"The secret of success lies in knowing how long it takes to succeed."



"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud."



"Try not to become a person of success but rather a person of value."

-Albert Einstein


"Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


"Ambition is the great enemy of all peace."

-John Cowper Powys


"The need for success distorts the pleasure."

-Carla Needleman


"Success has ruin'd many a Man."

-Ben Franklin


"We are all failures-at least the best of us are."

J.M. Barrie


"If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory."

-William Hazlitt


"They can do all because they think they can."



"There is an old motto that runs, "If at first you don�t succeed, try, try again." .This is nonsense. It ought to read, "If at first you don�t succeed, quit, quit at once."

Stephen Leacock


"The first criterion of success in any human activity, the necessary preliminary, whether to scientific discovery or artistic vision, is intensity of attention or, less pompously, love."

W.H. Auden


"The most important thing in life is to see to it that you are never beaten."

-Andre Malraux


"Success besides often bears within itself the seed of destruction, for it may very well cut the author off from the material that was its occasion. He enters a new world. He is made much of. He must be almost super-human if he is not captivated by the notice taken of him by the great and remains insensible to the attentions of beautiful women. He grows accustomed to another way of life, probably mere luxurious than that to which he has been used, and to people who have more of the social graces than those with whom he has consorted before. They are more intellectual and their superficial brilliance is engaging. How difficult it is for him than to move freely still in the circles with which he has been familiar and which have given him his subjects! His success has changed him in the eyes of his old associates and they are no longer at home with him. "


W. Somerset Maugham


"Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them."

-David Bowie


"Success itself, even when we know it to be fantasy, holds out such promise to us all-fame, money, power and love. They are reasonable promises to the soundest minds, and the compulsion to succeed can become an obsession over which no one has control."

John Leggett

Ross & Tom

Simon & Shuster


"Success is more dangerous than failure, the ripples break over a wider coastline."

Graham Greene


"One likes people much better when they're battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph."

-Virginia Woolf


"Success or failure is the just result of what you have done in the past, plus what you do now."



"Pessimism is a form of mental dipsomania, it disdains healthy nourishment, indulges in the strong drink of denunciation, and creates an artificial dejection which thirsts for a stronger draught."

Rabindranath Tagore


".....I would have given almost anything -I shudder to think what I would have given if I had been allowed to be a successful writer.....I am writing as I do simply & solely because I think the only thing for you to do is absolutely to kill the part of you that wants success."

C.S. Lewis


"The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God�s children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the devil."

H.L. Mencken



"The real demon is success-the anxieties engendered by this quest are relentless, degrading, corroding. What is worse, there is no end to this escalation of desire."

Marya Mannes


"Success is not built on success. It's built on failure. Its built on frustration. Sometimes it's built on catastrophe."

Sumner Redstone


   "I seem to remember Plato saying something like "Everything you desire you will have, unhappy wretch!' It's a sinister prediction. it means that all ambition is absurd and one is even more desperate after its fulfillment than before. We never truly perceive the vanity and emptiness of things till we have finally possessed them. There is, in ancient theology, an absolutely terrifying description of hell as being simply the fulfillment for eternity of all the desires which have governed men during their lives."

Jean Dutourd

The Horrors of Love


"People seldom see the halting, and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved."

Anne Sullivan


"Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne�er succeed."

Emily Dickinson



"Success is a result, not a goal."



"Success is not greedy, as people think, but insignificant. That's why it satisfies nobody."



"The sickly ambitious are in Fact conformists, afraid to stand out From the crowd either by way of failure or success. "

Matt Fox

A Spirituality named Compassion


"Children, you must remember something. A man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive. Having been alive, it won't be so hard in the end to lie down and rest."

-Pearl Bailey


"Most people do not half realize how sacred a thing a legitimate ambition is. What is this eternal urge within us which is trying to push us on and on, up and up? It is the urge , the push in the great Force within us, which is perpetually prodding us to do our best and refuses to accept our second best."

Orison Swett Marden


"A minutes success pays the failure of years."

Robert Browning



"The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That-with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success-is our national disease."

William James (Father of American Psychology,1906)



"Success-the bitch-goddess, Success," in William James�s phrase-demands strange sacrifices from those who worship her."

Aldous Huxley



"The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind."

Somerset Maugham



"Success means controlling your own time. If you gain control over 60% of the time in your life, you are really successful. Time is the most important currency, but once you spend it, man , it�s gone."

Rod Steiger


"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity."

Dr. O.A. Battista



"Personal success often involves a great social consciousness as well."

George Gallup, Jr.


"I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should seem a fool, but be wise."



"We never know, believe me, when we have succeeded best."

Unamuno g


"Fortune may have yet a better success in reserve for you , and they who lose today may win to-morrow."

