In business, your ability to adapt and change is often what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who are stuck in obscurity.

Some are good at spotting trends, some are good to adapting to them, but a few highly successful entrepreneurs have learned how to become an agent of change, someone who embraces the idea of adaptability and even encourages it as a way to push his or her business forward.

When you become an agent of change, you realize that your own ability to adapt starts with changing your own attitude, the world around you, your employees, and your product.

Here are a few quotes on how to make it happen, taken from well-known change agents. Which quote inspires you the most? Let me know directly by e-mail or in comments.

1. "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." Mother Teresa

2. "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." Albert Einstein

3. "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change." Albert Einstein

4. "We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude." Chuck Swindoll

5. "Our days are a kaleidoscope. Every instant a change takes place. New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort. The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects." Henry Ward Beecher

6. "For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." Steve Jobs

7. "There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place." Washington Irving

8. "Profound and powerful forces are shaking and remaking our world. And the urgent question of our time is whether we can make change our friend and not our enemy." Bill Clinton

9. "Change is the process by which the future invades our lives." Alvin Toffler

10. "In times of change learners inherit the Earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." Eric Hoffer

11. "People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing." John Porter

12. "I have accepted fear as part of life, specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: Turn back." Erica Jong

13. "Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't." Steve Maraboli

14. "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." Apple Inc. motto

15. "We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding on to something that is good for you now may be the very reason why you don't have something better." C. JoyBell C.

16. "You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that OK? Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change." Jim Rohn

17. "My first-grade teacher told me I was the dumbest student she'd ever had. She did me a favor. If she had told me I was very smart, I wouldn't have tried to improve." Ernest Gallo

18. "The people who resist change will be confronted by the growing number of people who see that better ways are available, thanks to technology." Bill Gates

19. "If you want to make enemies, try to change something." Woodrow Wilson

20. "Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better." Sydney J. Harris

21. "It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: It would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg." C. S. Lewis

22. "The key to change is to let go of fear." Rosanne Cash

23. "Change before you have to." Jack Welch

24. "Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up." James Belasco and Ralph Stayer

25. "One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself I could not change others." Nelson Mandela

26. "People don't resist change. They resist being changed!" Peter Senge

27. "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." Harriet Tubman

28. "Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." Unknown

29. "The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow." Rupert Murdoch

30. "Any change, even for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts." Arnold Bennett

31. "If you feel like it's difficult to change, you will probably have a harder time succeeding." Andrea Jung

32. "If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." Mary Engelbreit

33. "A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation." Andrew Grove

34. "He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." Harold Wilson

35. "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

36. "Your success in life isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business." Mark Sanborn

37. "Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn't all bad--not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life--to keep us moving...to keep us growing...to keep us interested. Imagine life without change. It would be static...boring...dull." Dr. Dennis O'Grady

38. "As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." Amy Poehler

Published on: Oct 29, 2014