The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion. That intellectuality is more vigorous that has attained its strength gradually. It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider — and progressively better able to grasp any theme or situation — persevering in what he knows to be practical, and concentrating his thought upon it, who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.

Interview with Bell published in How They Succeeded (1901) by Orison Swett Marden, Ch. 2.
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More from Alexander Graham Bell

Perseverance must have some practical end, or it does not avail the man possessing it. A person without a practical end in view becomes a crank or an idiot. Such persons fill our asylums.

Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.

First words spoken into the telephone (1876)

A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with — a man is what he makes of himself.

Interview with Bell published in How They Succeeded (1901) by Orison Swett Marden, Ch. 2.

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

As quoted in Sophia's Fire (2005) by Sango Mbella , p. 133

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Interview with Bell published in How They Succeeded (1901) by Orison Swett Marden, Ch. 2.