Miguel De Cervantes


Nothing succeeds like success, and nothing fails like reading a book on how to attain it

"To get it right, be born with luck or else make it. Never give up. Get the knack of getting people to help you and also pitch in yourself. A little money helps, but what really gets it right is to never-I repeat-never, under any condition face the facts."

Ruth Gordon


"Success has ruin'd many a man."

Benjamin Franklin


"The secret of success lies not in doing your own work, but in recognizing the right man to do it."

Andrew Carnegie


"One significant activity that distinguishes high achievers from their less successful counterparts is their love of reading-and their corresponding lack of interest in television."

George & Alec Gallup


"Wealth, notoriety, place, and power are no measure of success whatever. The only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have done and what we might have been on the one hand, and the thing we have made and the thing we have made of ourselves on the other."

H.G. Wells


"I've tried not to be too successful in my own lifetime, so I don't have that obstacle in front of myself, because I know that mass success is the kiss of death."

-Kinky Friedman


   "Our ambitions and the sentiments attached to them are harmless enough when viewed in their sanitized, abstract, daylight visage; but in their raw specificity, they are something else, something darker, something we do not wish to see or, having seen, do not wish to remember."

Brian J. Mahan

Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition


   "Success does not lie entirely in the hands of any one of us. From the day the tower of Siloam fell, misfortune has fallen sometimes upon the just as well as the unjust. We sometimes see the good man, the honest man, the strong man, broken down by forces which he had no control. If the hand of the Lord is heavy upon the strength and wisdom of man shall avail nothing. But as a rule in the long run each of us comes pretty near to getting what he deserves. Each of us can, as a rule-there are, of course, exceptions-finally achieve the success best worth having, the success of having played his part honestly and manfully; of having lived so as to feel at the end he has done his duty; of having been a good husband, a good father; of having tried to make the world a little better off rather than worse off because he has lived; of having been a doer of the word and not a hearer only-still less a mere critic of the doers. Every man has it in him, unless fate is indeed hard upon him, to win out that measure of success if he will honestly try."

Theodore Roosevelt


"The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is "look under foot." You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world."

-John Burroughs



                                        Reflections on a Man's Success by William James

                                        from The Varieties of Religious Experience

   To begin with, how can things so insecure as the successful experiences of this world afford a stable anchorage? A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain. In the healthiest and most prosperous existence, how many links of illness, danger, and disaster are always interposed? Unsuspectedly   from the bottom of every fountain of pleasure, as the old poet said, something bitter rises up: a touch of nausea, a falling dead of the delight, a whiff of melancholy, things that sound a knell, for fugitive as they may be, they bring a feeling of coming from a deeper region and often have an appalling convincingness. The buzz of life ceases at their touch as a piano-string stops sounding when the damper falls upon it.

   Of course the music can commence again-and again and again-at intervals. But with this the healthy-minded consciousness is left with an irremediable sense of precariousness. It is a bell with a crack; it draws its breath on sufferance and by an accident.

   Even if we suppose a man so packed with healthy-mindedness as never to have experienced in his own person any of these sobering intervals, still, if he is a reflecting being, he must generalize and class his own lot with that of others; and, in doing so, he must see that his escape is just a lucky chance and no essential difference. He might just as well have been born to an entirely different fortune. And then indeed the hollow security! What kind of a frame of things is it of which the best you can say is, "Thank God, it let me off clear this time!" Is not its blessedness a fragile friction? Is not your joy in it a very vulgar glee, not much unlike the snicker of a rogue at his success? If indeed it were all success, even on such terms as that! But take the happiest man, the one most envied  of the world, and in nine cases out of ten his inmost consciousness is one of failure. Either his ideals in the line of his achievements are pitched far higher than the achievement themselves, or else he has secret ideals of which the world knows nothing, and in regard to which he inwardly knows himself to be found wanting.

   When such a conquering optimist as Goethe can express himself in this wise, how must it be with less successful men?

   "I will say nothing, " writes Goethe in 1824 , "against the course of my existence. But at bottom it has been nothing but pain and burden, and I can affirm that during the whole of my 75 years, I have not had four weeks of genuine well-being. It is but the perpetual rolling of a rock that must be raised up again forever."

   What single-handed man was ever on the whole as successful as Luther? yet when he had grown old, he looked back on his life as if it were an absolute failure.

   "I am utterly weary of life. I pray the Lord will come forthwith and carry me hence. Let him come, above all, with his last Judgment: I will stretch out my neck, the thunder will burst forth, and I shall be at rest."-And having a necklace of white agates in his hand at the time he added: "O God, grant that it may come without delay. I would readily eat up this necklace today, for the Judgment to come tomorrow." The Electress Dowager, one day when Luther was dining with her, said to him: "Doctor, I wish you may live forty years more, I would give up my chance of Paradise."

   Failure, then, failure! So the world stamps us at every turn. We strew it with our blunders, our misdeeds, our lost opportunities with all the memorials of our inadequacy to our vocation. And with what a damning emphasis does it then blot us out!  No easy fine, no mere apology or formal expiation, will satisfy the world's demands, but every pound of flesh extracted is soaked with all its blood. The subtlest forms of suffering known to man are connected with the poisonous humiliations incidental to these results. 

