Success comes from inspiration

Several columns ago I wrote about the need to be able to focus on something … a quote, a phrase, a comment … that provides inspiration when plans or energy go off the rails.

Many quotes that others have found inspirational have come in since then. As we are only one month into the New Year this seemed an appropriate time to share some of these with you.

They come from a wide variety of sources and not all of them were coined by the gurus of business or come out of business administration textbooks. However, they are all appropriate to business concerns and have been able to help keep others focused on their goals and objectives. Perhaps you will find something that you can use.

Numerous quotes were attributed to Henry Ford. Here’s a few of the more popular.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy, anybody can complain.” “Vision without execution is just hallucination.” And one more from Henry, “Quality means doing it right when nobody is looking.”

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, got his inspiration from an old Henry Ford quote when he stated, “There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try and charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.”

Many turned to people who are known for their literary or artistic talents. Here’s one from author and poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel.”

Philosopher, novelist and playwright Ayn Rand contributed, “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.”

Mark Twain came up with, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” And from the world of art, Pablo Picasso zeroed in on an appropriate quote for this column: “Inspiration exists but it must find you working.”

Here’s a couple from a scientist, Albert Einstein. “Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” And this one that ties in nicely with today’s business philosophy: “Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value.”

Of course there are others who turned to successful people in the business world. Anita Roddick, founder of Body Shop stores said, “To succeed you have to believe in something with such passion that it becomes a reality.”

Author, professor and management consultant Peter Drucker weighs in with, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Sports personalities are also popular sources of inspiration. Coach Vince Lombardi is quoted as saying, “The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength or knowledge but rather a lack of will.”

Inspiration is not always found in great philosophical tomes or think tank consortiums, people have found inspirational quotes from reading books to their children. “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” That one comes from none other than Winnie the Pooh.

As a business person it is important to keep looking to the future. You need to be forward thinking and to be seen as a leader in your field. Perhaps some day someone will be quoting you.

What you want to avoid, though, is making statements or holding onto a business philosophy like Charles H. Duell who is now best known for his statement, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Charles, believe it or not, was a Commissioner of the US Patents Office in 1899.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at

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