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Kemmons Wilson Quotes

Charles Kemmons Wilson

Kemmons Wilson quotes: from high school dropout to hotel empire, here are some of his biggest takeaways.

“Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.”

“A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation.  He starts with himself because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch.”

“Remember, a person who wins success may have been counted out many times before.  He wins because he refuses to give up.”

“Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, ‘I don’t think I can’ and substitute, ‘I know I can.'”

“Do not be afraid of taking a chance.  Remember that a broken watch is right at least twice a day.”

“The most successful people are those who take pride in their work, pride in their family.  It is great to attain wealth, but money is really just one way—and hardly the best way—to keep score.”

“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes but in liking what one does.”

“It is not how much you have but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.”

“Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity.”

“A person has to take risks to achieve.”

“My own success was attended by quite a few failures along the way.  But I refused to make the biggest mistake of all: worrying too much about making mistakes.”

“Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one step at a time.”

“There are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree.  One way is to sit on an acorn and wait.  The other way is to climb it.”

“In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.”

“Sometimes the first step is the hardest: coming up with an idea.  Coming up with an idea should be like sitting on a pin.  It should make you jump up and do something.”

“Opportunity knocks often.  It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to hear it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it and a head trained to use it.”

“People who take pains to never do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do.”

“You cannot procrastinate.  In two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.”

“Sell your wristwatch and buy an alarm clock.”

“Do not worry.  You can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying over the future.  Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway.  So, why worry?”

“The best surprise is no surprise.”

“No job is too hard as long as you are smart enough to find someone else to do it for you.”

“Hire the best people you can find, and then turn them loose.”

“I like to work half a day.  I don’t care of it’s the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours.  I just put in my half every day.  It keeps me out of trouble.”

“I didn’t get to finish high school, so I don’t have too many brains.  But, I’ve got a saying: when you don’t have an education, you just got to use your brain.”

“Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.  It is one of my 20 tips of success—the rules by which I made it big.  I titled my book Half Luck, Half Brains.  Many years ago a study was conducted to find out what most successful people have in com­mon, and it was luck and personality.  Brains didn’t really enter the picture.  I would agree with that study.”

“In my autobiography, I went far beyond the epic of the most successful hotel chain in history.  For the first time, I recounted my entire larger-than-life, rags-to-riches story of a boy who grew up without a father, began selling popcorn at 17 and built a construction empire that stretched around the world.  Here is how a young high school dropout developed the clout to borrow more than a billion dollars over my lifetime.”

“I was a millionaire by my early 40s from real estate deals, a jukebox franchise and popcorn machines.  I devised the idea for Holiday Inns during a family vacation to Washington.  Unhappy with the lack of reasonably priced accommodations, I wanted a chain of motels where children could stay free.”

“I did not have a high school education, yet I built one of the biggest Fortune 500 companies in the world.  I understood what it took.”

“You talk about dreaming big; mine was a huge dream.  The amazing thing is that I saw a great untapped market.  I had a vision of building a chain of motels.  I had a real passion for it.  I pursued my vision with enthusiasm.  I had perseverance.”

“I didn’t take many vacations, but as I took this one, I realized how many families there were taking vacations and how they needed a nice place they could stay.”

“During the Depression, my mother lost her job and I quit high school to work.  With a $50 loan from a friend, I bought a popcorn machine and set it up in a movie theater lobby.  By 1933, I had made enough profit from the popcorn business to buy a house for myself and my mother.  I then mortgaged the house to buy the local Wurlitzer jukebox franchise.”

“I am hard-working and down-to-earth.  Even after acquiring considerable wealth, I often answered my own phone and traveled without a publicist to handle press inquiries.”

“I grew up awfully hungry and I was sure I was not gonna live my life out being hungry.  My mother used to tell me I could do anything in the world I wanted to if I worked hard enough.  And she drilled it in my head so long that I finally decided I could.  Luckily she got to live long enough to see it.”

“I hope his story will inspire you to follow your dream.”

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