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Success Advice

7 Successful People and Their Time-Tested Secrets to Success



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Have you ever wondered how successful people get to where they are in life? It looks so easy and effortless for them to have a good time, make friends, and influence people. We see the glory, the splendid mansions, the adoring public, the wealthy lifestyle, and the endearing media coverage. However, many don’t see the long arduous journeys they have taken. The pains, the tears, the struggles, and the desperation that some of them have crawled out of.

Their unsung stories are an inspiring trial of enlightenment for the diligent seekers of success. 

Let’s glimpse the nuggets of wisdom from 7 life-changing successful people stories:

1. Colonel Sanders — Never Too Late to Start

Colonel Sanders is well known as the icon and founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Colonel Sanders sold the company in 1964 for $2 million and semi-retired at the age of 74 years old. Most people would be unfazed with such a track record without knowing how he got started.

Would you believe that Colonel Sanders only started pitching his secret chicken recipe to restaurants at the age of 66, and with only $105 from his social security? Everyone thought he was senile, but our Colonel bravely charged into the battlefield of business and prevailed. Colonel Sanders was a great example that success is not dependent on how young you start or how much money you have to begin with. His inspirational quote:

“I was sixty-six years old. I still had to make a living. I looked at my social security check of 105 dollars and decided to use that to try to franchise my chicken recipe. Folks had always liked my chicken.” 

2. Vincent Van Gogh — Love Your Work

Did you know that the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh only sold ONE painting to a close friend during his lifetime? That was not because of the lack of paintings. He painted well over 800 pieces of work during his lifetime.

Vincent Van Gogh was considered an epic failure while he was alive. He was tormented with years of mental illness, depression and poverty. What kept him going was his deep love of nature and the firm belief of the power behind the beauty of nature. This elixir of love he poured into his work resulted in internationally acclaimed pieces of art with price tags running into millions of dollars, albeit posthumously.

He unveiled his secret of producing the masterpieces with this motivational quote:

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”

3. Warren Buffett — Mind Sponge for Knowledge

Warren Buffett has been a legend in the investment world, with uncanny eyes for deals that made him a multi-billionaire. There are tons of written stories about Warren Buffett’s investment prowess and how he made killings with his investment strategies. When asked about his secret to success, Warren’s humble reply was that “I just feel very, very lucky” and that he just “won the ovarian lottery.”

The hidden gem to Warren Buffett’s success is that  he loves to read. He admitted to amassing a great wealth of knowledge through reading every day. But he brushed it aside as an unfair advantage by saying “Everybody can read what I read, it is a level playing field.”

However, have you come across a wildly successful person who can say this:

“I just sit in my office and read all day”

4. Colin Powell — Secret to Decisiveness

Colin Powell was a successful soldier, diplomat and statesperson. He has an illustrious military career, climbing to the highest rank of a 4-star general by the age of 52. He served under George W. Bush as the Secretary of State and became America’s top Diplomat. That was an awe-inspiring feat for an African American to achieve as no others have come even close.

His authoritative decisiveness was his trademark. His covert weapon of success was his 40/70 rule:

“If you can apply the 40/70 rule, you’ll be successful at whatever you choose to do…..You only need 40% to 70% of the information to make a decision.”

5. Bill Gates — Don’t Focus on The Money

Bill Gates has been one of the world’s top billionaires, with a net worth of about $100b. Yet he has openly admitted that he does not like to spend a lot of money on clothes and jewelry. He walks the talk by wearing a $10 watch and flying economy for all official purposes. He even washed the dishes at home every night for his family rather than waste electricity on the dishwasher!

Bill Gates understood meaningful freedom that came with desiring millions of dollars. However, he shared that “once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger.” For Bill Gates, his compelling secret was not to be obsessed with money:

“Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point.”

6. Thomas Edison — Failure? Not in My Dictionary

Thomas Edison did not stand out for his intelligence, as his teachers belittled him as ‘too stupid to learn anything.’ Yet later in life, Thomas Edison became famous for his many inventions, with more than 1000 patents under his belt. Among his countless inventions, he was particularly famous for his relentless research on the construction of the electric light bulb.

When asked why he failed more than 10,000 times, his mind-blowing answer became engraved in history as the epitome of embracing failure:

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

7. Jesus Christ — Service Above Self

The Holy Bible is effectively a widely read biography of Jesus Christ. Jesus started his ministry with 12 disciples, named the apostles. The Christian movement has since grown to about 2.3 billion people worldwide in 2020 or about 29% of the world’s population.

A noteworthy event was when his disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest amongst them. Jesus grilled into them that the heavenly key to greatness was to serve the interest of others above self. If you observe the character of many successful people, they held true to the key principle as expounded by Jesus when he said:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

What Successful People Do: 7 Keys To Your Successful Future

You want to succeed in life. You want to conquer your fears. You want to know what drives successful people to get ahead in life.

The traits of highly successful people have been unveiled for you. You now know that to be extraordinarily successful you need to: 

  • NEVER use age or lack of money as an excuse
  • Love what you are doing
  • Cultivate Lifelong Learning
  • Be decisive using the 40/70 rule
  • NEVER make money be the end-goal in life
  • Embrace failure
  • Service Above Self

The time-tested secrets of successful people have been uncloaked for you. Start to unlock your limitless potential for success today.

In your opinion, who is the most successful person you know and why? Share your thoughts with us below!

Phillip Tan is a certified content marketer with SEO knowledge who help you captivate your readers from headline to your desired Call-to-Action (“CTA”). He has 30+ years of management and entrepreneur experience. Apart from spearheading start-ups, he has taken a passion for coaching and guest blogging on management and business-related topics. If you like inspirational quotes in the article above, check out a compilation of 15 Inspirational Quotes From Insanely Successful People, prepared for your easy reference and motivational boosts.

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