6 Things Successful People Always Say

successful people

While the necessary skills for success are hard work, persistence and determination, making sure you stay in the right frame of mind is also important. Cultivating mental strength is essential to being able to endure and persist even through tough circumstances. The following affirmations and advice are from some of the most successful people — and helped them on their own road to success.

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1. Never Give Up

Clayton Anderson is a good example of a person who has lived by embodying the phrase “never give up.” Anderson had a successful 15-year career as a U.S. astronaut. In 2007, during his five months spent on the International Space Station, he performed three spacewalks. But his path to becoming an astronaut was far from easy. Anderson said that he applied to NASA 15 times and was rejected each time until he sent in his 15th application. “Kicked to the curb 14 of those 15 years,” he said. “I was finally selected in 1998. I felt like the epitome of “never give up, never surrender.”

Perhaps the most famous person to use a phrase similar to this was Winston Churchill, prime minister of Great Britain during World War II. In a speech to the House of Commons in 1940, Churchill said, “We shall go on to the end … whatever the cost may be … we shall never surrender.”

Too often, it’s easy to give up and let obstacles or rejections prevent you from achieving your dreams. The first step is to not allow rejection to damage your confidence and your self-worth. If you are able to emulate successful people like Anderson, repeated rejections will not stop you from reaching for your goals.

2. Learn How to Say No

Learning to say no and also saying no the right way is an essential skill to success, according to Carla Harris, vice chairman of wealth management and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. Doing so allows you to focus on what really matters and to cut out non-essential potential drains on your time.

Successful billionaire investor Warren Buffett agrees with this idea. “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything,” he has said.

Often, people hesitate to say no, especially when the request comes from a superior in a professional environment. If you want to please people, you might fear offending the person or missing an opportunity. But being able to say no is about honoring who you are and being realistic about your availability. You want to learn to say no decisively and confidently when the alternative would mean getting drawn into something that diminishes your productivity and drains your mental health.

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3. You’ve Got to Listen

The ability to listen actively is one of the skills successful people cultivate. In being able to listen, you don’t jump to conclusions and you can better devise strategies to address problems. “Leadership is about getting people to bring all of themselves to the table,” said Ellen J. Kullman, former director of General Motors. This means cultivating the skill to listen to what they have to say when they are at the table. Once you can hear others, you can influence them.

In an interview with Life Magazine in 1949, Ernest Hemingway said, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” This was a belief and theme he expanded on in his 1967 novel “Across The River And Into The Trees.”

Learn to really listen to others. Do twice as much listening as talking and practice listening until it becomes effortless. Listening and truly hearing people is a powerful way of impressing and influencing others.

4. Ask Yourself What You Believe In

One question people should ask more is, “What do you believe?,” according to Oprah and Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM.

Why don’t you ask me what I believe? If you ask me what I believe … I’ll make the right decisions,” Rometty said. Being clear about what she believes and communicating that idea to others has helped her get others to share her passion. It’s not about telling people what to do but about drawing people in to this shared passion.

“Your beliefs really determine what you manifest in your life,” said Oprah. Too often, a person’s focus is outward, such as trying to please others or to choose paths that others will approve of. To be successful and to be able to influence others, you have to start by searching inwards, and the answer to the question “What do I believe?” can help put you on a path from which you can manifest your own success.

5. Don’t Personalize Failure

Humans are wired to experience fear, and, unfortunately, there are many fears that can hinder your success. Fear of failure holds many people back. But where some people see impenetrable barriers and give up, others will see instead obstacles which can be overcome with significant sustained effort.

Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania has studied how successful people approach problems and handle fear. He found that people who achieve success are more likely to believe that their failures are not produced by their personal character deficits but are merely mistakes which can be fixed. Successful people have learned not to personalize failures. They feel fear but are wired to move forward in spite of it. As Mark Twain once said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.”

Mastery of fear is a trait shown again and again by successful people. Steven Pressfield, author of “The War of Art,” wrote that, “Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of [r]esistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.”

Learning how to effectively handle fear is essential to success. Fear is not to be resisted and avoided. Instead, fear is a signal that you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Learning to act in spite of fear — and not take failure personally — is one way you can become successful.

6. Always Push Forward

One of the greatest athletes of all time, Muhammad Ali, embodied success and rose to the pinnacle of his career as a legendary heavyweight boxer. And he lives by the mantra that nothing is impossible.

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it,” said Ali. “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” This statement was later picked up by Adidas in 1974, and the “Impossible is Nothing” slogan became one of the greatest slogans for a sports brand.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and millennial millionaire, also believes in always pushing forward. “Move fast and break things,” he has said. “Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”

So when things are tough — when success seems unlikely — remember that nothing is impossible. Challenge the impossible as Ali and Zuckerberg have. Always push forward, strive to do your best and don’t give up.

Keep Reading: 7 Sentences Successful People Never Say