   And they are pivotal human experiences. A process so ubiquitous and everlasting is evidently an integral part of life. "There is indeed one element in human destiny," Robert Louis Stevenson writes, " that not blindness itself can controvert: whatever else we are intended to do, we are not intended to succeed; failure is the fate allotted," And our nature being thus rooted in failure, is it any wonder that theologians should have held it be essential, and thought that only through the personal experience of humiliations which it engenders the deeper sense of life's significance is reached?

   But this is only the stage of the world sickness. Make the human being's sensitiveness a little greater, carry him a little father from the misery-threshold, and the good quality of the successful moments themselves when they occur is spoiled and vitiated. All natural goods perish. Riches take wings; fame is a breath; love is a cheat; youth and health and pleasure vanish. Can things whose end is always dust and disappointment be the real goods which our souls require? Back of everything is the great specter of universal death, the all-encompassing blackness:

   "What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again....The dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything it is for the eyes to behold the sun: but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness: for they shall be many."

   In short, life and its negation are beaten up inextricably together. But if the life be good, the negation of it must be bad. Yet the two are equally essential facts of existence; and all natural happiness thus seems infected with a contradiction. The breath of the sepulcher surrounds it.

   To a mind attentive to this state of things and rightly subject to the joy-destroying chill which such a contemplation engenders, the only relief that healthy-mindedness can give is by saying: "Stuff and nonsense, get out into the open air!" or "Cheer up, old fellow, you'll be all right erelong, if you will only drop your morbid ness!" But in all seriousness, can such bald animal talks as that be treated as a rational answer? To ascribe religious value to mere happy-go-lucky contentment with one's brief chance at natural good is but the very consecration of forgetfulness and superficiality. Our troubles lie indeed to deep for that cure. The fact that we can die, that we can be ill at all, is what perplexes us; the fact that we now for a moment live and are well is irrelevant to that perplexity. We need a life not correlated with death, a health not liable to illness, a kind of good that will not perish, a good in fact that flies beyond the Goods of nature. 

   It all depends on how sensitive the soul may become to discords. "The trouble with me is that I believe too much in common happiness and goodness," said a friend of mine whose consciousness was of this sort, "and nothing can console me for their transiencey. I am appalled and disconcerted at its being possible." And so with most of us: a little cooling down of animal excitability and instinct, a little loss of animal toughness, a little irritable weakness and descent of the pain-threshold, will bring the worm at the core of all our usual springs of delight into full view, and turn us into melancholy metaphysicians. The pride of life and glory of the world will shrivel. It is after all but the standing quarrel of hot youth and hoary eld. Old age has the last word: the purely naturalistic look at life, however enthusiastically it may begin, is sure to end in sadness.

   This sadness lies at the heart of every merely positivistic, agnostic, or naturalistic scheme of philosophy. Let sanguine healthy-mindedness do its best with its strange power of living in the moment and ignoring and forgetting, still the evil background is really there to be thought of, and the skull will grin in at the banquet. In the practical life of the individual, we know how his whole gloom or glee about any present fact depends on the remoter schemes and hopes with which it stands related. Its significance and framing give it the chief part of its value. Let it be known to lead nowhere, and however agreeable it may be in its immediacy, its glow and gilding vanish. The old man, sick with an insidious internal disease, may laugh and quaff his wine at first as well as ever, but he knows his fate, now , for the doctors have revealed it; and the knowledge knocks the satisfaction out of all these functions. They are partners of death and the worm is their brother, and they turn to a mere flatness.

   The luster of the present hour is always borrowed from the background of possibilities it goes with. Let our common experiences be enveloped in an eternal moral order; let our suffering have an immortal significance; let Heaven smile upon the earth. and deities pay their visits; let faith and hope be the atmosphere which man breathes in ;-and his days pass by with zest; they stir with prospects, they thrill with remoter values. Place round them on the contrary the curdling cold and gloom and absence of all permanent meaning which for pure naturalism and the popular science evolutionism and the popular science evolutionism of our time are all that is visible ultimately, and the thrill stops short, or turns rather to an anxious trembling. 

   For naturalism, fed on recent cosmological speculations , mankind is in a position similar to that of a set of people living on a frozen lake, surrounded by cliffs over which there is no escape, yet knowing that little by little the ice is melting, and the inevitable day drawing near when the last film of it will disappear, and to be drowned ignominiously will be the human creature's portion. The merrier the skating, the warmer and more sparkling the sun by day, and the ruddier the bonfires at night, the more poignant the sadness with which one must take in the meaning of the total situation."

William James

Varieties of Religious Experience



Book: "Beyond Success and Failure: Ways to Self-reliance and Maturity" by Willard & Marguerite Beecher

� 2001



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