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17 Ancient Quotes that can Fuel Your Success

17 Ancient Quotes that can Fuel Your Success

Often we rush after the latest idea, the great new method or the solution no one has ever considered. But throughout history wise people have recorded timeless wisdom.

Time management, personal relationships, mindset, comfort zones and perseverance were not unknown to ancient leaders. In fact most of the principles of success we employ today have been understood for many centuries. What you will find below are quotes from philosophers, kings, emperors, poets, lawyers, mathematicians, teachers and more. Every quote has been preserved for more that 1,000 years and still applies to your life today.

Here are 17 Ancient Quotes That Can Fuel Your Success:

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome. Lived from 121-180 AD.

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
Socrates, classical Greek philosopher. Born 470 or 469 BC, died 399 BC.

“Happiness and freedom begin with one principle. Some things are within your control and some are not.”
Epictetus – Stoic philosopher. Lived from 55-155 AD.

“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in few.”
Pythagoras, Ionian Greek mathematician and philosopher. Lived from 570-495 BC.

“Difficulties strengthen the mind as labor does the body.”
Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher. Lived from 4BC-66AD.

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher and lawyer. Lived 107-43 BC.

“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind and has given up worrying once and for all.”
Ovid, Roman poet. Born 43 BC, died 17 or 18 AD.

“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.”
Solomon, second King of Israel. Lived 990-931 BC

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”
Confucius, Chinese teacher and philosopher. Lived 551-479 BC.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”
Heraclitus of Ephesus, Greek philosopher. Lived 535-475 BC.

“If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading.”
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and poet. (Note that Lao Tzu may not have been an actual person, but the quote is still valid.)

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
Plato, Greek philosopher and mathematician. Lived approximately 428-347 BC.

“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.”
Homer, Greek author of the Illiad and the Odyssey. Dates of birth and death are unknown. Lived somewhere in the range of 1102-850 BC.

“They can conquer who believe they can.”
Virgil, Roman poet. Lived 70-19 BC.

“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”
Tacitus, senator and historian of the Roman Empire. Lived 56-117 AD.

“So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus Christ

The quotes above demonstrate that the basic principles of success in life have never changed. Having the proper mindset, moving outside your comfort zone, developing and maintaining healthy relationships and keeping focus were recognized a thousand and more years ago. Human nature has not changed and the ways in which we succeed, by stepping out and helping others, remain as the foundation for personal progress.

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Following the works of a contemporary author or speaker may match more with your perspective or outlook and there is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes looking back into antiquity shows you the long view. Technologies and methods may change, but what it takes to succeed in the world remains constant.

Let me close with a quote from the mid 20th century that shows the importance of learning from those who have gone before.

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”
General George S. Patton, Lived 1885-1945 AD

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Last Updated on May 16, 2019

The Daily Rituals of 7 Successful CEOs

The Daily Rituals of 7 Successful CEOs

One of my favorite success quotes ever comes from one of the original and most successful ‘CEOs’ of his era: Aristotle. Here’s what he said:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

This advice is just as sound today as it was when Aristotle first expressed it, way back when. I’m reminded of this at least once a week, when I interview an inspiring author, leader, or successful CEO on my show. I ask my guests a series of questions about what has contributed to their success and their ability to build something meaningful.

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You want to know what nearly all of them say? Almost every time, they respond by telling me that their success is the result of simple habits  enacted day after day.

These quotes from seven successful CEOs demonstrate the daily rituals that have contributed to their success:

1. Promote what you love.

“It’s so much better to promote what you love than to bash what you hate.” – Jessica Alba, CEO of The Honest Company

2. Develop a feedback loop.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” – Elon Musk, CEO of TESLA Motors

3. Create things that are better, not just “different.”

“Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1. The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.” – Peter Thiel, CEO of Palantir and best-selling author of Zero To One.

4. Meditate.

“Meditate. Breathe consciously. Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment. Make the connection.” – Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN Network

5. Read every day.

“Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up like compound interest.”-Warren Buffet, CEO of investment firm Berkshire-Hathaway

6. Block time for email.

“Set aside a 20- to 30-minute chunk of time two or three times a day for email. Do not check continually through the day.” – Doug Camplejohn, CEO of predictive lead marketing company FlipTop.

7. Make your customers happy.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com

Develop the right rituals. Become a successful CEO.

If the majority of these daily habits are new to you, avoid making the crucial mistake of adopting all of these habits at once. Research on habit-formation indicates that lasting habits are formed one at a time.

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For example, let’s say you’re excited about developing the following daily habits:

  • daily reading,
  • daily meditation, and
  • updating your to-do list every night

Let’s say that daily reading is the one that excites you the most out of the three habits noted above. It would be wise of you to begin by choosing and scheduling time to read every day, and then sticking to that time until it becomes a habit. Once it feels effortless and automatic, you’ll know that you’ve turned it into a daily habit. Now you’re ready to install the next habit… and the next… Until before you know it, you’ll start looking in the mirror and seeing the reflection of a successful CEO.

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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