I don’t know about you, but I often read great inspiring quotes (on Twitter mostly) and find it a shame that most of the time they don’t seem to make their way from my short term into my long term memory. When I find some of these remarkable quotes on Twitter, that somehow seem to speak to my soul, I usually mark them as favourites to be able to return to them. Recently I reviewed those quotes and created a quotes-board with those that really resonate with me and have been especially relevant in the past year for me. The ones I really wish to keep present with me are now pinned on the sloped ceiling over my bed. Every day I try to be guided by some of these deeper life-enhancing principles. I thought I’d share my top 11, as I find them very empowering:
1 . “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.” Henry Ford
This is definitely a top one for me. The first time I heard it during a seminar at uni, I had to meditate on it to unlock its deeper meaning. It points at the all-determining power of the mind. I learned about the extensive power of thoughts for the first time last year during my self-discovery in the context of cognitive behavioural psychology and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). We are what we think and we become what we think about - and it is true (I can tell from my own experience)! Foremost it is our thoughts that determine whether we will succeed or not. If we don’t even conceive XYZ, we cannot bring it about and make it appear in reality. It is our mindset that shapes, that makes reality. There is an intricate link, more than one would imagine. This is a very liberating thought freeing one from external constraints and placing the main power of shaping who you are on yourself and your thoughts.
2. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Another great insight that resonated very well with me and that I came across for the first time in the form of another quote from Herminia Ibarra: “By far the biggest mistake people make when trying to change careers is to delay taking the first step until they have settled on a destination.” I was only contemplating a career change back then and hesitating whether to take the leap precisely because I didn’t see the destination ahead. But this made me realise that you cannot wait in life to move forward until you see everything clearly laid out in front of you. Another metaphor that exemplifies this beautifully is the one of a dark tunnel: You might even have a goal in mind, but you haven’t figured out how to get there and the dark tunnel ahead is rather daunting. Well, only once you take the first step and dare to go through the tunnel you will be able to see the doors that are on the sides of the tunnel, as you go along, all representing different opportunities. You don’t need to see the end of the staircase or the whole of it, all you need to do is dare to take a first step of action and this will set in motion the rest; that, which you are not foreseeing to start with.
3. “There is no failure. Only feedback.” (Robert Allen)
This one I already talked about in my last blog entry. Having this as life approach is extremely liberating, it takes a lot of pressure off of you. Makes you more courageous and get closer to discovering who you really are.
4. “A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be, and then making the best of it.” Unknown
It might sound like a commonplace and yet it is such a wise and difficult thing to do in everyday life where we allow ourselves to be frustrated by all those things (small and big) that don’t go our way. I am especially guilty of this, as I am not good at embracing change and accepting when things turn out differently as anticipated. I am also very analytical and tend to overthinking. I often feel upset because internally I am bouncing off what would have been if, I think about what could have been and what should have been, rather than channelling my energy into accepting things the way they are and taking things at face value. This has been especially relevant in the past months for me with regards to accepting how certain things in my life turned out instead of dwelling on them, sounds familiar, huh?
5. “Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of travelling.” (Margaret Lee Runbeck)
Closely related to above. Love how this quote stresses that happiness is not something that lies in the future that you ought to reach out for. We too often think of happiness as an object instead of something that we create internally.
6. "Don't hate, it's too big a burden to bear." - Martin Luther King.
What I like about this one is how it focuses on the negative impact that negative emotions towards others actually have on YOU. Something one can easily lose sight of when wrapped up in anger or even hatred. Directing strong negative emotions at others can only consume you and won’t bring about anything good for you. It is healthier to find a way to let go and be at peace.
7. “When you lose something, don't think of it as a loss; accept it as the gift that gets you on the path you were meant to travel on.” (Unknown)
This is a wonderful example of reframing. I am sure most of us have experienced how losing someone (not as in death!) or something (that partner, that contract etc.) turned out to be a blessing retrospectively speaking. This quote is a good reminder of this. Sometimes we become what we are meant to become by not getting/by losing what we want at a certain moment in life. Of course, if we only knew what these rough patches are good for in advance it would make life easier, but then again, life simply isn’t always easy. The “blessing in disguise” philosophy gives hope in difficult times.
8. "All things are unfolding exactly the way they are supposed to." Unknown
This quote is a logical continuation of the previous one and I found it recently very consoling when certain people “opted out” of my life and my life in general was a bit chaotic. A very good mantra indeed.
9. “Be strong enough to let go, and patient enough to wait for what you deserve.” Unknown
Too often we settle for less than we deserve without even realising, simply because subconsciously we don’t think it is likely something else even better will come along. Sometimes we simply cling to something despite it already being lost and waste time and energy mourning over it when we actually deserved better. I have always had difficulties of letting go (of habits, of people); it requires strength and patience to sit things out rather than hanging on to something that doesn’t fulfil you and maybe even proves unworthy of you anyway. Sounds obvious, but the really hard bit is becoming aware and accepting that, what you are wishing to keep in your life, cause it seemed good in the past, is actually not what you set it out to be. Maybe not any more, maybe never was. This might be the relationship with your workplace, with which you simply fell out of love or a person that ends up demonstrating he/she does not appreciate your worth.
10. “What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.” (Helen Keller)
I SO relate to this one, as I have become aware during the last year of introspection to what degree I have been dependent on external approval, on different levels. At the same time it hit me that the only person’s approval I need to testify to my self-worth is mine. Once you attach more weight to your own judgement, needs and requirements you feel more empowered and are truly paving the way for creating your happiness by and for yourself without the need of anyone else doing this for you.
11. “You have more options than you think you do.” (Bruce Van Horn)
Simple, but powerful. I like this reminder, cause I realised that I am someone that gets easily stuck in Either/Or and All-or-Nothing-Thinking, thus limiting options for myself. Especially in challenging times we often only see the constraints brought about by things rather than the different variants of reality. Lateral thinking and thinking outside the box – skills that are highly useful in such a context. But even the less creative ones among us (like me) can expand their viewpoint by letting go of fixed ideas and sequences and timeframes, by sitting back and trying to look at a situation from different angles, perhaps with a friend or a coach.
What do you think of above and what other quotes do you hold dear as guiding principles of your life?