When it comes to career success, where do you typically turn for inspirational quotes? Our first thought is often to look for motivational quotes from CEOs of modern companies. Some of the best inspirational advice for entrepreneurship is timeless. Here are 10 inspirational quotes from famous thinkers that can help you refresh your outlook and travel the career path to success!
See Also: Top 10 Motivational Career Quotes
1. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Lao Tzu
This is wonderful advice when you are embarking on a new business venture. No one is born successful. Each of us must transform from rookies into experts. Transformation isn’t just an accumulation of knowledge; it also means letting go of false assumptions, misinformation, bad habits, and false beliefs about ourselves that hold us back from success. Only after you let go of who you used to be, you are free to transform into something greater. You cannot become somebody new by remaining the person you are. All beginnings also require endings.
2. “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As an entrepreneur, it is easy to get caught up in the thinking that we need to latch onto a trend and ride it like a wave to the shores of success. The reality, however, is that there are a thousand other people trying to do the exact same thing you are when you jump on a trend. Why not set yourself and your product or service apart by offering something unique which no one has ever developed before instead? Don’t just ride a trend—create one. Intuit what other people want and need before they do, and show them.
3. “Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James
When you venture forth into the world of business with fear, it colors what you see, and that in turn colors what you perceive, recognize, and act on. Fear, misses more opportunities than it unearths, and buries more potential than it creates. You don’t want to be overconfident, but you do need to believe that great things are possible before you recognize them along your path. That healthy, realistic optimism helps us take the right risks.
4. “The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
This is a great quote to remember when you feel like you are failing. Remember, failure is simply the state of not having succeeded yet. Just because you are not currently standing on the summit of the mountain you are striving to climb, that does not mean that you are not climbing. So long as your movement is upward and you continue to put one foot in front of the other, you are on the right track. That matters more than anything. After all, some people get a flying start in life and begin close to the summit- but turn away and walk down the mountain without ever striving for greatness. You’re already closer now than they will ever be.
5. “Live each day as if your life had just begun.” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
If your past failures are holding you back, you need to learn to let go of the past. Your past is not your future unless you make it that way. If you need to, wake up in the morning and ask how you would feel and what you would try if you had no memory of the bad things that happened to you. So maybe your first start-up failed. That doesn’t mean your next one will.
6. “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self-evident.” -Arthur Schopenhauer
This is a wonderful quote for an entrepreneur who is trying to develop a product that the world has never seen before- and maybe thinks it doesn’t want. There have been many products in the past the world thought it didn’t want, which now needs. Consider inventions like the airplane, which were laughed at, or even social ideas like racial equality, which were openly opposed. Anytime you try to create change in your industry or society with your inventions, you risk ridicule and opposition.
That does not mean that change isn’t needed, or that it isn’t wanted. In fact, society may desperately need the change you are trying to bring, and your product or service could liberate people to live more meaningful, productive lives. So, if you believe in what you are trying to create, keep striving forward, and ignore the dogs that bark at you on the way.
7. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
As an entrepreneur, the people you choose to surround yourself with are very important. That includes your associates and colleagues as well as friends and family. The people you associate with may be better at what they do, than what you feel you are doing, and that is okay- that is a great learning opportunity! But they should never treat you as inferior. They should lift you up and inspire you with their confidence and faith in you. They should make you believe in yourself, not make you feel small. If they make you feel small, odds are they are not the right people to build your enterprise with, and their own seeming confidence and competence is only an illusion.
8. “We become what we think about.” - Earl Nightingale
All of us are born with a limited amount of time and energy. We make small talk about “making time” to achieve things, especially in entrepreneurial circles, but we must all accept the hard reality that none of us are gods.
That means that what we do choose to give our time, thought, energy, and attention to is really important. Since our time and thought are finite, the ways we choose to use them define who we really are. Maybe this is why our personalities, actions, abilities, and accomplishments so often mirror our internal worlds. If you want to be a certain way, start by thinking that way. If there is something about yourself you do not like, or which you think is holding you back from success, start by letting go of it. The patterns you create in your mind have a huge influence on what you are capable of.
9. “There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.” - Josiah Gilbert Holland
This quote may be from a man who was born in 1819 and died in 1881, but in today’s fast-paced instant gratification-based world, it is more radical than ever. Online, we read so many stories of overnight viral success. How many of those stories are true, though, and how many are just hype? And of those which are true, how many of those stories will endure over the coming years? How many will leave a true mark on history?
Real success, lasting success, does not spring into life overnight. It is built on more than just luck or a ready bankroll. It requires a firm foundation of hard work, and a smart, viable product or service that provides real and lasting value. Success that grows slowly, continues to grow because it is the actual product or service which is garnering loyalty and support, not money, a name, or a viral stroke of fortune.
10. “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” -Buddha
It is important to remember that success comes not only from the intellect, but also from the spirit. This quotation from the Buddha echoes Earl Nightingale’s previous quote, but its source reminds us that our pursuits must not only reflect our earthly desires, but also our spiritual ambitions. The world we create mirrors the world within.
See Also: Top 10 Inspiring Start-up Quotes
We hope you have enjoyed these quotations for entrepreneurial success, and that you allow them to inspire you on your own path through life.