The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days
- Make Yourself Heard
I had just graduated college, my loans were coming due, I was working two jobs and counting every penny. Five dollars wasn’t a ton of money, but it was enough to piss me off. Having signed petitions on change.org before, I knew it was a good platform. Then I went on Twitter to direct people to my petition. Maybe they weren’t concerned about the fee for themselves, but when they saw me, they saw their granddaughter or niece. It’s important to connect with people on a visceral level. If there’s an issue you care about, start locally: Write a letter to your newspaper or talk about it with your friends and neighbors. Then find others who share your beliefs. As cheesy as it sounds, working together is the only way to achieve anything.
—Molly Katchpole, creator of an online petition that received more than 300,000 signatures and pressured Bank of America to drop a proposed $5 debit card fee
- Create Your Own Opportunities
A lot of people ask me how I knew Mad Men or Breaking Bad would make great TV. I knew because when I read those scripts, I felt something. I didn’t do any market testing or focus groups—I just asked myself, Would I want to watch this? When you’re weighing an opportunity, make the question that simple: Do I really want this, or am I doing it for the money or the prestige or because I think I should? It can’t just be about those things. It has to make you feel good, too. and by the way, if opportunities aren’t knocking, you can make your own. When I was looking for work several years ago, I took everyone I knew in New York, where I’d just moved, to dinner or drinks or tea. I explained that I was open to anything. Six months later, one of those dinner dates called about a possible job at AMC. If I hadn’t put myself out there, that never would have happened.
—Christina Wayne, former senior VP at AMC, current president of Cineflix Studios, and an executive producer of the BBC America series Copper
- Keep the Faith
The draft lasts seven rounds, and I knew I wasn’t going to be in the top 100 guys, but I was sure a team would call and say they wanted me by early in the sixth round. When the sixth round ended and my phone still hadn’t rung, for a second I thought, “This is the worst day of my life.” But I’d had a pretty cool college career, and I’d done well in tryouts. Plus, my girlfriend and my family were right there all day telling me I was a great player. I realized then that you can’t be successful on your own; you need a supportive loved one and some spiritual guidance. I knew I was meant to play football, and if you know your purpose, and you’re patient, the ball will eventually bounce your way.
—Chandler Harnish, Indianapolis Colts draft pick and 2012’s Mr. Irrelevant, the name given to the last of the 253 players selected in the NFL draft
Now that you’ve heard from some of the world’s most successful people, are you feeling inspired to reach beyond your usual daily routine and seek something greater for your life? Did you know that everything you need to make this happen is within you already?
You are full of unlimited potential just waiting to be realized. If you are like many of us, the only thing that may be holding you back right now is fear. When you face that fear and take action anyway, you give yourself a great opportunity – the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and live a remarkable and fulfilling life.
What steps are you commited to taking for yourself today?
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To your success,