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Success

  • The penalty of success is to be bored by the attentions of people who formerly snubbed you.

  • I think Americans love success — but hate the people who have it.

  • ... success is often harder to take than failure ...

  • ... if people are highly successful in their professions they lose their senses. Sight goes. They have no time to look at pictures. Sound goes. They have no time to listen to music. Speech goes. They have no time for conversation. They lose their sense of proportion — the relations between one thing and another. Humanity goes.

  • Success is getting what you go after; happiness is liking it after you get it.

  • Know the difference between success and fame. Success is Mother Teresa. Fame is Madonna.

    • Erma Bombeck,
    • in David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace, The People's Almanac Presents The Book of Lists: The '90s Edition ()
  • The one who cares the most wins. ... That's how I knew I'd end up with everyone else waving the white flags and not me. That's how I knew I'd be the last person standing when it was all over. ... I cared the most.

  • ... no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. Sometime, somewhere, somehow we shall find that which we seek.

  • The sweetest of all success is that which one wins by hard exertion ...

    • George Eliot,
    • 1857, in Gordon S. Haight, ed., The George Eliot Letters, vol. 8 ()
  • Achievement brings with it its own anticlimax.

  • ... when you are young you are surprised if everything isn't a success, and when you get older you're mildly surprised if anything is.

  • Woe to those who get what they desire. Fulfillment leaves an empty space where your old self used to be, the self that pines and broods and reflects. You furnish a dream house in your imagination, but how startling and final when that dream house is your own address. What is left to you? Surrounded by what you wanted, you feel a sense of amputation. The feelings you were used to abiding with are useless. The conditions you established for your happiness are met. That youthful light-headed feeling whose sharp side is much like hunger is of no more use to you.

    • Laurie Colwin,
    • "The Long Pilgrim," in Susan Cahill, ed., New Women & New Fiction ()
  • You can only sleep your way to the middle; you have to claw your way to the top.

  • The most spectacular success was first a hope.

  • To succeed in anything, one always works a little harder than one feels possible.

  • I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.

  • What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have to got have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.

  • ... it isn't success after all, is it, if it isn't an expression of your deepest energies?

  • ... in the very long run any success devours — and perhaps also corrupts.

    • May Sarton,
    • in Susan Sherman, ed., May Sarton: Among the Usual Days ()
  • I find it's as hard to live down an early triumph as an early indiscretion ...

  • For you to be successful, sacrifices must be made. It's better that they are made by others but failing that, you'll have to make them yourself.

  • A successful life for a man or for a woman seems to me to lie in the knowledge that one has developed to the limit the capacities with which one was endowed; that one has contributed something constructive to family and friends and to a home community; that one has brought happiness wherever it was possible; that one has earned one's way in the world, has kept some friends, and need not be ashamed to face oneself honestly.

  • To leave the world richer — that is the ultimate success.

  • To me, the model of success is not linear. Success is completing the full circle of yourself.

  • He didn't think highly of what is called success in the world to-day, but such as it was he wanted his friends to have it, and was vexed with them when they missed it.

    • Willa Cather,
    • "Double Birthday" (1929), in Edward J. O'Brien, ed., 50 Best American Short Stories 1915-1939 ()
  • Success supposes endeavor.

  • Even a stopped clock is right twice every day. After some years, it can boast of a long series of successes.

  • Conquer, but never triumph.

  • How success changes the opinion of men!

  • There is nothing harder for an Artist than to retain his Artistic integrity in the tomb of success. A tomb, nevertheless, which nearly every Artist: whether he admits it or not; naturally wants to get into.

  • There is no state of satisfaction, because to himself no man is a success.

  • I thought success in show business was everything. It isn't. I don't know what is.

  • ... who wants to read about success? It is the early struggle which makes a good story.

  • Success is a two-bladed golden sword; it knights one and stabs one at the same time.

  • She's the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success, wrong by wrong.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • There are two kinds of men and women, those who have in them resisting as their way of winning those who have in them attacking as their way of winning ...

