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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

More by this author

Troy Stoneking

Troy is a coach and speaker who helps people develop amazing relationships and love their work.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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