When you’re unemployed and down on your luck, you may look at smart and successful individuals and wonder how they managed to get ahead.

However many successful businesspeople, politicians and innovators know what it’s like to be down on your luck as well. Going through hard times is often part of the process of becoming successful, and many of the most successful people of all time have a history of unemployment and of taking jobs they didn’t want. Their books and interviews are full of advice to reassure those who are struggling to find a job that will help them follow in their footsteps. Here we’ll take a look at some of the advice they’ve shared for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Action first, details later

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt (former US president)

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” – Richard Branson (entrepreneur and founder of Virgin)

“’If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on!” – Sheryl Sandberg (chief operating officer of Facebook)

Getting fired’s not so bad

“Getting fired is nature’s way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place.” – Hal Lancaster (business journalist and author)

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life…Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.” – Steve Jobs (co-founder and former CEO of Apple)

“If they hate your guts, if they’re furious with you or are threatened by your very existence, all they can do is fire you. Big deal! Who cares? When you know that you’re employable and that not everyone can see, much less value, what you bring, you won’t be afraid of getting fired.” – Liz Ryan (Forbes columnist and CEO of Human Workplace)

Be enthusiastic and patient

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill (British prime minister during the Second World War)

“Patience is a key element of success.” – Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft and world’s richest person)

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson (writer and philosopher)

And finally, successful people’s first jobs

Ice cream server – Barack Obama (US president)

Paper boy – Warren Buffett (business magnate and investor now worth $67 billion)

McDonald’s cook – Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon)

Supermarket cashier – Oprah Winfrey (TV host and owner of media companies)

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