  • ... it is a peaceful thing to be one succeeding.

  • Success achieved by the most contemptible means cannot but destroy the soul. ... It helps to cover up the inner corruption and gradually dulls one's scruples, so that those who begin with some high ambition cannot, even if they would, create anything out of themselves.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "Intellectual Proletarians," in Mother Earth ()
  • Success is counted sweetest / By those who ne'er succeed.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1859, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • ... to maintain success, stamina is more important than talent. You have to learn to be a marathon runner.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • To tend, unfailingly, unflinchingly, towards a goal, is the secret of success.

    • Anna Pavlova,
    • "Pages of My Life," in Arthur Henry Franks, ed., Pavlova: A Biography ()
  • To determine upon success is frequently success itself. ... to a steadfast, consecrated, resolute soul there are no impossibilities.

  • Success has made failures of many men ...

  • ... success is not a matter of circumstance, but of power to meet circumstance.

  • Bear figs for a season or two, and the world outside the orchard is very unwilling you should bear thistles.

  • I've never sought success in order to get fame and money: it's the talent and the passion that count in success.

  • In Hollywood, you're never any better than your last picture.

  • 'Are you so unpopular?' 'I'm successful, which comes to the same thing.'

  • ... I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.

  • The worst part of success is to try finding someone who is happy for you.

  • The secret of success is concentration; wherever there has been a great life, or a great work, that has gone before. Taste everything a little, look at everything a little; but live for one thing.

  • If two men climb one ladder, did you ever see the weakest anywhere but at the foot? The surest sign of fitness is success.

  • The book club selection of his first novel had catapulted him (no, jet-propelled was better) too swiftly into the stratosphere, he had no equipment for the flight or for the new atmosphere ... no editor could remedy the dreadful effect of early luck.

  • Success can make you go one of two ways. It can make you a prima donna, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out.

  • You can have unbelieveable intelligence, you can have connections, you can have opportunities fall out of the sky. But in the end, hard work is the true, enduring characteristic of successful people.

  • The most characteristic mark of a great mind is to choose some one important object, and pursue it through life.

    • Anna Laetitia Barbauld,
    • "Against Inconsistency in Our Expectations" (1773), The Works of Anna Laetitia Barbauld, vol. 2 ()
  • And then, fame always brings loneliness. Success is as ice cold and as lonely as the north pole.

  • Success is like a mirror: It reflects back to you exactly what you held up before it.

  • Success is a process that never ends.

  • I can't think of one great human being in the arts, or in history generally, who conformed, who succeeded, as education experts tell us children must succeed, with his peer group.

  • There are some people whom we envy not because they are rich or handsome or successful, although they may be all or any of these, but because everything they are or do seems to be all of a piece, so that even if they wanted to they could not be or do otherwise.

  • If you're so successful, why do you feel like a fake?

  • None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for a lifetime.

  • You cannot be successful and continue to be a victim.

  • And when all is said and done, there is no greater success in the world than just being happy.

  • Our culture raises us to seek success but we are not taught how to live with it.

  • Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing.

  • He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction.

  • I used to have a sign on my desk at Columbia that said, 'Breathe.' So whenever there was one of those moments where I was faced with bad news or somebody was screaming at me — which happened more often than I can possibly tell you — I took deep breaths a lot.

    • Dawn Steel,
    • in Connie Glaser and Barbara Steinberg Smalley, Swim With the Dolphins ()
  • We can only do the best we can with what we have. That, after all, is the measure of success: what we do with what we have.

  • Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.

  • To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.

  • In real life, of course, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market ... Hares have no time to read. They are too busy winning the game.

  • For those with drive, wit, vision, ego and a masochistic outlook, there is always room.

  • Success is the process of not accepting failure.

  • The great thing, perhaps was not to be too successful too young.

  • Second fiddle is better than no music at all.

  • Like most people who have reached the top, I think she finds that the staying is harder than the climb.

  • The best thing that can come with success is the knowledge that it is nothing to long for.

