What words of wisdom and life advice do successful people rely on? We asked, and they shared. Let the personal mantras of these seven Boston community members inspire you. What would you add? Let us know in the comments!

“Here are three guiding principles in my life: 1. Meet one new person a day, and try to create a real relationship with that person. People today have lots of superficial relationships, but it’s much harder to establish a relationship versus collect relationships. 2. Never touch the same piece of paper twice—focus and act on items, instead of moving them from one side of your desk to another. 3. Be positive—don’t use words like ‘never,’ ‘could have’ or ‘should have.’”
—Larry Curtis, President and Managing Partner, WinnDevelopment

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Ben Shapiro, who was a professor at Harvard Business School, once gave me the advice to never take on business out of desperation. His opinion was that when you take business from that perspective, you’d never give it your all and you would lack the passion to do the job right. Once I started taking this advice, about five years into running Creative Restaurant Solutions, my work was much more enjoyable! And it was tough to follow through 2008 and 2009, when the restaurant industry was hit with major budget cuts. But I stuck to it and have persevered, coming out stronger than before the recession hit.

“And one of my other favorite quotes is from Alexandra Scott of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation—‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’”
—Morreen Rukin Bayles, President, Creative Restaurant Solutions Inc./Combined Resource Solutions Inc.

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“These are from Mitch’s dad and apply to many aspects of life: ‘The only people who never fail are those who never try,’ and ‘Luck is a residue of design,’ meaning we generally make our own luck. Also a motto that we have lived by is ‘keep smiling.’”
—Marcy Leiman, Marketing Director, New Outlook Homecare, and Mitchell Leiman, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Cimpress

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“My commandments: 1. Life is not a dress rehearsal. 2. A genius is a crackpot who hit the jackpot. 3. Power perceived is power achieved. 4. Plan the work; work the plan. 5. Chance favors the prepared mind. 6. Common sense is a trade secret. 7. You don’t have to explain what you don’t say. 8. Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger. 9. Don’t react; respond. 10. Have ruthless patience. 11. Smile.”
—Steve Kane, Entrepreneur/Investor

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“Don’t let your past stories or your future desires dictate the present. We all come from somewhere—sometimes it’s a good place with happy childhood memories; others may have grown up with difficulties that can be hard to shake. No matter what one’s history is, the present is a gift to be celebrated and not wasted. It’s essentially a new start every day that goes by so quickly it can be hard to remember that it’s the most important part of life. Conversely, using those precious hours of one’s today to think about the future can eat up time with loved ones, friends and coworkers. It’s good to have goals, but it’s better to know that forks in the road happen daily on the way to those expectations. It’s the detours, on a daily basis, that keep us on our toes, that ultimately bring us fulfillment and give us a future that we never dreamed imaginable.”
—Mimi Golub, Writer

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“The best life advice I could give young adults is this: Spend time with people who are older than you. What better way to understand where you’re going than to learn from people who have been there already? Everyone is different, of course. Their family, their goals, their strengths and weaknesses—none of us are the same. We can’t duplicate someone else’s story. However, we can certainly learn from others as we write our own. A person can learn a lot about how to plot their own course by seeing how others have done it before them. Why not learn from others’ mistakes? Why not benefit from their good decisions? What easier way to create a vision of your own life than to see components of that vision alive in others.

“You can’t hit a target that you can’t see, and you probably can’t find a road without a map (or at least a GPS!). I was extremely fortunate to spend time with people who were 10-20 years ahead of me on life’s journey at a young age, not to mention working with businesses that were generations ahead of me. I’d encourage others to do the same. It will make you wise beyond your years and answer many questions before they’re even asked.”
—Ronald H. Golub, Founder and Principal, The Stonewood Companies