Article: Motivational Words to the Career Wise (credit Harvey Mackay)

It has always been my goal … not just to give business and life advice, but also to make it easy to remember and put into practice. That’s why I end my columns with “Mackay’s Moral,” which readers frequently tell me is the best part. Here are some of my favorites from the last three years:

* Without the right sales skills, something terrible happens … nothing.
* They used to say what you see is what you get. In truth, what you think is what you get.
* If you reach for the stars, at least you’ll get off the ground.
* If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
* Often the smartest thing you can do in a negotiation is keep your mouth shut.
* Going the extra yard always leads to crossing the goal line.
* If you don’t look ahead, you’ll always be behind.
* The best job is one you’d do even if you didn’t need the money.
* The “Breakfast of Champions” is not cereal, it’s competition.
* Failure is not falling down, but staying down.
* A sales person tells, a good sales person explains, and a great sales person demonstrates.
* There are really no mistakes in life — there are only lessons.
* They can’t hire you if they don’t know who you are.
* Dig your wells before you’re thirsty, and build your bridges before you’re left high-and-dry.
* Competition is a lot like cod liver oil. First it makes you sick. Then it makes you better.
* You won’t stumble if you put your best foot forward.
* Effort is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite.
* There are two kinds of people in the world: those who come into a room and say, “Here I am!” and those who come in and say, “Ah, there you are!”
* One thing you can give and still keep is your word.
* The bigger the wheel you are, the more traction you can get — and give.
* Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.
* For those with vision, the high road affords more than just better views.
* You must have a sense of what your time is worth for others to value it.
* Even if you’re not interviewing for a sales job, your interview must be a great sales job.
* A student of life always does the homework.
* There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.
* Information does not become power until it is used.
* The will to succeed is preceded by the will to prepare.
* Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
* Great entrepreneurs know the score: “Do-it-yourself” never means “do-it-alone.”
* If you can’t win, make the person ahead of you break the record.
* What sets you apart is what gets you ahead.
* If you want your words to work for you, work for your words.
* There are lots of ways to be a failure, but never taking a chance is the most successful.
* It’s not about what you can do; it’s about what you will do.
* Enforce the Golden Rule, or your business will be tarnished.
* You’ll never make a killing at the table if you don’t even insist on a seat.
* When you volunteer, you always earn back more than you pay in.
* Plenty of people are willing to beat you; don’t beat yourself.
* Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.
* If you can’t please everyone, please someone.
* A foot in the door is worth two on the desk.
* Cream doesn’t rise to the top — it works its way up.
* You aren’t finished when you are defeated; you are finished when you quit.

If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it is the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts. Mackay’s Moral: Ambrose Bierce defines aphorisms as “predigested wisdom.” Bon appetit. Harvey Mackay is author of the New York Times best seller Pushing the Envelope (Random House, 2000). He can be reached through his website at

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