• Success doesn't just land in your lap with a bow on it -- you have to work for it.
  • Keep going when others would have quit, then enjoy the fruits of your fortitude.
  • Take risks that test your limits and force you to grow -- personally, professionally and intellectually.

One of the best ways to get inspired and achieve success is by learning from the journeys of successful people. They’ve been there, faced challenges and went on to thrive. Their words of wisdom carry a lot of weight, especially in a world where everyone seems to have an opinion on how to achieve success. Get inspired to succeed this year with these five motivational quotes.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

Although many people avoid experimentation, inventor Thomas Edison thrived on it. His natural curiosity and desire to see how things worked led to inventions such as the phonograph, a carbon telephone transmitter and, perhaps most famously, the electric light bulb.

His experiments didn’t always go perfectly; however, he never gave up and continued to persevere by putting a positive spin on the concept of failure.

As an inventor, Edison was trained to see failure as a chance to improve. However, you don’t have to be knee-deep in patents to change your perspective on failure.

How to apply it in your life: When you fail, don’t give up or feel sorry for yourself. Instead, see every failure as an opportunity to learn and try again.

Successful people don’t succeed at everything — chances are, they had to fail many times before they finally achieved success. Don’t give up — keep trying.

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father of the U.S., was no stranger to hard work. Not only was he active in politics, serving as president, vice president, secretary of state, minister to France and governor of Virginia at points in his career, but he was also an attorney, architect, farmer, philosopher, linguist and inventor of such devices as a revolving book stand and possibly the swivel chair.

Even in retirement, he continued to work and founded the University of Virginia. Perhaps it’s because of his tireless work ethic that he is deemed by historians to be one of the most successful U.S. presidents. Jefferson did more than keep busy; he found value in his work, and this made people want to work with him.

How to apply it in your life: Success doesn’t just land in your lap with a bow on it — you have to work for it. People often say success boils down to luck. Although timing is certainly important, success is the result of consistent hard work.

The harder you work, the more people notice and are willing to offer opportunities to advance and achieve success, which can be interpreted by outsiders as luck.

“We become what we think about most of the time.” – Earl Nightingale

American radio personality Earl Nightingale was a student of human character. He was one of the surviving Marines on board the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

After his service in World War II, he was inspired by Napoleon Hill’s
“Think and Grow Rich,” specifically the phrase, “We become what we think about,” and became a motivational speaker, recording more than 7,000 radio programs and 250 audio programs and writing several books. The core tenant of his work is that your thoughts dictate your personality and success.

How to apply it in your life: Think positive. Positive thinking allows you to maintain perspective in the face of challenges, view failures as opportunities and persevere.

If you’re not naturally optimistic, keep a notebook and write down the negative thoughts you have. Consciously replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and make it a habit.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn was a natural entrepreneur who grew up poor and went on to find success. Along the way, he faced his share of challenges but used them as an opportunity to gain experience.

When many of us encounter challenges, we might question why it’s happening to us and might even consider giving up instead of seeing it as a chance to tap into our skills and strength and persevere.

How to apply it in your life: When you face a challenge or things don’t go as planned, resist succumbing to self-pity and embrace the challenge. See it as an opportunity to grow and improve.

Keep going when others would have quit — then enjoy the fruits of your fortitude.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Dubbed the father of American literature, Mark Twain — born Samuel Clemens — lived a life as colorful as his novels. In addition to writing novels, he worked as a printer, a riverboat pilot and a miner.

Regardless of what stage you are in life, it’s never too late — to succeed, get control of your finances, travel, get healthy, improve your relationships or to take a risk.

Achieving the highest levels of success requires a certain amount of risk, and in the end, to reach your potential you have to lose sight of your safe harbor.

How to apply it in your life: Take risks that test your limits and force you to grow — personally, professionally and intellectually. Do what scares you, whether it’s speaking in front of a group of buyers or hosting a client party. The only way to succeed is by taking healthy risks that move you forward.

Want to learn more from influential and famous business thought leaders? Check out the Brian Buffini Show podcast, launching March 17; click here for more information.

Brian Buffini is the Chairman and Founder of Buffini & Company. You can follow Brian and Buffini & Company on Facebook.

Email Brian Buffini.

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