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Top 10 Motivation Tips Learned From Highly Successful People

Written by Charles Amemiya
Speaker, life/business coach, social responsibility advocate and technical writer.
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To achieve your dreams, you need discipline, tenacity, courage, and a strong vision. You have to put in years of hard work. But aside from these, you also have to be highly motivated. Without motivation, you’ll suffer from procrastination or burnout. You’ll lose interest in that dream that you swore you’d turn into a reality.

All of us need that strong motivation that continues to drive us forward—even when we feel like giving up. These 10 motivation tips from highly successful people will help keep you moving forward so you can achieve your dreams.

1. Dream Big

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” —Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

My very first motivation tip for everyone is to dream big. To really stay motivated, you have to set your sights high. Some of the most successful people in the world did things that many people thought were impossible.

Most people thought the Wright brothers were crazy when they said they were going to figure out a way for people to fly. Many people believed that automobiles would never become a good form of transportation.

Dream big. If you play small, you’ll get small returns. Motivational speaker Les Brown said,

“It’s better to aim high and miss than aim low and hit.”

Creating small dreams and goals will stop you from doing great things. It will make you think you’re actually doing something significant when you’re not. So, always aim high.

2. Stay Curious

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” —Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant cosmologists of our time, was able to unravel the mysteries of the universe because he was curious. His deep curiosity of theoretical physics, black holes, and singularities led to many theories and broadened our understanding of space, time, and the universe.


Always be curious when you’re working toward your goals. Do your research. Be curious about new apps and technologies that will make your job easier. And be curious about your own beliefs, assumptions, and ideas. Always question the way you’re doing things. Is there a better way? Are you doing things for the right reasons?

Even when you think you’re on the right track, ask other people to play devil’s advocate with you so they can use their curiosity to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

3. Surround Yourself With Great People

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” —Jim Rohn

The people we surround ourselves with have a big impact on our lives and our personal development. This might be one of the most overlooked motivation tips because people often only look at themselves but not their environment.

Have you ever been around a negative person and walked away feeling negative and cynical? Have you been around someone positive and felt happier the rest of the day?

Avoid negative people. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who will inspire you to reach higher and become a better version of yourself. Find people who take action instead of constantly making excuses. Build a tribe of people who are focused on success.

4. Use Failure to Motivate You to Succeed

“Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” —Oprah Winfrey

Failure can hold you back or help you succeed. I used to avoid taking action because I was afraid of failure. I wouldn’t talk to that woman because I was afraid of rejection. I wouldn’t apply for that high-paying job because I was afraid of not getting hired.


I finally realized that failure was the motivation I needed to achieve my biggest goals and dreams. After talking to a lot of women and not getting the first date, I finally learned from my mistakes and became better at getting a phone number.

After making a lot of interview mistakes, I began rehearsing my answers to common questions, going through mock interviews with a friend, and correcting my mistakes. I later began landing those high-paying jobs.

Take your ego out of the equation. Don’t look at failure as evidence that you’re not good enough. Instead, look at each failure as an opportunity to chisel your rough edges and get you a little closer to your goal.

5. Be Different

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” —Robert Frost

From 1997 to 2002, Apple used the slogan “Think different.” This not only helped their branding but also set them apart from their competitors. While other companies were focusing on making money, reducing costs, and copying their competitors’ designs, Apple focused on doing things differently.

They achieved this by creating great products that provided an outstanding user experience. Products that were innovative, simple in design, and very easy to use. This need to do things differently led to their meteoric success in the technology market and stock market.

This might not be a motivation tip you’ve heard of before, but don’t be afraid to be different. All of us are unique. We were born with different strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and talents. It’s the things that make you different that make you unique. Use those unique gifts and strengths to motivate you to achieve your dreams.


6. Read About Super-Successful People

A great way to learn how to get motivated is to read books either by or about super-successful people. You can read their biographies, autobiographies, or other books they’ve written that outline the steps they took to stay motivated, even when things got tough.

