It’s amazing how the right words at the right time can light a fire in you. Therein lies the power of words. Sometimes, it takes a whole book to inspire, while the truly skilled can do the same with a simple sentence.
After realizing the profound effect of words, I’ve made it a habit to collect quotes. These are especially necessary when I’m feeling down and need a little inspiration to continue forward. Everyday living can be hard and these have helped me along. Hopefully they can help you in the same way they’ve helped me.
“Don’t worry. Be Happy.” – Meher Baba
I wrote this down on a notebook in grade school. I must have been stressed out about something stupid like my grades. Many of the things we worry about simply don’t matter. We walk around stressed about our jobs, our money, our commute, our station in life, but the truth is many of us are well taken care of and could do with much less. The most important thing to me is my family. As long as we have a roof over our heads, food to eat, good relations, and the blessing of health, then no worries. Anything more than that is gravy.
“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” — Alain de Botton
Despite or perhaps because of my tumultuous relationship with formal education (I wasn’t the best student in school), I’ve learned that real education never stops. Over the years, I’ve created a system for continuous learning. These come in the form of podcasts that are automatically downloaded on my phone, the audio books that I “read” every month, and the curated newsletters that share enlightening articles.
The best investment is in yourself. If you wake up one day with all your material goods taken away, you will still have your smarts and a good chance of getting everything back. Only father time can take away anything you’ve learned.
“Leisure is what you give up to have the audacity to build your life that you want.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
This is the golden era of television; Stranger Things, House of Cards, Crashing, Glow, Game of Thrones, American Gods, Better Call Saul, etc. I would love nothing more than to watch all these amazing shows. I used to love spending a whole afternoon laying on a couch, snacking on Cheetos, and binge watching The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, watching these shows doesn’t get me closer to the life I want.
Don’t get me wrong. I still find time to relax, I play a ton of basketball, sneak in a few minutes of Hearthstone, and even occasionally watch a good movie with the wife, but the vast majority of my time is spent with family or building the life I want. But I know that in order for me to have that life, I need to sacrifice. That means saying no to night outs with friends, waking up early to write, grinding through the entrepreneurial ups and downs, and, yes, not watching a few episodes of Silicon Valley.
“No yes. Either HELL YEAH! or no.” – Derek Sivers
The “Hell yeah!” or “No” concept is simple. Here’s an explanation by Derek Sivers.
Use this rule if you’re often over-committed or too scattered.
If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say “no”.
When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then say “no.”
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!” – https://sivers.org/hellyeah
Back in the early days of Zerothreetwo, we used to get plenty of media invites to fancy events and openings. We met a lot of cool people and got treated like VIPs, but in the end of the day, it was not why we started the blog and it took so much time away from actually building a business. So these days, we politely decline most requests. Nothing against them, it’s just that we’ve chosen to focus on different things.
There’s only 24 hours in a day. In order to spend it doing what we want and with people we love, it means saying no to a lot of things. Use those hours wisely.
“I hate ideas… Execution is what matters.” – Casey Neistat
I’m still surprised when I meet people who keep their ideas close to their chest. They are afraid someone will steal it. Their good idea is so good that anyone who discovers it is sure to the riches that is bound to follow. Hogwash.
Many of these “idea people” are just that, they come up with ideas. At some point everyone has good ideas, but they don’t mean anything unless they act on them. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Action, movement, and execution are rare commodities. Show me someone who can execute an idea to fruition, that’s a person I would love to work with.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso
Here’s a phrase that I hate, “I’d like to write/compose music/draw/insert-creative-act, but I’m waiting for inspiration to strike.” They need the above quote by Pablo Picasso. Or this one by Chuck Close, “Inspiration is for amateurs.”
The secret to doing good creative work is to just do it. Wake up with purpose, roll up your sleeves, and just work. If you aren’t any good yet, that’s fine. Everyone starts out like that. Learn as much as you can, but continue to do the work. At first, your work will suck, but the more you do it, the better you become. Don’t wait for inspiration. Start with a blank page and fill it as fast as you can. That’s usually when the inspiration lightning strikes.
“If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.” – Montesquieu
It took me a long time to admit this to myself, but I have a tendency to compare. I may not say it out loud, but I think it. It’s an awful habit that doesn’t make living any easier. There’s always someone with more; more money, more time, more health, more in life. The truth is I have everything I need. I have the life I want. I have a beautiful healthy family. I do something every day that I enjoy. My health is fine. I have more than enough. What more can I ask for? Don’t worry. Be happy. Right?
“If you’re offended easily, you’re a bad resource allocator. It’s a waste of energy and attention, which is a greater sin than wasting time.” – Tim Ferriss
This doesn’t have the same ring to it as the other quotes. Maybe Tim should have said something like, “If you are offended easily, you need to be offended more often.” One of my favorite things to do is watch comedians like Louis C.K. and Chris Rock. Believe me, some of the things that come out of their mouths are the most offensive things you’ll ever hear, but it’s so damn funny. Life is just easier if we let things bounce off us instead of penetrate our souls in a bad way.
“You are the average of the five people you ‘re around the most.” – Jim Rohn
Naturally, this quote made me think about everyone I surround myself with. At first it was easy to think in terms of success. Who are the successful people around me? But as with most things, this quote goes deeper than that. It doesn’t mean that I need to surround myself with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, although hanging with them would be tremendous on my profit and loss card. It means reflecting on who is making a positive impact in my life. Am I always around someone who complains and drags me down? Am I around someone who indifferently criticizes my choices? Am I around someone who doesn’t contribute to my life or theirs? Am I around someone with no ambition what so ever? Who do you surround yourself with?
“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” — Seneca
Suffering and failure aren’t always bad things. In many cases, the sting of hardship is what can motivate to become more than you already are. I remember my failures, but I don’t dwell on them. I remember the time I didn’t get a job because I failed out of the training. It hurt and I felt bad, but it made me think about what went wrong and allowed me to do better for my next job. A life of leisure and no troubles is overrated and likely non-existent. Everyone goes through trials. It’s what we do after the failure and suffering that matters. Do you bounce back? Or do you wallow?
Any quotes that light a fire in you?