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Interviews with Inspired Lives

JUNE 04, 2021

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One of your most important features is your individuality. Your goals and aspirations of self-improvement are what define you and are, by definition, yours alone.

This is not to say, however, that we cannot also take inspiration from the achievements of others. In the following article, you will find links to (and key quotes from) a small selection of inspirational interviews with some well-known personalities, all of whom share vital qualities: a lack of fear, a willingness to take risks and, above all, an irrepressible, unstoppable determination to succeed.

MAYA ANGELOU

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As well as being a gifted poet and author, Maya Angelou was one of the most famous activists of the American Civil Rights Movement. Perhaps best-known for ‘Still I Rise’ – a classic poem of defiance and persistence – Angelou was an inspiration to millions up until her death in 2014, and will continue to be for future generations.

You can find links to key moments from some interviews with her below, as well as to the full 15-minute video.

KEY QUOTES

“Bitterness is like cancer – it eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure.”

“If you don’t like a situation, you try to change it. Do whatever you can to change it. And if everything you do falls flat and you can’t change it, then change the way you think about it. Move to another position to look at it. In doing so, you may find a new way to change it.”

“Without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

JACK MA

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One of the wealthiest people in the world, Jack Ma is the founder and chairman of Alibaba Group, a wildly successful multinational eCommerce conglomerate. What particularly stands out in interviews with Ma is his socially responsible approach to business and entrepreneurship.

The below quotes all come from the same interview, which you can also view below.

KEY QUOTES

“A lot of business schools teach skills on how to make money, how to run businesses. I want to tell people that if you want to run a business, you have to run the values first. To serve others, to help others – that’s the key.”

“If you want to be a great company, think about what social problem you can solve.”

“This century has given young people the opportunity to change the world, to improve the world. And we have to. There is no excuse to say we cannot do it, we have to.”

WILL SMITH

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Hollywood star Will Smith has enjoyed a glittering career in acting and music for around 25 years and has always credited his success to an immense work ethic and an ability to spend countless hours honing his skills.

Smith openly admits that his dedication to developing these skills is what has made him more successful than others who may have been born with a greater degree of ‘talent’.

KEY QUOTEE

“The first step, before anyone else in the world believes it, is that you have to believe it.”

“You don’t set out to build a wall. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid’. You do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.”

“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, godlike feature that only the special among us will ever taste. It’s something that truly exists in all of us.”

Image Credit
Sam McGhee, Talbot Troy, JD Lasica, Gage Skidmore

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