Career advice from some of the most successful people on the planet

29 Oct 2021
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Success is measured differently by each and every one of us. To some it may be getting a good grade in a piece of work, while to others it might be launching a business or raising a family.

However you define success right now or in the near future, there are lessons to be learned from people who have gone before. To help you along your way, we’ve pulled together useful advice from some of the most successful and well known people on the planet.

Richard Branson - Founder of the Virgin Group

'I'm often flabbergasted by the amount of time some people waste dwelling on their past failures, rather than directing that energy into new projects. My mother always taught me never to look back in regret, but to immediately move on to the next thing.'


J.K. Rowling - Author of the Harry Potter series

'It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.'


Eric Schmidt - Former CEO and executive chairman of Google

'Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means that you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well.

'Yes lets you stand out in a crowd, to be the optimist, to stay positive, to be the one everyone comes to for help, for advice, or just for fun. Yes is what keeps us all young. Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.'

Maya Angelou - Poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

'If the world puts you on a road you do not like, if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to you place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a new path.'


Bear Grylls - Adventurer and TV presenter

'Don’t shy away from the hard times. Tackle them head-on, move toward the path less trodden, riddled with obstacles, because most other people run at the first sign of battle. The storms give us a chance to define ourselves, to distinguish ourselves, and we always emerge from them stronger. The other key is to be kind along the way. Kindness matters so much on that journey of endeavor. It is what separates the good from great.'


Michelle Obama - Author, lawyer and former First Lady

'We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.'

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Staff writer at The Common Room