15 Things Really Successful People Want You to Know

15 successful people share their best pieces of advice.

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Not to Sweat the Small Stuff

The thing that's grand about spending your time thinking about the universe is that it makes you feel insignificant. I don't mean that in a bad way. If you understand that we've now discovered entire solar systems that contain planets similar to Earth, and that those are just the ones we know about, since most of the stars we've looked at are within about 300 light- years of Earth and the distance to the center of our galaxy is nearly 100 times that—then you realize that the laundry you've left undone and the dumb thing you said yesterday are about as significant as slime mold.

—Alyssa Goodman, PhD, professor of astronomy, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Pace Yourself

A therapist once told me something that's as true now as when I first heard it: "You can only go as fast as the slowest part of you can go."

—Singer Bonnie Raitt, who took a seven-year hiatus from the studio before releasing her new album, Slipstream

The Secret to Trying New Things

People say it's gross that I eat grubs and goat liver, but if you haven't tried it, how do you know? Our brains tell us lies, and if we listen, we cost ourselves surprises. When trying something new, cast off your fear and expectations.

—Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods America

Simple Ways to Look Polished

Start with a great haircut, neat nails, and well-shaped eyebrows (if eyes are the windows to the soul, eyebrows are the frames). Invest in a tailor—and in a few no-fail items that will help you look pulled together: a crisp white shirt, a pencil skirt, a great-fitting shift dress (just add shoes and go!), a tissue-weight scarf, and the perfect jacket. Whether it's a black blazer with a structured shoulder and nipped-in waist or a little leather jacket that looks great over anything, the right jacket projects confidence. And isn't that what polished really means?

—Adam Glassman, O Creative Director

Know When to Quit

After my first book was published in 2000, I spent two and a half years writing a novel. But it never felt right. I didn't even name it—it was the poor, misshapen beast child I kept hidden under my bed. Then I showed it to my agent. "None of the things you do well are in evidence here," she said. I was devastated, then relieved: I had failed, and now I could stop. If you don't feel a shiver of excitement or fear, if there's no emotional risk involved, let it go. You can't discount how hard it will be to leave your bad marriage or stop writing your bad book, but if you're unhappy, nothing can get better as long as the status quo stays the status quo.

—Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls

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