  • ... the old Eskimo hunters she had known in her childhood thought the riches of life were intelligence, fearlessness, and love. A man with these gifts was rich and was a great spirit who was admired in the same way that the gussaks admired a man with money and goods.

  • Better to fail at what you love than succeed at what you hate. People have strange ideas about success ... too much to do with money, not enough to do with joy.

  • ... people seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved.

  • Success means only being exposed to more people.

  • If people are worried about unfair advancement, they should look at the sons-in-law of the world running companies. They've truly slept their way to the top.

  • There's no cap on success. The jury stays out till you take your last breath.

  • The environment that creates winners is almost always made up of winners.

  • Research has shown that men attribute their success to ability; both men and women in research studies attribute women's successes to luck. If we believe that women succeed only by chance, by extension we also believe that women are incapable of creating success.

  • Where I am today has everything to do with the years I spent hanging on by my fingernails.

  • It is just as important to move on in the wake of stunning success as in the wake of disaster.

  • Everything can be undone, including success.

  • ... watch out when you get all you want, fattening hogs ain't in luck.

  • Success is the quality of your journey, not a destination.

  • ... the trouble with success is — it takes all your time. And you can't do the things you really want to do!

    • Ruth Draper,
    • "Three Women and Mr. Clifford," The Art of Ruth Draper ()
  • 'Nothing succeeds as doth succeed Success!' / None who have known Success assent to this.

  • I strongly urge you to consciously consider what success means to you. Instead of allowing others or society to determine when you win, you determine it.

    • Pat Heim,
    • with Susan K. Golant, Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business ()
  • Success based on anything but internal fulfillment is bound to be empty.

  • Success breeds confidence.

  • The secret to success is written on the doors of this auditorium. One side says 'Push,' the other side says 'Pull.'

  • All her life she had found that when she went to a great deal of trouble, the results were never satisfactory; her greatest triumphs had been accidental.

  • It's a simple formula: do your best and somebody might like it.

  • Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.

  • It's even harder to stay at the top in sports than it is to get there.

  • One of the best ways to drive is against the tide of traffic. You can speed very quickly and everyone thinks you are going the wrong way. But going against the trend will get you to the trend.

  • Winning is neither everything nor the only thing. It is one of many things.

  • Success can only be measured in terms of distance traveled.

  • The more you do the more you can do. Energy begets energy.

  • Nobody's ever decided what success is, out here.

  • ... the danger in winning is winning.

  • The top is not forever. Either you walk down, or you are going to be kicked down.

  • The road to success is a zigzag, first pointing this way and then that. If we start with high intention, then magic and coincidence will guide us there despite our lack of knowledge about what lies ahead.

  • Success is completion. Success is being able to complete what we set out to do — each individual action, each specific step, each desired experience whether a big project or a very small errand.

  • Our success multiplies each time we lead someone else to success.

  • To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.

  • Success is like a liberation, or the first phase of a love story.

  • ... I don't think success is harmful, as so many people say. Rather I believe it indispensable to talent: if for nothing else than to increase the talent.

  • There are few souls strong enough to stand success ...

  • Isn't success ridiculously easy, once it begins to succeed? ... after the strain and sweat and pushing until the very groins of your being shrieked protest, something like momentum happened. It took your wits and your concentration and your continued willing sweat, of course, to keep it going, but the success of success had ball bearings.

  • ... if you play the numbers game and become obsessed with it, as so many in Hollywood are, sooner or later you have to face the depressing fact that if you are number one the only place you can go is down.

    • Doris Day,
    • in A.E. Hotchner, Doris Day: Her Own Story ()
  • Unless an artist or public celebrity is wary and firm, the disaster of success will deliver him into the public embrace, devour his time, corrupt his values, and addle his talent.

  • The ultimate of being successful is the luxury of giving yourself the time to do what you want to do.

  • One of the nicest things about living in America is the fact that sooner or later you are practically bound to get an award of some sort or other.

  • ... the flip side of success is fear. And fear is the devil. And success is the devil's dope.

