Photo: Tesla Club Belgium / Flickr
Photo: Tesla Club Belgium / Flickr

What are some of the most important lessons that successful CEOs, entrepreneurs and innovators have learned?

1. Steve Jobs

(Company: Apple, Pixar / Net worth: $11 billion)

Every morning, Jobs would ask himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” If too many days went by with the answer being “no,” then Jobs made changes in his life until he hit a consistent “yes” streak.

2. Michael Dell

(Company: Dell / Net worth: $18.8 billion)

“Never be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you find a different room.” The key isn’t being the big fish in a small pond, but a small fish in a big one. “We are all gifts to each other,” Dell added.

3. Jack Ma

(Company: Alibaba / Net worth: $37.1 billion)

“You cannot unify everyone’s thoughts, but you can unify everyone through a common goal.”

4. Tiger Woods

(Occupation: Athlete / Net worth: $600 million)

Woods gave this advice when asked for golf advice: “There is no perfect way to play the game. All the greatest golfers all have different swings. We all have our own unique fingerprint. Find the system that works best for you.” So, essentially, there is no “correct” way to be successful.

5. Walt Disney

(Company: Disney / Net worth: $5 billion)

“Why worry? If you have done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”

6. Mark Cuban

(Company: Various Businesses / Net worth: $3 billion)

The only reason most of us are employed is because we have customers. Which is why Cuban advises, “Treat your customers like they own you. Because they do.”

7. Warren Buffet

(Company: Berkshire Hathaway / Net worth: $72.3 billion)

Buffet’s suggests that people should create a not-to-do list. “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.” The anti to-do list will force you to focus on things that matter most to do and stop our bad habits in their tracks.

8. Evan Williams

(Company: Blogger, Twitter, Medium / Net worth: $2.9 billion)

“…my advice is almost always, ‘Do fewer things.’…The vast majority of things are distractions, and very few really matter to your success. When you’re obsessing about one thing, you can reach insights about how to solve hard problems. If you have too many things to think about, you’ll get to the superficial solution, not the brilliant.”

9. Michael Bloomberg

(Company: Bloomberg, L. P. / Net worth: $35.4 billion)

“I’ve never met a Nobel Prize winner who didn’t think they had an awful lot more to learn and wasn’t studying every single day.” Regardless of how successful you become, Bloomberg believes that learning never stops.

10. Jim Koch

( Company: Boston Beer Company / Net worth: $1.2 billion)

Koch looks over popular brands such as Sam Adams. “Two craft breweries open every day in this country. It is very competitive. But if it makes you happy, do it. You’re better off being happy than rich. Being rich is a booby prize for people who didn’t get what they really wanted.”

11. Elon Musk

(Company: Tesla / Net worth: $11.9 billion)

Musk says that in order to erase the fears of failure, you need to live your worst-case scenarios. When Musk was only 17 years old, he forced himself to live off only $1 per day to see if he had what it takes to lead life as an entrepreneur. “I figured if I could live off a dollar a day then, at least from a food stand point, it’s pretty easy to earn $30 a month,” Musk said.

12. Kevin O’Leary

(Company: SoftKey / Net worth: $300 million)

“My partners taught me that in order to create wealth, I needed to pair up with people whose strengths compensated for my weaknesses.” In other words, don’t try to do everything by yourself.

13. Ross Perot

(Companies: EDS and Perot Systems / Net worth: $3.7 billion)

“In your 20’s I encourage you to travel and explore the world. Get to know and respect the citizens of this planet. Have some adventure and learn about yourself and discover your true passions. And then I hope you bring it all back.”

14. Dustin Moskovitz

(Companies: Facebook, Asana / Net worth: $9 billion)

“You should start a business when you’re super passionate about and idea AND you’re the right person to do it. This breaks down into two reasons: One is you’re so passionate about it that you have to do it (and you’re going to do it anyways). The other way to interpret this is the world needs you to do it.

15. Daymond John

(Company: FUBU / Net worth: $250 million)

John says that you should be open about your mistakes and that it’s better to flaunt your flaws. “Sounding too perfect is the biggest and most common mistake I see entrepreneurs make when pitching their product. With me, you’ll be more likely to get my money, or any potential investor’s money, by sucking it up and talking openly about the mistakes you’ve made. Be real.

16. Serena Williams

(Occupation: Professional Tennis Player / Net worth: $140 million)

Williams says that there is no such think as luck when it comes to success–only your concentration and tenacity. “Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.”

17. Henry Ford

(Company: Ford Motor Company / Net worth: $199 billion)

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” Be someone great, no matter who is paying attention.

18. Larry Page

(Company: Google / Net worth: $29.2 billion)

“I think it is often easier to make profess on mega-ambitious dreams…since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition,” Page says. “The best people want to work with the big challenges. That is what happened with Google.” Find people who are fearless and pursue the ideas that others are afraid of.

19. Dr. Dre

(Business: Beats by Dre, Music Producer / Net worth: $810 million)

Don’t only pay attention to the successful people out there. Study the losers, as well. “I listen to the bad stuff more, so I know what not to do. The stuff that’s not selling,” Dre. says. Doing so will essentially act as a what-not-to-do handbook.

20. Jack Nicholson

(Occupation: Actor, Producer / Net worth: $400 million)

“When you look at life retrospectively you rarely regret anything that you did, but you might regret things that you didn’t do.”

21. Stephen King

(Occupation: Author / Net worth: $400 million)

King is a huge advocate of shutting off the television. “If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.” In other words, creating something new is more rewarding than consuming something old.

22. Aaron Levie

(Company: Box / Net worth: $100 million)

“The 10% between ’90 percent done’ to ‘100 percent done’ takes the most time, causes the most stress, but is all of the value.” Work hard during that final 10 percent, because it could make all the difference between good and great.

23. Howard Stern

(Occupation: TV Personality / Net worth: $580 million)

Don’t succumb to conformity. Over his career, Stern was fired, harassed, and threatened to be sued for constantly disobeying orders from higher-ups. But he refused to follow the rules, and is now worth the hefty sum shown above. The lesson to be learned? Break rules. Be different. Those are the people we remember.

24. Andrew Carnegie

(Company: Carnegie Steel Company / Net worth: $480 million)

Don’t wait for permission to do something–just do it. “There never was a great character who did not sometimes smash the routine regulations and make new ones for himself.”

25. George Soros

(Company: Soros Fund Management / Net worth: $23 billion)

“I’m only rich because I know when I’m wrong. I’ve basically survived by recognizing my mistakes.”