It only takes a sentence to change your life. The best writers and thinkers are able to sum up a big thought or concept in just a few simple words. Delight in the following quotes that can get you up and moving and change the way you think with purposeful brevity.
1. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Anais Nin offers a mind-altering phrase here that has the ability to change the way you think of the world. There’s the way things are, and then there’s the way we seem them through the lens that is us. This is why it’s always good to question your perception and see if that’s really how things are.
Works best when you start to think that there’s no way to see things other than the way you see them. Could help diffuse a big argument or even a minor disagreement with someone rather than trying to validate a misperception.
2. Remember that failure is an event, not a person.
Zig Ziglar has hundreds of quotes that motivate, inspire, and spur yourself onto a different path than you were on, and this is a shining example of one. It’s important to keep your head up and stay on the positive side, even when a situation arises where you don’t feel very effective or successful.
Works best when you find yourself in the middle of a situation that’s making you feel like a failure, and you start beating yourself up inside. This quote is the perfect reminder that you shouldn’t call yourself a failure, as failure is something that happens, not you yourself.
3. If you wait, all that happens is you get older.
Larry McMurtry reminds us that there’s never a better time to get started than right now. Waiting just lets time pass by with nothing getting done, and no progress made towards what you really want. Before long you could find yourself out of time and still waiting.
Works best when you’ve been putting off an important decision, project or other undertaking until conditions are “just right”. Chances are that perfect time will never come about, and you’ll have wished you’d started sooner so you could be experiencing the fruits of that decision.
4. All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
Martin Buber is letting us know that the destination isn’t really that important as long as we’re up for the journey. Discovering places you love that were never on your radar is one of the hidden treasures that happen when you make the choice to venture in the direction of your dreams.
Works best when you feel like you’re not making any headway on reaching your desired destination. It could be that you’re in a destination you didn’t have in mind, and that you’re blind to how great it is just because it isn’t exactly what you wanted.
5. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
Milton Berle shows that it’s necessary to get the right pieces in place or it could be quite awhile before anything can happen. In order to opportunity to knock there needs to be a door first, which means conditions must be right for opportunity to present itself.
Works best when you feel like you’ve been waiting around long enough for opportunity to knock, and it just doesn’t seem to be doing so. Analyze your current situation and see if it is one where opportunity has the ability to knock, and if not get busy building the door for it.
6. How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Annie Dillard points out something that most of us intrinsically know, but that is so easy to forget. It’s especially true when we get stuck in a rut and then end up living the result of that rut, and lose sight of the fact that your days will eventually make up your life.
Works best when you’re considering writing off a day due to a bad start, or on the verge of repeating a bad habit that you know won’t help you accomplish what you need to do today. A lifetime consists of a collection of individual days, so it’s best to make the most of each one.
7. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill knew a thing or two about success and here he sums up the key he used to get there. This is a skill that must be learned, as human nature has our emotions linked to the outcome of the things we do and what happens to us.
Works best when you’re reeling from a recent failure and need some motivation to get yourself excited about the next thing on your list. It may sound counterintuitive but you simply have to get excited even though you just failed miserably, and could very well fail again.
8. The past has no power over the present moment.
Eckhart Tolle’s main thesis is that the past and present don’t exist outside of our own minds, and that all that really matters is right now. He makes the case that now is the only moment you ever have, and that this is your point of power, the point at which anything ever gets done or occurs.
Works best when you feel like the past is sabotaging the present. Realizing that the past exists only in your head, and has no bearing over what is happening now, other than the thoughts you give to it that are causing you to overlook the now moment.
9. In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.
Albert Camus must have gone through a long period of time when things were rough in order to find the “invincible summer” inside him. It’s always intriguing to wonder just how much is inside us waiting to come to our aid when we need it most.
Works best when you feel like things have been hard for awhile now, and don’t show signs of improving. It’s a reminder that the strength to overcome even the hardest circumstances lies within you, waiting to be discovered and put to use in tough times.
10. I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Douglas Adams wants us to know that things might not always go the way we planned, but that the universe might have bigger plans for us than we can comprehend. It’s much more powerful to leave a bit of planning up to the bigger picture instead of thinking you need to control every detail.
Works best when you feel like you’ve ended up somewhere you’re not supposed to be. It’s easy to think we know all the answers, but sometimes life has more important plans for us, so try to consider the angle that you might be right where you need to be.
11. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Maya Angelou is beckoning you to tell your story with one simple statement. She seemingly had no trouble telling her story, but she must have gone through a period of time when she had a story inside her that just needed to come out.
Works best when you have an amazing story that could enrich the lives of others but are not sharing it out of fear or any other reason. It can be therapeutic to let your story out and see what other people take away from it.
12. I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.
Leave it to Mark Twain to put it so eloquently that worrying is pretty inefficient. The vast majority of things we worry about never actually happen, so it’s best not to worry at all since all that matters is what really happens, which is a fraction of what goes on in the worried mind.
Works best when you’re overcome with worry, doubt, or dread. Just remember that most of that stuff isn’t even going to happen, and if it does you suffer twice.
13. Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.
John Wooden is calling us out on one of the most popular excuses out there, and that’s on not moving forward because of a perceived limitation in a particular area or field.
Works best when you’ve been getting down on yourself for not being able to do something, and using it as an excuse for not making progress. Focus on what you can do and on increasing your skill set en route to your goal.
14. It is better to know how to learn than to know.
Dr. Seuss is known for his quirky hyperbole, but this one is a sentence that is worth reading a few times. In a world where every answer is at your fingertips thanks to computers and smartphones, it truly is a great time to be alive and eager to learn.
Works best when you’re wishing you already knew something and are getting frustrated at the idea of learning it on your own. Instead take delight in the fact that you know how to learn, and that’s really all you need in life.
15. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein is often lauded as a genius and usually we think that he must have done everything perfectly. Surely he would have been the first to admit that he made plenty of mistakes, since he was always trying new things and thinking new thoughts.
Works best when you want to take advice from a literal genius and throw yourself into the arena of life. No more sitting by the sidelines afraid of getting it wrong. Dare to try new things and be ready to make lots of mistakes along the way.
16. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt gives the dreamers of the world some solace and assurance that it’s still OK to dream and create the future the way you see fit. It’s sometimes hard to stay true to yourself and keep your dream alive in an unforgiving world, and this one sentence really helps.
Works best when you want to get inspired to follow through on your dreams, and get optimistic about the future. If you’ve lived too long thinking that you’re just a dreamer and things won’t work out, this is an uplifting quote.
17. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Marc Anthony has a pretty good point here, and normally we associate work with doing things we don’t really enjoy, which is why we expect to get paid for it. When you shift the energy around so that work feels like play and you start enjoying what you’re doing, everything changes.
Works best when you’ve been wondering what it’d be like to be on Easy Street and never have to work again. You can have that right now if you start doing the things you love and getting paid for it.