As the world’s richest man, I feel I’m somewhat of an authority on the subject, so listen up.
Okay, just kidding. But I do have some quotes from some of the most successful people of our time explaining their perseverance, struggles, and triumphs. This group of highly successful business owners and entrepreneurs all have words of wisdom to impart on us all pertaining to integrity, innovation, and courage. Regardless of our ambitions in life, we should all take a minute to listen to what they have to say.
1. Jeff Bezos talks about standing alone
The founder of Amazon has offered his advice in the past, but none of his words stand out more than the following:
“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.”
It makes sense: If your ideas were easily understood, everyone would have them, and they wouldn’t be multi-billion dollar ideas. There are a few ways to go about being misunderstood. One, you must find a way to connect your extravagant ideas to everyday life (which Bezos clearly has done, knowing how many people would rather order from Amazon than step foot in the mall). Two, you must be able to explain your ideas clearly. Though your thoughts may be pie-in-the-sky, you must keep yourself grounded.
2. Sara Blakely wants you to make mistakes
No, not so she can keep the success all to herself. This businesswoman wants you to not be afraid of making mistakes.
She says “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.”
Think of it like this: If you try one hundred different ideas, ninety-nine of them might fail. But if just one of those ideas is a $10 million idea, you earned $100,000 for each idea you came up with, even if the vast majority of them failed. That’s not a bad return on investment at all.
3. Michael Bloomberg can never lose a dare
The former mayor of New York City seems intent on proving people wrong.
“To a contrarian like me, constant advice not to do something almost always starts me quickly down the risky, unpopular path,” he says.
My mother is the same way (except she’s no billionaire, unfortunately). Any time someone told her “we can’t do it that way,” she would respond with “why not?” and proceed to complete whatever task she had set her mind to, and do it her own way. It might not make her incredibly popular with her peers and colleagues, but she can go home every day knowing she’s made her own mark on this world in some way or another.
4. Warren Buffett talks simplicity
“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
Here freakin’ here. The self-made billionaire is talking about wasting time placing blame and becoming complacent, which only serves to dig us deeper into a rut. Instead of all of this, Buffett advises we keep pushing forward, and not dwelling on past mistakes or shortcomings. By letting go of this excess baggage, we are better able to focus on the task at hand, as well as issues that may arise in the future.
5. Larry Ellison talks lack of privilege
“I have had all of the disadvantages required for success.”
In that short sentence, Ellison sums up a lifetime of hard work. He earned everything he ever owned, and because of that, never grew to think he was owed something by the outside world. Especially in today’s age, many of us feel like the world owes us something, when in actuality it’s the other way around. Acknowledging that the world only owes us that which we give back to it is the first step toward becoming self-sufficient and successful.
6. Bill Gates wants you to listen to the critics
It might be hard, but hearing what you’re doing wrong is the first step toward changing up your approach to make it more successful.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning,” Gates says.
Imagine if nobody ever told you your ideas were terrible? You’d wake up one day at 60 years old wondering why you never accomplished anything. Though many critics (read: trolls) exist simply to bruise your ego, most critics want to see you succeed, and will offer advice on how to get there. Even though it may be hard to hear about your shortcomings, listen to the naysayers, and use their comments as a springboard to success.
7. Elon Musk wants you to strive to be the best you
“Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
Along with Gates’ suggestions, entrepreneur Elon Musk wants you to be honest with yourself about your abilities. If you constantly think you’re the best at something, you’ll never get any better. If you acknowledge you have a lot to learn, you will start on the path to learning it. And as you go, you’ll realize you still have more to learn, and will keep going down that path. The minute you stop and think you know it all is when you truly will fail.
8. Mark Zuckerberg thinks you should be yourself
The founder of Facebook, and one of the youngest billionaires in the world, says “I think that people just have this core desire to express who they are. And I think that’s always existed.”
Of course. It’s so simple. Be yourself! Why didn’t I think of that? In all honesty, so many of us actually don’t think this way. Almost anyone I could ask would rather be doing something else than the job they’re currently stuck in. Even my friends who make good money didn’t see themselves doing what they’re currently doing. Sure, you have to pay the bills somehow, but you should never give up the passions you have in life in exchange for the almighty dollar. The most successful people in the world got there not by following the dollar; they got there by following their dreams, and the money followed them.