quotations about success

There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.

CHRISTOPHER MORLEY, Where the Blue Begins


Tags: Christopher Morley

If we can once believe that success is possible, success becomes possible.

FRANK CHAPMAN SHARP, Success: A Course in Moral Instruction


Tags: Frank Chapman Sharp

Success depends on one's general culture, on one's set of values, one's clarity of mind and vivacity. The thing to be most feared is the artificially contrived, the contrary to life.



Tags: Henri Cartier-Bresson

Human nature is the same everywhere; it deifies success, it has nothing but scorn for defeat.

MARK TWAIN, Joan of Arc


Tags: Mark Twain

Success is not something you achieve, conquer, climb, or complete. Success is a process; it's a way of life.

ANTHONY ROBBINS, Unlimited Power: A Black Choice


Tags: Anthony Robbins

Again, it must be confessed that success does not always yield the happiness expected; that the prizes of life, like the apples of Sodom, often turn to ashes in the grasp.

WILLIAM MATTHEWS, "Success and Failure", Hints on Success in Life


There are those who deny that success is pre-eminently desirable, or that it is by any means identical with happiness. No doubt there are many enjoyments outside of worldly success. After all, it is pleasant to lie in bed till eight o'clock in the morning, instead of turning out at five; it is pleasant to hug the chimney-corner, instead of breasting the pitiless storm; it is pleasant to pass one's evenings in the bosom of a family; pleasant, too, to taste the difference between winter and spring, fine sunsets and storms, town and country. The path of success, never "a primrose path of dalliance," is steeper and more thorny today than ever before. Never before in the world's history was competition in every calling and pursuit so fierce as now; never did success, in more than a moderate degree, demand for its attainment such a union of physical and intellectual qualities--of alertness, activity, prudence, persistence, boldness, and decision--as in this latter half of the nineteenth century. Carlyle truly says that "the race of life has become intense; the runners are treading upon each other's heels; woe be to him who stops to tie his shoe-strings!" This fact alone is sufficient to show the absurdity of the opinion sometimes advanced, that success is not, as a general thing, a test of merit. In spite of the occasional triumphs of mediocre men and charlatans, the rule still holds, that the men who make their way to the front, becoming rich or famous by force of their personal characters, must have something more in them than impudence, and even the Hudsons and Fisks could not have won their positions without some sterling qualities, however alloyed with their opposites.

WILLIAM MATTHEWS, "Success and Failure", Hints on Success in Life


It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways (in any special sense) of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating. Both are much too simple to require any literary explanation. If you are in for the high jump, either jump higher than any one else, or manage somehow to pretend that you have done so. If you want to succeed at whist, either be a good whist-player, or play with marked cards. You may want a book about jumping; you may want a book about whist; you may want a book about cheating at whist. But you cannot want a book about Success. Especially you cannot want a book about Success such as those which you can now find scattered by the hundred about the book-market. You may want to jump or to play cards; but you do not want to read wandering statements to the effect that jumping is jumping, or that games are won by winners. If these writers, for instance, said anything about success in jumping it would be something like this: "The jumper must have a clear aim before him. He must desire definitely to jump higher than the other men who are in for the same competition. He must let no feeble feelings of mercy (sneaked from the sickening Little Englanders and Pro-Boers) prevent him from trying to do his best. He must remember that a competition in jumping is distinctly competitive, and that, as Darwin has gloriously demonstrated, THE WEAKEST GO TO THE WALL." That is the kind of thing the book would say, and very useful it would be, no doubt, if read out in a low and tense voice to a young man just about to take the high jump. Or suppose that in the course of his intellectual rambles the philosopher of Success dropped upon our other case, that of playing cards, his bracing advice would run--"In playing cards it is very necessary to avoid the mistake (commonly made by maudlin humanitarians and Free Traders) of permitting your opponent to win the game. You must have grit and snap and go in to win. The days of idealism and superstition are over. We live in a time of science and hard common sense, and it has now been definitely proved that in any game where two are playing IF ONE DOES NOT WIN THE OTHER WILL." It is all very stirring, of course; but I confess that if I were playing cards I would rather have some decent little book which told me the rules of the game. Beyond the rules of the game it is all a question either of talent or dishonesty; and I will undertake to provide either one or the other--which, it is not for me to say.

G. K. CHESTERTON, "The Fallacy of Success", All Things Considered


Failure means that you would not, or could not, pay for success. Success is a matter of sale. It can (most often) be bought by a large outlay--of hard forethought--of pains--of steadiness--of the golden wisdom coined from experience. But the figure is too high for most of us. We are too poor, or too slothful, to bring the price.

