What is success, really? Is it about winning? Wealth? Happiness? Here are some quotations that express a variety of responses to such questions.

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Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory.

— Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.

— Abraham Lincoln

You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.

— Alan Alda

The crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

— Albert Einstein

The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavour — property, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.

— Albert Einstein

If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.

— Alex Noble

All great men are gifted with intuition. They know without reasoning or analysis, what they need to know.

— Alexis Carrel

It is hard to escape the general conclusion that economic performance, social opportunity and political voice are deeply interrelated.

— Amartya Sen

There is a lot more to life than just struggling to make money.

— Ann Richards

[I’ve] been tested by fire and the fire lost.

— Ann Richards

I feel incredibly successful. I make a living as a writer and am able to help support a big family, my church, my bleeding-heart causes.

— Anne Lamott

Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose — not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.

— Anne Sullivan

One man may hit the mark, another blunder; but heed not these distinctions. Only from the alliance of the one, working with and through the other, are great things born.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It is true that success is the most boring thing, it is tinny and brittle, failure runs deeper. Success is dangerous. I have a very complicated relationship with that word.

— Arundhati Roy

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.

— Babe Ruth

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.

— Babe Ruth

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.

— Barack Obama

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. it’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

— Barack Obama

We will not succeed at all these things, certainly not all at once, but–if I may end with my own personal secret of happiness–we can have a good time trying.

— Barbara Ehrenreich

All my growth and development led me to believe that if you really do the right thing, and if you play by the rules, and if you’ve got good enough, solid judgment and common sense, that you’re going to be able to do whatever you want to do with your life.

— Barbara Jordan

We continue to put in place the anti-sexist thinking and practice which affirms the reality that females can achieve self-actualization and success without dominating one another.

— bell hooks

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

— Benjamin Franklin

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

— Bessie Stanley, Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it is an adaptation of a poem published in 1905 by Bessie Stanley. No version of it has been found in Emerson’s writings.

You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.

— Betty Ford

I was earning more than $50,000 a season, a fine fortune in those days, had an estate at Hastings-on-the-Hudson, a Rolls-Royce, a nice Packard for my mummy, and went to Europe every season for my clothes.

— Billie Burke

Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”

— Clare Boothe Luce

She could not separate success from peace of mind. The two must go together.

— Daphne du Maurier

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.

— David Viscott

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

— Dr. Seuss

Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.

— Earl Warren

Leadership through self-differentiation is not easy; learning techniques and imbibing data are far easier. Nor is striving or achieving success as a leader without pain: there is the pain of isolation, the pain of loneliness, the pain of personal attacks, the pain of losing friends. That’s what leadership is all about.

— Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix

Skepticism has never founded empires, established principles, or changed the world’s heart. The great doers in history have always been people of faith.

— Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply be what is generally called a “success.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Women share with men the need for personal success, even the taste of power, and no longer are we willing to satisfy those needs through the achievements of surrogates, whether husbands, children, or merely role models.

— Elizabeth Dole

The truest greatness lies in being kind, the truest wisdom in a happy mind.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We are prone to measure what we accomplish each day. How shall we measure our accomplishments? What really matters is the kind of person we become; the kind of individual we become; while we do our daily duties. Our daily tasks must be to bring out our distinctive selfhood.

— Felix Adler

Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.

— Frank Clark

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Laughing made us invincible.
Not like those who always win,
but like those who do not give up.

— Frida Kahlo

Success has always been a great liar.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.

— G. K. Chesterton

Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.

— George Bernard Shaw

It is never too late to be who you might have been.

— George Eliot

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.

— George Matthew Adams

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because some day in life you will have been all of these.

— George Washington Carver

Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.

— Gore Vidal

Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere. Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world — making the most of one’s best.

— Harry Emerson Fosdick

My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.

— Helen Hayes

I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

— Henry David Thoreau

Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is success.

— Henry Ford
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