I try to re-read this from time to time, often in times of self-doubt, to get me back on track. I hope it does the same to you.

Enjoy these words of wisdom & share with whoever you think needs them!

Your success depends on you.

Your happiness depends on you.

You have to steer your own course.

You have to shape your own fortune.

You have to educate yourself.

You have to do your own thinking.

You have to live with your own conscience.

Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.

You come into this world alone.

You go to the grave alone.

You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.

You make your own decisions.

You must abide by the consequences of your acts.

You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health.

You alone can assimilate things mental and things material.

You have to do your own assimilation all through life.

You may be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.

You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.

You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.

You alone can move your own legs.

You alone can move your own arms.

You alone can utilize your own hands.

You alone can control your own muscles.

You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.

You must take your own steps.

Your parents cannot enter into your skin, take control of your mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.

You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.

You have to be captain of your own destiny.

You have to see through your own eyes.

You have to use your own ears.

You have to master your own faculties.

You have to solve your own problems.

You have to form your own ideals.

You have to create your own ideas.

You must choose your own speech.

You must govern your own tongue.

Your real life is your thoughts.

Your thoughts are your own making.

Your character is your own handiwork.

You alone can select the materials that go into it.

You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.

You are the creator of your own personality.

You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.

You can be elevated and sustained by no man but yourself.

You have to write your own record.

You have to build your own monument – or dig your own pit.

Which are you doing?

“Keys to Success” by B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine, published in 1917. Found thanks to Josh Kaufman – an admired author of The Personal MBA – a book which kick-started my journey through self-development.

If you know someone who needs some positive boost, feel free to share this with them.

Now tell me, what are YOUR keys to success? Anything missing that you find essential?

Leave a comment now.


#Reflections is my short, quick, more flow-driven post format. My mind. A sheet of (digital) paper. Direct transfer. Here I cover thoughts I have during the day that could be of use to someone else. Or not. You will judge that.

Find more of them here: wojciechmendyka.com/category/reflections

Wojciech is a trainer, teacher and life-long learner on the topic of effective communication. He believes that speaking clearly, effectively and with confidence is essential to our success and taking advantage of all life’s opportunities. READ MORE
  • Bartek

    Gret idea! I cross my fingers for you!

  • “You have to” and “you must” – it mainly motivates people driven by external motivation. So it would be great if you could create this kind of list for internal motivators 🙂

    • Interesting point. Keep in mind this list was created in 1917, in the high time of industrial revolution. Those were the times when ideas of externally motivating employees were reigning supreme. Factories, mass production. Carrots and sticks. Perhaps this also influenced the framing of these calls to action?

      Personally I don’t see it that way. To me, it could be as well my ‘internal voice’ talking to me. Wojciech, you have to. Wojciech, you must. Which to be honest, is happening quite often in my head! That is then clearly an ‘internal’ motivation, at least the way I see it.

      However, I think re-framing these for an internally driven individual is a quick fix,. for example:

      You must take your own steps. – Take your own steps.
      You have to educate yourself. – Educated yourself.

      Better? 🙂