30 Famous Quotes that will Help You Find Success at Work and in Life

Since the beginning of humankind people have dreams about being successful, rich, and admired. They've created hierarchies and rankings and compared themselves with others in terms of wealth, wisdom, and fame. But what is success and how can you lead your life towards success?

Philosophers and writers, politicians and business men and women, leaders and poets have tried for centuries to answer these questions. They searched deep in themselves, looked for answers in science, and turned to religion and philosophy. Success quotes from famous people inspire and motivate us.

What is success?

While many famous people connect success with hard work or teamwork, there're also many who advise you to consider your life achievements separately from other people. They encourage you to see great success as a life of happiness and find motivation in your dreams and inner strength.

  1. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” - Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou's quote emphasizes the importance of cherishing meaningful moments in life rather than simply counting the passage of time. It encourages individuals to focus on awe-inspiring, transformative experiences and leave a lasting impact. Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist known for her powerful works that explored themes of identity, race, and womanhood.

  2. “Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing.” - Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., highlights the significance of actively participating in life and shaping it through purposeful experiences. The quote emphasizes the idea of engaging in activities and endeavors worth sharing with others, fostering connections and positively impacting the world.

  3. “Men think highly of those who rise rapidly in the world; whereas nothing rises quicker than dust, straw, and feathers.” - Lord Byron

    Lord Byron, an influential British poet, criticizes society's tendency to admire those who achieve rapid success without considering the true substance or value of their accomplishments. The quote suggests that superficial achievements can be fleeting and lack the lasting impact and significance that come from genuine substance and character.

  4. “He is most powerful who has power over himself.” - Seneca

    Seneca, a Stoic philosopher from ancient Rome, highlights the concept of self-mastery and inner strength. The quote emphasizes that true power and strength come from having control over one's own thoughts, emotions, and actions. It conveys the idea that the ability to govern oneself is a sign of true personal power and resilience.

  5. “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.” - Ernest Hemingway

    Ernest Hemingway, a renowned American writer, suggests that true nobility comes from personal growth and self-improvement rather than comparing oneself to others. The quote encourages individuals to focus on surpassing their own past achievements, continuously striving for personal development and progress.

  6. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Lao Tzu

    Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism, emphasizes the importance of letting go of preconceptions and attachments to unlock one's full potential. The quote suggests that by releasing self-imposed limitations and embracing change, individuals can discover new possibilities and become who they aspire to be.

  7. “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” - William Shakespeare

    This quote from William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night encourages individuals to embrace their potential for greatness and not fear its pursuit. It suggests that greatness can be inherent, achieved through hard work, or unexpectedly bestowed upon someone. The quote reflects the idea that greatness can manifest in various ways and is not limited to a select few.

How to distinguish success from failure?

It seems that success at work and in life is hidden inside us. All we have to do is find it. But if this wasn't easy for the greatest people in history, how can we, ordinary people, achieve it? One answer may be learning, education, and knowledge. Becoming better persons each day will help us find out what's important for us and how to accomplish our dreams. Success and failure aren't the same for all people.

  1. “Anyone who isn't embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough.” - Alain de Botton

    Alain de Botton, a Swiss-born British philosopher and writer, emphasizes the importance of personal growth and learning from past experiences. The quote suggests that feeling embarrassed or recognizing one's past shortcomings is a sign of growth and evolution. It encourages individuals to constantly seek knowledge and development to avoid stagnation.

  2. “Not all those who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

    J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings series, expresses that exploration and curiosity do not necessarily indicate being directionless or lost. The quote suggests that wandering can lead to valuable discoveries, self-discovery, and new experiences. It conveys the idea that unconventional paths and journeys can still have purpose and meaning.

  3. “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

    Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, challenges the notion of a single, universally correct path or method. The quote suggests that individual perspectives and approaches differ, and there is no absolute, objective truth or singular way of doing things. It encourages embracing diversity and recognizing the value of different perspectives.

  4. “It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.” - Immanuel Kant

    Immanuel Kant, a prominent Enlightenment philosopher, emphasizes the fundamental role of experience in acquiring knowledge. The quote suggests that our understanding of the world and the accumulation of knowledge originate from firsthand experiences. It reflects the idea that experience is the foundation upon which knowledge and wisdom are built.

  5. “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” - Socrates

    This quote is attributed to Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher. It highlights the hierarchy of discussion topics and suggests that the focus of conversation reflects the strength of one's mind. Socrates implies that engaging in discussions about ideas demonstrates intellectual strength while discussing events or gossiping about people is indicative of lesser mental capacity. The quote emphasizes the value of intellectual discourse and the pursuit of knowledge.

  6. “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” -Winston Churchill

    Winston Churchill, a British statesman and Prime Minister during World War II, contrasts the perspectives of pessimists and optimists toward challenges. The quote suggests that pessimists tend to focus on the negative aspects and difficulties in every situation, whereas optimists see potential opportunities and solutions within even the most challenging circumstances. It highlights the power of positive thinking and resilience in approaching difficulties.

  7. “You must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide.” - Ingrid Bergman

    Ingrid Bergman, a renowned Swedish actress, emphasizes the importance of intuition and trusting one's inner voice. The quote encourages individuals to rely on their instincts and inner wisdom when making decisions and expressing themselves. It reflects the idea that personal intuition can guide us towards authentic choices and actions.

  8. “I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him.” - Galileo Galilei

    Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer and physicist, expresses his humility and openness to learning from others. The quote suggests that even the least knowledgeable person can offer insights or perspectives that can contribute to one's own learning and growth. It reflects Galileo's recognition of the value of intellectual curiosity and the potential for knowledge in every encounter.

