Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations

Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Success


4 rules of success - show up, pay attention, ask questions, don't quit


needs 3 bones: wishbone, backbone, funnybone

No pressure, no diamonds

"I never lose. I either win or I learn."(Nelson Mandela)

Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo


Only place you find success before work is in the dictionary

Real Success or What People Think Of You

There are two kinds of people in life, according to Warren Buffett: those who care what people think of them, and those who care how good they really are. Which are you? "The big question about how people behave is whether they've got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard. I always look at it this way. I say, 'Lookit. Would you rather be the world's greatest lover, but have everyone think you're the world's worst lover? Or would you rather be the world's worst lover but have everyone think you're the world's greatest lover?' Now, that's an interesting question."

Persistence Basis Of Success

Tenacity is single characteristic that predicts success - IQ no correl - creativity and luck come into it, but GRIT the impt one - and importantly, prob more than any other talent, grit can be cultivated

T. Boone Pickens

could choose to hang up his hat and bask in the spoils of being one of the most profitable oil men in U.S. history. But get to know T. Boone and you'll discover he has no interest in slowing down. Here are five ways you can follow Mr. Pickens' entrepreneurial mindset - even if your bottom line doesn't include drilling for 'Texas Tea.'

1. Take a Long View. "To make the big money, I've found it's best to take a long-term view, stay focused and not get spooked by the temporary fluctuations in the market. When I have the odds in my favor, I put my money up and keep it up. If the fundamentals change, I get the hell out of there."

2. Lead by Example. "You don't run over your personnel, but you don't pump them up with false praise, either."

3. Learn From Mistakes. "It's all right to get your fingers crushed in the door, but don't let the same door crush them twice."

4. Make the Call. "Sometimes the window of opportunity is open only briefly. Waiting is not a decision, although many people think it is. Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader. Don't fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire."

5. Balance It Out. "Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure that they are not the same eight hours."

Success Secrets

(Mark Twain) The secret of success is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one

The saying “when one door closes, another opens" is an Alexander Graham Bell quote which he then followed by saying "but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

Willpower and Success

If you really want to do something you will; if you don't, you'll find excuses


Gail Burden invented condensed milk (after 2 of his kids died on an Atlantic crossing from drinking contaminated milk). His gravestone carried the words: "I tried and failed. I tried again and again and succeeded."

Success Happiness Experience

Success is when you get what you want. Happiness is when you want what you get. (And experience is what you get when you don't get what you want)

Success Happiness Experience

(Donald Sutherland talking about)the Russian-American poet Joseph Brodsky, who once warned a class of graduating students: “Try to stay passionate, and leave your cool to the constellations. Passion, alone, is a remedy against boredom.”

How To Succeed

If there's something big you need to get done, tell all your friends that you're going to do it. The fear of looking stupid keeps you motivated.


Winners are like teabags - you never see their strength until they're in hot water


You can only have 2 things in life - reasons or results. Reasons don't count.


You aren't judged by the number of times you fail; you're judged by the number of times you succeed. And the number of times you succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times you fail and keep trying.


It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up

Success and Failure

(Henry Ford) "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently"


If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it


If you don't demand something out of the ordinary, you won't get anything but ordinary results


The difficulties of life are meant to make us better, not bitter

Efficiency and Effectiveness

(Peter Drucker) There is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness - efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right thing


Article in Fortune magazine a guy rated as one of the best in his particular field said "You know there's a real disappointment (at getting to the top)...When I was younger I looked up at the top of the mountain and thought 'Wow those guys are really smart' Now I'm near the top looking down I think 'Boy if nobody's smarter than I am, we're in a lot of trouble."


You either have to be first best or different

Old army motto: the easy way is always mined.


One of the great surprises is that a man can alter his life by altering his attitude

Do you want sympathy or results?

Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you results


Only the mediocre are at their best all the time

Life Is An Obstacle Course

Life is one long obstacle course, with you as the main obstacle


The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits

Old Age Quality

The older I get the better I was


The worst part of being a success is finding someone who is pleased for you

How to succeed, according to Seth Godin

You don't need all of these, and some are mutually exclusive (while others are not). And most don't work, don't scale or can't be arranged:

Be very focused on your goal and work on it daily
Go to college with someone who makes it big and then hires you
Be born with significant and unique talent
Practice every day
Network your way to the top by inviting yourself from one lunch to another, trading favors as you go
Quietly do your job day in and day out until someone notices you and gives you the promotion you deserve
Do the emotional labor of working on things that others fear
Notice things, turn them into insights and then relentlessly turn those insights into projects that resonate
Hire a great PR firm and get a lot of publicity
Work the informational interview angle
Perform outrageous acts and say obnoxious things
Redefine your version of success as: whatever I have right now
Flit from project to project until you alight on something that works out very quickly and well
Be the best-looking person in the room
Tell stories that people care about and spread
Contribute more than is expected
Give credit to others
Take responsibility
Aggrandize, preferably self
Be a jerk and win through intimidation
Be a doormat and refuse to speak up or stand up
Never hesitate to share a kind word when it's deserved
Sue people
Treat every gig as an opportunity to create art
Cut corners
Focus on defeating the competition
When dealing with employees, act like Steve. It worked for him, apparently.
Persist, always surviving to ship something tomorrow
When in doubt, throw a tantrum
Have the ability to work harder and more directly than anyone else when the situation demands it
Don't rock the boat
Rock the boat
Don't rock the boat, baby
Resort to black hat tactics to get more than your share
Work to pay more taxes
Work to evade taxes
Find typos

Book Extracts on Success