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Success Quotes

What does success mean to you?

Success Quotes

What does success mean to you?

Success quotes captures some inspirational and counter-intuitive thoughts about success.

There are plenty of thought-provoking ideas, ranging from happiness and success, to redefining success, and to more radical ideas like “failing to succeed”.

Why not take some time to think through what success means to you? There are plenty of quotes here to make you think, think again, and perhaps even change what you think.

Success and happiness

“There is little success where there is little laughter.” Andrew Carnegie

“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get.” Unknown

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Herman Cain

“All men seek one goal: success or happiness. The only way to achieve true success is to express yourself completely in service to society. First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal–a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends–wisdom, money, material and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” Aristotle

“In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.” John Ruskin

“One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.” Albert Einstein

“The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy, except that they are so.” William Ralph Inge

Re-defining Success

American academics Nash and Stevenson argue that “enduring success” is only achieved by achieving a balance between:

  1. Happiness – feelings of pleasure or contentment about life;
  2. Achievement – accomplishments;
  3. Significance – a positive impact on people you care about;
  4. Legacy – establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success.

The following success quotes evoke a sense of achieving success both in the small and big things of life. To look for the best in others, and to give the best you have – not a bad way to redefine success!

“Success is clearly about more than making money, but it’s also not just about happiness. You can have wealth and pleasure and still feel dissatisfied on many fronts. What, then, is real success and what does it take to achieve it in lasting terms that benefit you and others? How do you prepare your children and your business to succeed on the goals they most deeply value and have a reasonable chance of obtaining?” Nash and Stevenson

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived; this is to have succeeded.” Ralf Waldo Emerson.

“That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.” Robert Louis Stevenson

More than Success

“Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein

“The great purpose of life is to live it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Success Quotes with an End in Mind

“Our plans miscarry because we have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” Seneca

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” Douglas Adams

Encouraging Success – Remove Limitations

Here are some success quotes about encouragement. Seek or provide support, remove barriers, reduce limitations. These are the keys to fostering success in others, and in ourselves.

Success quotes

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

“I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” Abraham Lincoln

“Success in management is when those you manage succeed, and the organisation you work for succeeds.” Unknown

“A limit on what you will do puts a limit on what you can do.” Dexter Yager

“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.” Norman Vincent Peale

Failing to Succeed?

A counter-intuitive view of success is encouraged in these success quotes on failure!

“Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” Booker T Washington

“He who has never made a mistake, never made a discovery.” Samuel Smiles

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose” Bill Gates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison

Success beyond your dreams

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry Thoreau

“It is never too late to be what you might have become.” George Eliot

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Success is Doing What You Love

Our final success quotes echoes a main theme of the Happy Manager site, do what you love.

“Don’t aim for success, if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” David Frost

Perhaps one the most powerful success quotes is also one of the shortest. It’s a great way to leave this article on success quotes:

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” John Ruskin

Putting success quotes to work

Leading Insights e-guideIf you’ve enjoyed reading these quotes, you may want to take a look at our Leadership Stories. Leadership quotes and stories are a great resource whether you use them just for your own benefit or with your team, to support meetings or presentations.

If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, return to our Leadership Knowledge Hub. This contains a range of articles, tips and resource links which compliments this collection of quotes.

Or turn to our handy e-guide: Leading Insights, packed with more leadership quotes, stories and some leading insights into how they can be used! Insights such as:

  • Uncommon insights
  • Tipping point leadership
  • Find the glass
  • Leaders need to be cathedral thinkers
  • Would you recommend your service/organisation to your friends?
  • Putting on a performance
  • Would people pay to see your team perform?
  • Bricolage leadership
  • Resourceful leadership
  • Nudging leadership
  • Mirror leadership
  • Chameleon leadership
  • Catalyst leadership
  • Chrysalis leadership
  • Saliency, sagacity and serendipity
  • Infectious leadership
  • Infected leadership
  • Great work days
  • Defining moments
  • Conveying what you care about
  • The kind of goals leaders set matters
  • Motivating leaders
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