What Successful People Learned From Their Fathers

Moms often get a lot of credit for inspiring their children, but the steady presence of fathers has also had a profound effect on many successful people. 

Bill Cosby once said that fatherhood “is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”

Being a father isn’t always easy, but successful people often credit their dads with helping make them who they are. As we recently celebrated Father’s Day, let’s look back at some of that inspiration:

“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’” – Michael Jordan

“The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.” – Clara Barton

“My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.” – Marlo Thomas

“I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work 15 and 16 hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.“ – Mario Cuomo

“I always had a philosophy which I got from my father. He used to say, ‘Listen. God gave to you the gift to play football. This is your gift from God. If you take care of your health, if you are in good shape all the time, with your gift from God no one will stop you, but you must be prepared.” – Pele

“Being the offspring of English teachers is a mixed blessing. When the film star says to you, on the air, ‘It was a perfect script for she and I,’ instead in your head you hear, in the sarcastic voice of your late father, ‘Perfect for she, eh? And perfect for I, also?’” – Dick Cavett

“I just owe almost everything to my father and it’s passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election.” – Margaret Thatcher

“I can be a rock star with a television show and still have a self-esteem problem. So it’s nice to have your dad go, ‘Hey Melissa, I’m proud of you – you’re doing good.’” – Melissa Etheridge

“My father was not a failure. After all, he was the father of the president of the United States.” – Harry S. Truman

“My father taught me that the only way you can make good at anything is to practice, and then practice some more.” – Pete Rose

“It is important not to copy other people’s careers but set the tone of who you want to be. My father’s always encouraged me to do that.” – Nicole Richie

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

“I’ve said it before, but it’s absolutely true: My mother gave me my drive, but my father gave me my dreams. Thanks to him, I could see a future.” – Liza Minnelli

What did your father teach you about being successful?













Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese is a syndicated columnist for Gannett/USA Today on workplace issues and the author of “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy.” She has been on the Today show, and quoted in publications such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, Self.com and BusinessWeek.com. Her website, 45things.com, is listed on the Forbes top 100 websites for women.

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