Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is widely respected for a number of qualities. Knowing how to hire the right people. Making smart expansion decisions. Turning an internal initiative into Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary that does over $17.4 billion in revenue. Patiently building a company that possesses a juggernaut of a flywheel.
Those accomplishments set him apart--yet in some ways he's no different than the rest of us. One example: Bezos likes motivational quotes. In fact, he's displayed one inspirational quote on his refrigerator for a long time:
We would all like to have more fun. To earn respect. To see--and hopefully help bring out--the best in other people. To leave the world a better place.
All are great ways to define success.
And clearly the quote means something to Bezos, both because it's been on his refrigerator for so long...but also because he's willing to talk about it.
Your favorite quote shouldn't just be something you believe. Your favorite quote should be something you live.
That's why the quote that's on my refrigerator is a little different. It comes from Jimmy Spithill, an America's Cup-winning skipper and helmsman.
I'm not particularly smart. I'm not particularly talented. And while I have decent connections, like many people, I find I give vastly more than I receive. (Which is OK, since helping others is the real reward.)
In short, I'm average in all ways.
So I substitute effort for skill. I substitute perseverance for talent. Long ago, I realized the one thing I could do is work harder than everyone else--not necessarily smarter, but definitely harder.
When I think I'm exhausted, when I think I've done all I can...that quote reminds me that there is always a little more left.
In me, and in you: We are all capable of more than we think.
Doing more than I thought I could? That's one of my definitions of success. And is a factor I can always control.
Try it. Find a quote you not only believe...but can live.
And then go live it.