Ever wonder how Tony Robbins got to be Tony Robbins? Yes, he's inspiring, energetic, larger than life, and works  unbelievably hard. But how did he get his start? How did he first discover he could have a career speaking to audiences of thousands? It turns out he had an older entrepreneur and motivational speaker as a mentor.

Robbins attributes the beginning of his career to meeting the late Jim Rohn. "He got me to realize that the secret to life was to work harder on myself than my job or anything else because then I'd have something to give people," Robbins said soon after Rohn passed away in 2009. 

When the two met, Rohn inspired Robbins to attend his first seminar, which Rohn described this way: "This man who has incredible life experience tells you the best insights he has and saves you a decade or two." Later Robbins worked for Rohn, promoting his mentor's seminars before striking out on his own.

Rohn himself came from humble beginnings. He grew up on an Idaho farm and dropped out of college at 19--unfortunately, he said--because he figured he was smart enough to get a job, and how much smarter did he need to be? After struggling for a few years, he himself was inspired by the motivational speaker John Earl Shoaff, and Rohn wound up a vice president at the direct sales supplement company NutriBio, which Shoaff co-founded. After moving to Beverly Hills, Rohn was invited to give a speech in 1960 at a local Rotary Club, which started his motivational speaking career. In time, Rohn would give speeches and seminars in front of more than 6,000 audiences.

Rohn's teachings also influenced other high-profile motivational figures, including Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, co-creators of the Chicken Soup book series. Here are some of his most memorable quotes:

1. If you don't design your  own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.

2. Either you run the day or the day runs you.

3. Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

4.  Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.

5. Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.

6. If you go to work on your  goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.

7. The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy.

8. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can  change your direction overnight.

9. Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your  attention.

10. The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized--never knowing.

11. If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.

12. If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree.

13. To solve any problem, here are three questions to ask yourself: First, what could I do? Second, what could I read? And third, whom could I ask?

14. The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.

15. Maturity is the ability to reap without apology and not complain when things don't go well.

16. Character isn't something you were born with and can't change, like your fingerprints. It's something you weren't born with and must take responsibility for forming.

17. It doesn't matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making  decisions.

18. Things that I felt absolutely sure of but a few years ago, I do not believe now. This thought makes me see more clearly how foolish it would be to expect all men to agree with me.

19. The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.

20. Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don't go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won't laugh at you.

21. Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you.