CHARLES BUXTON, Notes of Thought


Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals. Success is the ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease. And yet success, including the creation of wealth, has always been considered to be a process that requires hard work, and it is often considered to be at the expense of others. We need a more spiritual approach to success and to affluence, which is the abundant flow of all good things to you. With knowledge and practice of spiritual law, we put ourselves in harmony with nature and create with carefreeness, joy, and love.

DEEPAK CHOPRA, introduction, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success


You create everything that happens to you.... If you want to be really successful, and I know you do, then you will have to give up blaming and complaining and take total responsibility for your life--that means all your results, both your successes and your failures. That is the prerequisite for creating a life of success. It is only by acknowledging that you have created everything up until now that you can take charge of creating the future you want.

JACK CANFIELD, The Success Principles


The mighty credit, which is a mantle of cloth of gold and finest silver spun ... by the greatest of the angels of men--Success.



Tags: Lew Wallace

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well; and doing well whatever you do, without a thought of fame.



Tags: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Success, instead of giving freedom of choice, becomes a way of life. There's no country I've been to where people, when you come into a room and sit down with them, so often ask you, "What do you do?" And, being American, many's the time I've almost asked that question, then realized it's good for my soul not to know. For a while! Just to let the evening wear on and see what I think of this person without knowing what he does and how successful he is, or what a failure. We're ranking everybody every minute of the day.

ARTHUR MILLER, Paris Review, Summer 1966


Tags: Arthur Miller

Success causes us to be more praised than known.

JOSEPH ROUX, Meditations of a Parish Priest


Tags: Joseph Roux

A common tendency is to set an almost unreachable standard for success while simultaneously creating a standard for failure that is easy to meet. As a result, you may routinely feel a lot less successful than is necessary.

TOMMY NEWBERRY, Success Is Not an Accident


Tags: Tommy Newberry

How few successful men are interesting! Hannibal, Alcibiades, with Raleigh, Mithridates, and Napoleon, who would compare them for a moment with their mere conquerors?



Tags: Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham

All successful men have agreed in one thing--they were causationists. They believed that things went not by luck, but by law; that there was not a weak or a cracked link in the chain that joins the first and last of things. A belief in causality, or strict connection between every trifle and the principle of being, and, in consequence, belief in compensation, or, that nothing is got for nothing--characterizes all valuable minds, and must control every effort that is made by an industrious one. The most valiant men are the best believers in the tension of the laws.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, The Conduct of Life


Tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson

People seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved.

ANNE SULLIVAN, letter regarding her work with Helen Keller, October 30, 1887


Tags: Anne Sullivan

There are two kinds of success, or rather two kinds of ability displayed in the achievement of success. There is, first, the success either in big things or small things which comes to the man who has in him the natural power to do what no one else can do, and what no amount of training, no perseverance or will power, will enable any ordinary man to do. This success, of course, like every other kind of success, may be on a very big scale or on a small scale. The quality which the man possesses may be that which enables him to run a hundred yards in nine and three-fifths seconds, or to play ten separate games of chess at the same time blindfolded, or to add five columns of figures at once without effort, or to write the "Ode to a Grecian Urn," or to deliver the Gettysburg speech, or to show the ability of Frederick at Leuthen or Nelson at Trafalgar. No amount of training of body or mind would enable any good ordinary man to perform any one of these feats. Of course the proper performance of each implies much previous study or training, but in no one of them is success to be attained save by the altogether exceptional man who has in him the something additional which the ordinary man does not have. This is the most striking kind of success, and it can be attained only by the man who has in him the quality which separates him in kind no less than in degree from his fellows. But much the commoner type of success in every walk of life and in every species of effort is that which comes to the man who differs from his fellows not by the kind of quality which he possesses but by the degree of development which he has given that quality. This kind of success is open to a large number of persons, if only they seriously determine to achieve it. It is the kind of success which is open to the average man of sound body and fair mind, who has no remarkable mental or physical attributes, but who gets just as much as possible in the way of work out of the aptitudes that he does possess. It is the only kind of success that is open to most of us. Yet some of the greatest successes in history have been those of this second class--when I call it second class I am not running it down in the least, I am merely pointing out that it differs in kind from the first class. To the average man it is probably more useful to study this second type of success than to study the first. From the study of the first he can learn inspiration, he can get uplift and lofty enthusiasm. From the study of the second he can, if he chooses, find out how to win a similar success himself.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography


Tags: Theodore Roosevelt