Successful people usually don't get where they are by adhering to the ordinary. But I've got news for you. They're not always dripping with confidence all the time. They all have moments where the anxiety of a mistake sits deep in their stomachs or they don't know for sure what the right decision is. And in those moments, they almost always reflect on what others have said. And by focusing on the truths and broader perspectives embedded in those words, they rebuild their courage. If you're feeling at all mouse-ish, do the same.

  1. "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" -Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. "If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can't hear them anymore." -Michele Ruiz
  3. "My mother always taught us that, if people don't agree with you, the important thing is to listen to them. But if you've listened to them carefully and you still think that you're right, then you must have the courage of your convictions." -Jane Goodall
  4. "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore." -William Faulkner
  5. "A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want." -Madonna
  6. "The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage." -Thucydides
  7. "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." -Mark Twain
  8. "If you are committed to creating value and if you aren't afraid of hard times, obstacles become utterly unimportant. A nuisance, perhaps, but with no real power. The world respects creation; people will get out of your way." -Candice Carpenter
  9. "You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both." -Brené Brown
  10. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one's fear." -Ambrose Redmoon​
  11. "Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better." -Harry S. Truman
  12. "Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened." -Billy Graham
  13. "It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things." -Theodore Roosevelt
  14. "See things in the present, even if they are in the future." -Larry Ellison
  15. "You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." -Oprah Winfrey
  16. "If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. And, if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
  17. "The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere." -Barack Obama
  18. "The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins, either. Conditions are never perfect. 'Someday' is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it 'eventually,' just do it and correct course along the way." -Tim Ferriss​
  19. "Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one's better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act." -Maxwell Maltz​
  20. "Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage to which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." -Orison Swett Marden​
  21. "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." -Coco Chanel
  22. "Tough times never last, but tough people do." -Robert H. Schuller​
  23. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." -Thomas Edison
  24. "One man with courage is a majority." -Thomas Jefferson
  25. "The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." -Elbert Hubbard
  26. "What you have outside you counts less than what you have inside you." -B.C. Forbes
  27. "When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take--choose the bolder." -W.J. Slim
  28. "Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." -Earl Nightingale
  29. "To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around." -Richie Norton
  30. "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." -John D. Rockefeller
  31. "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." -Warren Buffett
  32. "Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." -Peter Drucker​
  33. "Don't set your goals by what other people deem important." -Jaachynma N.E. Agu
  34. "Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." -Michael Jordan
  35. "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." -William G.T. Shedd​
  36. "When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realize that these resources are always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives." -A.P.J. Abdul Kalam​
  37. "I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying." -Jeff Bezos​
  38. "You shouldn't focus on why you can't do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions." -Steve Case
  39. "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." -Dale Carnegie
  40. "When I'm old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say, 'Wow, that was an adventure,' not 'Wow, I sure felt safe.'" -Tom Preston-Werner
  41. "Success means having the courage, the determination and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be." -George A. Sheehan
  42. "The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow." -Jim Hightower
  43. "If you can dream it, you can do it." -Walt Disney
  44. "Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they don't quit." -Conrad Hilton
  45. "I don't look to jump over 7-foot bars. I look for 1-foot bars that I can step over." -Warren Buffett
  46. "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." -Mark Twain
  47. "You are to set your own value, communicate that value to the world, and then not settle for less. Sound daunting? That's just because it takes you out of your comfort zone. You have got to stop being an obstacle in your own path to wealth and security and happiness. You must understand that valuing yourself is well within your control." -Suze Orman​
  48. "It's not about getting out of your comfort zone to reach your goal. It's about widening your comfort zone so far that your goal fits comfortably inside. Once you do that, hitting your goals will be like hitting 3s for Steph Curry." -Richie Norton
  49. "Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." -Steve Jobs
  50. "Don't be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities and don't let the bastards get you down." -Michael Bloomberg
  51. "Screw it, let's just do it." -Richard Branson

Published on: Apr 5, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.