These days, anyone can set up a company, work mostly for themselves, and eventually reap the benefits of their labours, assuming, that is, that they don’t make (too many) mistakes along the way. So, a little help along that way can often be welcome and appreciated, whether financial, physical or – perhaps most importantly for the independent-minded prospective business-person – mental.
Following, in no particular order, are quotes from leaders of business – founders, owners, chairpersons, CEOs – who have either reached a position that you would eventually like to be in, and are often self-made billionaires, if they did not inherit a fortune, but started virtually from scratch and made their ‘pile’ themselves. With grateful thanks and acknowledgements to these wealthy, wise and generous people who have learned well, collectively over many years, often through their mistakes. Please read and learn well!
Richard Branson (Founder and Chairman, Virgin Group)
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,” 2014.
Ginni Rometty (Chairwoman, President and CEO, IBM)
“Growth and comfort never coexist.” — Northwestern University commencement address, 2015
Evan Spiegel, (CEO, Snapchat)
“You are going to make a lot of mistakes. I’ve already made a ton of them – some of them very publicly – and it will feel terrible, but it will be okay.” — Commencement address to the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, 2015
Jack Ma (Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group)
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” — Interview with Rebecca Fannin, 2006.
Steve Case (Co-founder, AOL)
“A vision without the ability to execute is probably a hallucination.” — Business Week, 2001.
Tim Cook (CEO, Apple Inc.)
“Your values matter. They are your North Star, and work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it’s just a job, and life is too short for that.” — George Washington University commencement address, 2015.
Elon Musk (CEO and CTO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Motors)
“I’d rather play video games, write software, and read books than try and get an A if there’s no point in getting an A.” — “Elon Musk: Inventing the Future” by Ashlee Vance, 2015
Jason Kilar (Founding CEO, Hulu)
“The mountain peaks of one’s life may get the headlines and the Facebook posts, but the valleys… believe me, it is your journey through the valleys that will define you.” — University of North Carolina commencement address, 2015
Warren Buffett (CEO, Berkshire Hathaway)
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
“I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful, and you try to be fearful when others are greedy.” — “Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett” by Andrew Kilpatrick, 2007.
Bill Gates (Co-founder, Microsoft)
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” — “The Road Ahead,” 1995.
Sheryl Sandberg (CEO, Facebook)
“Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.” — “Lean In,” 2013.
Mark Zuckerberg (Co-founder, Facebook)
“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.” — “Mark Zuckerberg: Ten Lessons in Leadership,” 2012.
Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)
“Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” — “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul,” 2007.
Arianna Huffington (Co-founder and editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post)
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” — “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder,” 2014.
Larry Page (Co-founder, Google)
“You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.” — Interview with Business Week Online Technology, 2001.
Narayana Murthy (Co-founder, Infosys)
“Respect, recognition, and reward flow out of performance.” — Entrepreneur of the New Millennium N.R. Narayana Murthy: Life and Times of N.R. Narayana Murthy, 2003.
Henry Ford (Founder, The Ford Motor Company)
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” — Quoted in News Journal, 1965.
Steve Jobs (Co-founder, Apple)
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” — Stanford Commencement address, 2005.
Nelson Mandela (Activist, Politician, President of South Africa, Humanitarian)
“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
Barack Obama (Politician, US President)
“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.”
‘On your death-bed, your life is supposed to pass before your eyes – if that’s right, make sure that it’s worth watching!”