31 Thoughts on What It Means to Find Success

What does it mean to be successful? I believe most entrepreneurs ask themselves that question quite a bit, especially when we ring in a new year. Perhaps this quote resonates with you as much as it does with us:

“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.”

Who penned this poem? Interestingly, while this quote is often thought to have been written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. But not so, according to the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society.

It actually was written by a woman named Elisabeth-Anne (Bessie) Stanley of Lincoln, Kansas, and published on December 11, 1905 in the town’s local publication, the Emporia Gazette. The mis-attribution is a common mistake made by a range of people and organizations including Hallmark, Dear Abby, and the folks who made video below (still, we like the video so much that we wanted to share it with you).

So hats off to Bessie Stanley for this wonderful work that is filled with ideas we hope will inspire you as you start the new year. Scroll down for more words of wisdom.

  • January 1: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
  • January 2: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller
  • January 3: “Action is the foundational key to all success.” — Pablo Picasso
  • January 4: “Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” — Arnold H. Glasow
  • January 5: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” — Albert Schweitzer
  • January 6: “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” — Swami Vivekananda
  • January 7: “I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose. … When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” — Ellen DeGeneres
  • January 8: “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” — David Frost
  • January 9: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” — Bill Gates
  • January 10: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” — Vince Lombardi
  • January 11: “I don’t believe in guilt, I believe in living on impulse as long as you never intentionally hurt another person, and don’t judge people in your life. I think you should live completely free.” — Angelina Jolie
  • January 12: “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” — Mario Andretti
  • January 13: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • January 14: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” — George S. Patton
  • January 15: “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.” — Booker T. Washington
  • January 16: “Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.” — Marilyn Monroe
  • January 17: “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” — Sheryl Sandberg
  • January 18: “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” — Audrey Hepburn
  • January 19: “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” — Napoleon Hill
  • January 20: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson
  • January 21: “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” — Jim Rohn
  • January 22: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J.K Rowling
  • January 23: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa
  • January 24: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey
  • January 25: “Success is finding satisfaction in giving a little more than you take.” — Christopher Reeve
  • January 26: “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” — Michelle Obama
  • January 27: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Albert Einstein
  • January 28: “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” — Mark Twain
  • January 29: “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
  • January 30: “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” — Confucius
  • January 31: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

Source: brainyquote.com