  • The old thought that one cannot be rich except at the expense of his neighbor, must pass away. True prosperity adds to the richness of the whole world, such as that of the man who makes two trees grow where only one grew before. The parasitical belief in prosperity as coming by the sacrifices of others has no place in the mind that thinks true. 'My benefit is your benefit, your success is my success,' should be the basis of all our wealth.

  • It's undeserved success that people are so terribly afraid of losing; they know they haven't any way, themselves, of ever getting it back again.

  • Being Number One isn't everything to me, but for those few hours on the court it's way ahead of whatever's in second place.

  • The trouble with being number one in the world — at anything — is that it takes a certain mentality to attain that position in the first place, and that is something of a driving, perfectionist attitude, so that once you do achieve number one, you don't relax and enjoy it.

  • ... victory is fleeting, but losing is forever ...

  • I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.

  • Once you find the source of your desire for fame or wealth, you are free to go directly to that need and fill it. Because here's the secret of success: If you fill the need first, then you will succeed; if you try to succeed to fill the need, you can only succeed in spite of it.

  • Once in a while, when everything is just right, there is a moment of magic. People can live on moments of magic.

  • The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.

  • Fortune does not change men: it unmasks them.

  • ... integrity is so perishable in the summer months of success.

  • There will never be a successful person who, before performing a task, has doubts. Negative thoughts arise from recognizing that somewhere along the line your level of commitment has dropped below 100 percent. The winner will always be the person with the fewest doubts.

    • Nicole Haislett,
    • "The Winner Is Always the One With the Fewest Doubts," in Tonya Bolden, 33 Things Every Girl Should Know ()
  • You never feel that you have fame. It's always in back of you.

  • It’s life, isn’t it? You plow ahead and make a hit. And you plow on and someone passes you. Then someone passes them.

  • You always feel you are not deserving. People who are successful at what they do know what kind of work goes with it, so they are surprised at the praise.

  • ... remember to recognize the small successes that you will have. Don't let the brightness of that big goal blind you to what happens on the way toward the goal. Meet one wave at a time and enjoy what progress you make. I want you please not to be taken up in the undertow of pessimism.

    • Lucille Ball,
    • in Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein, Lucy: The Bittersweet Life of Lucille Ball ()
  • It takes time to get to the top, and that's good — because by the time you get there, you'll have learned what you need to know in order to stay there.

  • Personal sacrifices are really the beginning and the end of everything, because you don't win because you do one thing right or two things right. You win because you do 1,000 little things right throughout the year.

  • Success has as many facets as a diamond — and sometimes conceals as many flaws.

  • No one could have been more surprised than I at my successes, and yet deep within me there was acknowledgment that had I not succeeded, I would have been equally surprised.

  • ... success is ninety per cent perspiration and only ten per cent inspiration!

  • Getting enough of what you want without depriving anyone else is the ultimate act of selfishness and sanity.

  • I believe great people do things before they are ready.

  • If you persist, something good is bound to happen. My philosophy is that you have to work hard and have good judgment. But you also have to have luck.

  • To be successful, you don't have to be right, but you do have to understand, with a scientist's emotional detachment, why you were wrong.

  • I have found that my absolute best is the best possible outcome. ... The beauty of it is that it is totally within your control. You can always give your absolute best effort regardless of physical state or circumstance. That, to me, is always a win.

  • I think success has no rules, but you can learn a great deal from failure.

  • Most successes are unhappy. That's why they are successes — they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice ... The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don't give a damn.

  • I needn't tell you that success and failure prove nothing — the whole thing is a lottery. It's pleasant to succeed; but for a philosophic mind it oughtn't to be very upsetting to fail.

    • George Sand,
    • 1874, in Francis Steegmuller and Barbara Bray, eds., Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence ()
  • ... to Hans failure had no more moral significance than success.

  • We forget that often great success comes to us in the shadow of apparent failure.

  • More people are ruined by victory, I imagine, than by defeat.

  • I can't tell you how to succeed, but I can tell you how to fail: Try to please everybody.

