Book: Getting There

Getting There“Getting There” by Gillian Zoe Segal

This is a book of a collection of personal life stories of various successful people across different professions. Everyone in the book encountered some form of challenges and setbacks, which can be inspirational. Here are my notes:

  • “Take the classes, the friends, and the family that have inspired the most in you. Save them in your permanent memory and make a backup disk. When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are. If you remember who you are, you can do anything.”
  • “Kathy Ireland succinctly puts it, ‘If you never fail, it means you are not trying hard enough.'”
  • “One of the best things you can do in life is to surround yourself with people who are better than you are.”
  • “And make sure you follow your passion—whatever turns you on. You want to be excited when you get out of bed in the morning.”
  • “When someone rejects your work, register the fact that they don’t like it, but don’t listen to the reason why. People feel that they have to say something, and they often give a capricious justification to keep from hurting your feelings. For example, someone might say, ‘I don’t like your movie because it’s in black-and-white.’ You think, Damn it. If I had made it in color, I could’ve sold it. That’s probably not true.”
  • “A great idea is worthless; execution is everything.”
  • “That’s how you quit smoking. You don’t have to stop for the rest of your life, just stop for five minutes. Five minutes from now you probably won’t want a cigarette. If you do, force yourself to stop for another five. Eventually, one of these fives will end in not wanting a cigarette. And then one day you’ll think, I’ve come so far and I don’t want go back.”
  • “His attitude taught me to define failure as not trying something I want to do instead of not achieving the right outcome.”
  • “Edison said, ‘Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.'”
    See: How to Be a No-Limit Person
  • “I rarely ask people for advice or permission when I’m planning on doing something I feel strongly about. That only opens the plan up to be crapped on.”
  • “First, figure out what gets your adrenaline going. Next, figure out a way to make a career out of your passion. And finally, outwork everyone around you. (Come in earlier, leave later, and volunteer for everything that others don’t want to do. Don’t wait to be asked to do something. Take it upon yourself and do it.)”
  • “Success unshared is failure. If you’ve “made it” and don’t help others out along the way—if you don’t do something to make the planet a better place—you’re not successful at all; you are a failure. But remember that you can’t help everybody out. You have to focus and contribute in ways that you think are most beneficial.”
  • “you can gain a lot by looking at a person and thinking, If I had that problem, I wouldn’t do it that way.”
    Gloria Steinem said it best: “Whatever it is that you want to do, just do it.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, don’t be afraid of trying something new, and don’t be afraid of failure. Fear of failure often paralyzes people and prevents them from succeeding.”
  • “It’s essential to surround yourself with the right people. When it comes to core values, such as integrity and tenacity, being on the same page is important, but don’t be afraid of working with people who take an approach that is different from yours. Diversity allows you to complement and learn from each other.”
  • “El Greco took a hundred years to be recognized as an artist and his work is sublime. If you don’t sell anything, it doesn’t mean that you are not a good artist. Okay, it could be that you produce bad art—but sometimes it’s because your work is ahead of society. I think that a good work of art has many lives.”
  • “If you draw with your right hand and become so skilled that you can even close your eyes and make any kind of drawing, immediately change to the left. Repetition will kill you.”
  • “Life is temporary. Make every day meaningful and don’t spend time on bullshit.”
  • “I tell everyone who is charting new territory or pursuing big ideas that the best way to think about getting support is to view it as a search for allies. You don’t need everyone; you only need a few people who really believe in you and your ideas. So don’t worry about all the nos. Stay positive and keep up the pursuit for those few yeses.”
  • “I believe that poverty is created by society and is not a reflection on the poor themselves. There is nothing wrong with them. They are not destitute and illiterate because they are stupid or lazy—they were just born into a life where there was no formal financial structure available to help them succeed.”
  • “I began to call these types of ventures ‘social businesses.’ The money used to create them is paid back to the investor, but all profit after that is put back into the company. Instead of measuring success by how much money is made, the success of social businesses is measured by how much of a positive social impact is made.”
  • “When you go through dark moments in life, it is important to remain optimistic. There is usually a way to make something positive out of a negative experience.”
  • “We were injecting our animals with hormones and antibiotics, spraying our fields and produce with toxic pesticides, and using chemical fertilizers, all with no real knowledge of what would happen to kids who grew up on a diet containing these things.”
  • “Don’t compromise on the qualities that make your business unique. It’s often tempting to do so because what makes you unique is frequently also costly—but the moment you’re competing only on price, you’ve lost control of your venture.”
  • “Men don’t ask their boss’s permission; they assume they are entitled. My advice also extends to finding a life partner. You can passively hope that cupid shoots his arrow at you or you can be proactive.”
  • “Your worst qualities can also be your best, so try to utilize them in a positive way.”
  • “If you don’t really know what you want to do, work for high-quality successful people in different fields. If you know what you want to do, take a variety of jobs within that field.”
  • “Treat your employees with respect, and they will remain an asset. Treat them as expendable, and you will have difficulty holding your team together.”
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