How to find success at work

The next step after deciding what success means for you is to work hard to get there. Knowledge and wisdom can help, but experience and courage are great companions too. Cultivating the right state of mind and remaining focused on your objective are the main subjects in sayings about success. These short quotes are able to motivate you for any action, from a day at work to enrolling in a sportive competition and the daily life decisions.

  1. “I walk slowly but never backwards.” - Abraham Lincoln

    Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, expresses the idea of steady progress and forward movement in this quote. It signifies his determination to move forward in life, even if the pace may be slow. The quote encapsulates Lincoln's resilience and unwavering commitment to progress and personal growth.

  2. “The biggest adventure is what lies ahead.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

    J.R.R. Tolkien, the renowned author of The Lord of the Rings, emphasizes the excitement and potential of the future in this quote. It suggests that the greatest adventure or opportunities are yet to come, encouraging individuals to embrace the unknown and approach life with a sense of anticipation and curiosity.

  3. “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." - John F. Kennedy

    John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, highlights the significance of taking initiative and making the decision to pursue goals and dreams. The quote emphasizes that all achievements begin with the first step of trying and taking action. It reflects Kennedy's belief in the power of personal determination and the willingness to take risks.

  4. “Believe you can and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt

    In this quote, Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, emphasizes the importance of self-belief and confidence. It suggests that having faith in oneself is a significant step toward success, as it sets the foundation for achieving goals. The quote reflects Roosevelt's philosophy of embracing optimism and resilience.

  5. “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” - Christopher Columbus

    Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, emphasizes the necessity of courage and venturing into the unknown to achieve great things. The quote suggests that true progress and discovery require leaving familiar territories behind and embracing uncertainty. It reflects Columbus's adventurous spirit and his determination to explore uncharted waters.

  6. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” - Pablo Picasso

    Pablo Picasso, the influential Spanish artist, highlights the importance of taking action to succeed. The quote suggests that without initiating and implementing ideas, success remains elusive. Picasso's quote emphasizes the value of actively engaging in one's pursuits and the transformative power of artistic expression.

  7. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German writer and philosopher, emphasizes the significance of action and practical application in this quote. It suggests that merely possessing knowledge or expressing desires is insufficient; one must take concrete steps toward their goals. The quote reflects Goethe's belief in the importance of active engagement and the pursuit of personal growth.

  8. “Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” - Franz Kafka

    Franz Kafka, a Czech writer, encourages individuals to stay true to themselves and their passions in this quote. It advises against compromising one's true essence and conforming to societal expectations. The quote reflects Kafka's belief in the power of embracing one's unique interests and pursuing them with unwavering dedication.

  9. “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” - Erich Fromm

    Erich Fromm, a German social psychologist and philosopher, critiques the destructive nature of greed in this quote. It suggests that the relentless pursuit of material possessions and desires ultimately leads to dissatisfaction and emotional depletion. The quote reflects Fromm's perspective on the negative consequences of excessive greed and the importance of finding fulfillment through non-materialistic means.

  10. “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

    Claude Debussy, a French composer, challenges the idea that artistic expression should be constrained by predetermined rules and conventions. The quote suggests that true artistic creations transcend pre-existing guidelines and norms. It reflects Debussy's belief in the transformative power of art and the ability of artists to redefine boundaries and create new forms of expression.

  11. “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” - Leonard Bernstein

    Leonard Bernstein, an American composer and conductor, highlights the importance of planning and a sense of urgency in achieving remarkable accomplishments. The quote implies that having a well-thought-out strategy and a sense of limited time can drive individuals to push their boundaries and strive for greatness. It reflects Bernstein's perspective on the transformative potential of focused effort and time constraints.

  12. “Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” - Terry Pratchett

    Terry Pratchett, a British author known for his fantasy novels, suggests that returning to one's starting point is not equivalent to stagnation or failure. The quote implies that personal growth and experiences shape individuals, even if they end up back where they began. It reflects Pratchett's belief in the transformative nature of journeys and the idea that change occurs internally, regardless of external circumstances.

  13. “It's hard work being a person, you have to do it every single day.” - Carol Shields

    Carol Shields, a Canadian author, humorously captures personal growth and self-development challenges in this quote. It emphasizes the continuous effort required to navigate life and fulfill one's responsibilities. The quote reflects Shields' perspective on the ongoing nature of personal development and the commitment required to lead a fulfilling life.

  14. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” - Lev Tolstoi

    Lev Tolstoy, a renowned Russian writer and philosopher, highlights the tendency of individuals to focus on external changes rather than personal transformation. The quote suggests that true progress begins with self-reflection and self-improvement. Tolstoy emphasizes the importance of individual change as a catalyst for bringing about positive change in the world. Known for his influential novels such as "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina," Tolstoy also explored moral and philosophical themes in his works.

  15. “In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” - Bertrand Russell

    Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, mathematician, and social critic, advocates for a critical and questioning mindset in this quote. He suggests that it is beneficial to challenge and reevaluate long-held beliefs and assumptions. The success quote reflects Russell's commitment to intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of truth. Russell's contributions to philosophy and logic, as well as his activism and advocacy for peace, earned him a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950.

In conclusion

As you probably noticed, none of these quotes about success speaks about money, wealth, power, or being world champion. Instead, they speak about kindness, courage, optimism, knowledge, and believing in yourself. Success is a lesson about trust and compassion, not about arrogance. Be grateful for the gifts you received and work hard to be a better person each day and one step closer to your dreams.

Do you want to find more quotes to boost your morale?
We have some extra inspring sayings from successful people.