TIME advice

16 Quotes From Successful People About Self-Improvement

Including Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates

All you want in life is one little thing—and that’s to reach all your goals. Well, here’s the secret to doing that: You need to work hard to improve yourself every single day, both professionally and personally. After all, that’s how successful people do it. And if you want to get on their level, you’re going to have to do the same.

Now, before you break out in a sweat trying to figure out how exactly to do that, we’ve made it easy for you by compiling 16 quotes straight from the mouths of some of the most accomplished people you know, love, and admire.

 

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey at the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, 2015.
    Dan MacMedan—WireImage/Getty Images Oprah Winfrey at the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 22, 2015.

    I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.

  • Sheryl Sandberg

    Sheryl Sandberg after hosting a 'Lean In Circle' with female members of the military at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. on Sept. 21, 2015.
    Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Sheryl Sandberg after hosting a 'Lean In Circle' with female members of the military at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. on Sept. 21, 2015.

    We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents, and interests.

     

  • Angelina Jolie

    Angelina Jolie at a press conference in Mardin, Turkey on June 20, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images Angelina Jolie at a press conference in Mardin, Turkey on June 20, 2015.

    Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.

     

  • Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou at her 82nd birthday with friends and family in Winston-Salem, N.C. on May 20, 2010.
    Steve Exum—Getty Images Maya Angelou at her 82nd birthday with friends and family in Winston-Salem, N.C. on May 20, 2010.

    If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

  • Bill Gates

    Bill Gates at the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting in New York City on Sept. 27, 2015.
    J. Countess—WireImage/Getty Images Bill Gates at the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting in New York City on Sept. 27, 2015.

    We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.

  • Lori Greiner

    Lori Greiner at the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 12, 2015.
    Jeffrey Mayer—WireImage/Getty Images Lori Greiner at the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 12, 2015.

    When I had challenges, it taught me to be more on top of it for the future. Things go wrong all the time when you’re running your own business, but it’s how you perceive it and deal with it that matters.

  • Mark Cuban

    Mark Cuban at the "Woman In Gold" New York premiere on March 30, 2015.
    Andrew Toth—FilmMagic/Getty Images Mark Cuban at the "Woman In Gold" New York premiere on March 30, 2015.

    It’s not about money or connections—it’s the willingness to out work and outlearn everyone…And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.

  • Barbara Corcoran

    Barbara Corcoran at the Martha Stewart American Made Summit in New York City on Nov. 8, 2014.
    Andrew Toth—Getty Images for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Barbara Corcoran at the Martha Stewart American Made Summit in New York City on Nov. 8, 2014.

    Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.

  • Marissa Mayer

    Marissa Mayer at the Yahoo! Inc. Mobile Developer Conference in San Francisco on Feb. 19, 2015.
    David Paul Morris—Bloomberg Marissa Mayer at the Yahoo! Inc. Mobile Developer Conference in San Francisco on Feb. 19, 2015.

    I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.

  • Arianna Huffington

    Arianna Huffington at Unique Lives event in Toronto on June 1, 2015.
    George Pimentel—Getty Images for Pandora Jewelry Arianna Huffington at Unique Lives event in Toronto on June 1, 2015.

    We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes–understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.

  • Diane Sawyer

    Diane Sawyer at The Opening Night of "The Real Thing" in New York City on Oct. 30, 2014.
    Bruce Glikas—FilmMagic/Getty Images Diane Sawyer at The Opening Night of "The Real Thing" in New York City on Oct. 30, 2014.

    Follow what you are genuinely passionate about and let that guide you to your destination.

     

  • Michelle Obama

    First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama at the "Let Girls Learn" Global Conversation in New York City on Sept. 29, 2015.
    Monica Schipper—FilmMagic/Getty Images First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama at the "Let Girls Learn" Global Conversation in New York City on Sept. 29, 2015.

    We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.

  • Mary Kay Ash

    Mary Kay Ash in Toronto.
    Graham Bezant—Toronto Star via Getty Images Mary Kay Ash in Toronto.

    Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.

  • Melinda Gates

    Melinda Gates at the AOL BUILD Speaker Series In New York City on March 10, 2015.
    J. Countess—Getty Images Melinda Gates at the AOL BUILD Speaker Series In New York City on March 10, 2015.

    Sometimes it’s the people you can’t help who inspire you the most.

     

  • Barbara Walters

    Barbara Walters at TIME 100 Gala in New York City on April 21, 2015.
    Gary Gershoff—WireImage/Getty Images Barbara Walters at TIME 100 Gala in New York City on April 21, 2015.

    Work harder than everybody. You’re not going to get it by whining, and you’re not going to get it by shouting, and you’re not going to get it by quitting. You’re going to get it by being there.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt

    Former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in Baltimore, circa 1960.
    Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images Former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in Baltimore, circa 1960.

    You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

     

    This article originally appeared on The Muse

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