What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? What inspires you? Gets you moving and out the door to take on the day? If you’re looking for a little lift or some wise words to get you going, listen to what some of humanity’s finest folks have to say about life, work, and success.

 

  • “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” — Admiral William H. McRaven

This turn of phrase was made famous by U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McRaven in his inspirational commencement speech to the Class of 2014 at the University of Texas. In SEAL training, he learned to start his day with a task completed. He said the simple act of making his bed instilled virtues like discipline, fortitude, and consistency, which he carried with him into his life and work every day. In his speech, he also mentions a few other tips for folks who are looking to change the world.

 

 

 

  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky

This quote from Wayne Gretzky reminds us to wake up every day ready to strive for our dreams. Gretzky, a Canadian professional hockey player, played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). He’s been called the greatest hockey player ever by the sports world and is known for being the leading scorer in NHL history. It’s safe to say he might know a thing or two about taking shots. Gretzky made his career on taking calculated risks, aiming for the goal (literally), and not being afraid to miss, but instead, focusing on winning a point. We could all take a page out of Gretzky’s book.

 

  • “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” — Woody Allen

This is true for almost everything in life. Whether it’s keeping to a gym schedule or simply arriving on time to work, showing up in both mind and body is the first step to getting where you want to go. Woody Allen is known to have said this to Marshall Brickman, his co-writer for the 1977 movie, Annie Hall. Brickman quoted Allen in an interview, stating that sometimes it’s easier to hide at home in bed. But as Allen says, just buckling down and being present is more than half the battle.

 

  • “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

Henry Ford was a wealth of knowledge and inspirational quotes, but this one sticks out. Simply put, most challenges in life come down to mind over matter. If you believe you can do it, there’s a much higher chance of success than if you doubt yourself. The founder of the Ford Motor Company believed he could develop and manufacture the first affordable motor vehicle — and he did. He had a global vision for lowering costs of products for middle-class Americans, and he saw his dream come to fruition. Following his advice, you could, too.

 

 

  • “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” — Aristotle

Aristotle is one of the most famous and well-known Greek philosophers. His wise words remind us not to fear criticism in our daily work as we pursue fulfillment and meaning. Criticism can be hard to swallow sometimes, especially if it’s negative or directed at a personal achievement or effort. But these words also remind us not to fear failure. We can grow from failure and negative criticism, and we can grow from positive, helpful criticism. If the actions we take and the work we do create a dialogue, then we’re on a constructive path.