I really love autobiographies and biographies because they drill down into the minds and lives of high performers. They show the power of human determination when people are faced with terrible adversities. They teach us how to beat incredible odds to become successful. There are many autobiographies available out there that will inspire you.

7. Take Action Now

Have you ever wanted to do something but analyzed it so much that you never did it? You probably suffered from analysis paralysis, which is thinking that you need more information than what’s required to start something.

The most successful people are motivated by taking immediate action. Jeff Bezos didn’t wait to get tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding before starting Amazon. Bill Gates didn’t hire 80 people and develop the first iteration of the Microsoft Office suite before launching Microsoft.

Media mogul Gary Vaynerchuck said,

“Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world didn’t necessarily start out with a grand vision. They started with an idea and an action.”

If you have an idea, start taking action to make it a reality. You’ll never have all the solutions to all the problems you’re going to face. Start implementing the idea and learn as you go. Don’t ever try to get all or even most of the answers upfront.

Start executing. The more action you take, the more problems you’ll face. The more problems you face, the more solutions you’ll find. As you tackle obstacle after obstacle, you’ll soon realize you’re well on your way to success.


8. Take Responsibility for Your Life

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstance, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” —Jim Rohn

It’s difficult to stay motivated if you believe that you have no control over what happens in your life. There are a lot of things we can’t control, but there are also many things we can control, such as our thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and to a large extent, our destiny.

People who believe they generally have control of their lives have an internal locus of control. On the other hand, People who believe that outside forces have control of their lives have an external locus of control. These are people who believe that the government, a system, politicians, bad luck, and other things have control of their lives.

The problem with believing that external forces control your life is that you don’t think you can take charge of your life. You don’t believe you can make the changes necessary to live a great life. This is a huge mistake.

Focus on the biggest thing you can control and change: yourself. Once you believe you have control of your life, you can make the positive changes that will pull you closer to your biggest dreams.

9. Help Other People

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” —Michelle Obama

There’s a reason that Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, and many other extremely successful people love helping their fellow human beings. It feels great, and it makes the world a better place. One of the best motivation tips of all is to help other people.

When I got out of prison after serving a 2-year sentence for a felony drug crime, my only goal was to get a good job, make money, and stay out of trouble. I got a very good education and have had a great career in technology for almost two decades.


I made a lot of money but noticed that it didn’t make me a lot happier. Have you ever bought something new and were happy for a short amount of time and then the happiness quickly faded away?

That’s how I felt when I bought cars, clothes, electronic devices, and even my first house. Then one day, everything changed.

I started going back into prisons to teach incarcerated men the business, personal development, and job readiness skills they needed to start their own businesses or get good jobs when they were released. Helping these guys gave me an extremely high level of happiness that I never experienced before. It motivated me to keep helping people and live a more purposeful life.

I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. At these prison volunteer events, I met executives from the world’s biggest tech companies. After talking to many of these super-successful tech volunteers, I learned that one of the things that motivated them the most was helping other people.

Many of them had more money than they could spend in 30 lifetimes, but that’s not what gave them the most happiness and purpose. It was helping other people.

10. Do What You Love

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs

This is probably the most important motivation tip that will help you become successful.

There will be times when you’ll be working long hours, working with people you don’t like, or doing things you don’t like. If you don’t love what you do, you’ll have a very hard time dealing with the negative, tedious aspects of the job.


Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours working. It makes sense to do something you’re passionate about. When you do something you love, you’ll be more creative and bring your best work to the world.

Final Thoughts

All of us have dreams, but not everyone achieves them. As you work toward your dreams, you’ll inevitably run into obstacles. The bigger your dreams, the bigger the challenges you’ll face.

There will be times when you’ll be tired, but you will have to keep going. There will be months when tons of things will go wrong. You’ll encounter stress, self-doubt, negativity, and opposition from other people.

No matter how hard things get, you have to keep going. Using these motivation tips will inspire you to keep moving forward so you can achieve those big dreams.

Featured photo credit: Katrina Wright via unsplash.com

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