  • ... the new women in politics seem to be saying that we already know how to lose, thank you very much. Now we want to learn how to win.

  • Is it age, or was it always my nature, to take a bad time, block out the good times, until any success became an accident and failure seemed the only truth?

  • Success and failure are not true opposites, and they're not even in the same class. I mean, they're not even a couch and a chair.

  • Nothing succeeds like failure.

  • Nothing fails like success; nothing is so defeated as yesterday's triumphant Cause.

  • What is generally regarded as success — acquisition of wealth, the capture of power or social prestige — I consider the most dismal failures. I hold when it is said of a man that he has arrived, it means that he is finished — his development has stopped at that point.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "Was My Life Worth Living?" in Harper's Magazine ()
  • Success is built on disappointment, and disappointment is inherent in all success.

    • Bette Davis,
    • in Charlotte Chandler, The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis ()
  • Books succeed, / And lives fail.

  • ... the sheer rebelliousness in giving ourselves permission to fail frees a childlike awareness and clarity. ... When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.

  • What is important is not that you have a defeat but how you react to it. There is always the possibility to transform a defeat into something else, something new, something strong. All the good stories, all the people we remember are the ones who do this, who make victories out of their failures. Because the victories teach nothing. The victories are not useful. They are often dangerous.

  • ... accept failure as part and parcel of life. It's not the opposite of success; it's an integral part of success.

  • If one lives long enough, one sees that every victory sooner or later turns to defeat.

  • People don't know the consolations of being unsuccessful ... If I had been successful I should have had no peace or time.

  • It has been said that genius is only the power of making continuous effort. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it. We are told that there is no failure, except in no longer trying — no defeat, except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own weakness of purpose.

  • What separates the winners from the losers is that winners are able to handle problems and crises that they never imagined would occur. You hit the floor, but what counts is how fast you can get up and regroup. Failure is simply part of the equation.

  • It really seems as if failure and hardship make more of a human being of folks than success.

  • It is nothing to succeed if one has not taken great trouble, and it is nothing to fail if one has done the best one could.

  • ... every victory is also a defeat. Nobody gets anything for nothing.

  • Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.

  • Victory fades so quickly that it is scarcely apparent and it is always the face of defeat that we are able to see.

  • ... the face of victory often resembles the face of defeat.

  • Apparent failure may hold in its rough shell the germs of a success that will blossom in time, and bear fruit throughout eternity.

  • ... it often doth befall, / He who conquers loses all.

  • Success is a public affair. Failure is a private funeral.

  • Some of the biggest failures I ever had were successes.

  • No one can become a winner without losing many, many times.

  • O in success there often lurks a failure / That feeds upon the soul in hidden shame, / And in defeat there sometimes rests a triumph / Greater than fame.

  • It doesn't matter how many times you fall down. What matters is how many times you get up.

  • Success comes in cans, failure comes in can'ts.

    • Gladys Milton,
    • in Wendy Bovard and Gladys Milton, Why Not Me? ()
  • The most important lesson that failure can teach is that there is something in the human spirit which is strengthened by disasters large and small. The greatest humans are those who, despite the most bitter setbacks, nevertheless keep right on going — surprising even themselves by their powers of perseverance.

  • ... success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared.

  • People fail forward to success.

  • ... success and failure are both greatly overrated but failure gives you a whole lot more to talk about.

  • If you can't fail then how can you possible develop as a communicator or as a creator of anything? We are locked into a deeply unhealthy notion that somehow you've got to succeed all the time. An appalling notion. Any painter or writer will tell you that that is no way to proceed. One of the things that will kill off a decent actor, especially a young actor early on and they will never recover from it, is too much success. It's disastrous. You stop being criticized, therefore you stop challenging yourself. You then can't afford to fail because there's too far to fall.

  • Failure may be cruel, but success is crueller still. The gods are usurers, you know; they lend to mortals, but they exact a desperate interest.

  • It may be lonely at the top, but it's so fucking crowded at the bottom.