So I absolutely love a good quote. If I could end all of my arguments and make all of my points in quotes, I probably would. Why? People have short attention spans and language is complicated. There’s so much satisfaction to be had in using a simple quote to paint a clear picture of a complicated principle. For that same reason, I find that quotes actually help me settle many of my internal conflicts. “Should I take this risk?” “Yes, of course you should ‘Just do it’. I have been motivated time after time by simple quotes that have somehow altered my way of thinking and thus changed my life. It may seem far-fetched but some words are just so powerful, so impactful, that they not only resonate in that moment but the clarity they provide, the epiphany you experience, can last a lifetime. Here are a few of my favorites and how they have and are currently impacting my life:
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. — Mark Twain
I heard this one while in high school. As an introvert, it was a total confidence builder. What it meant to me: As long as you have the heart you can conquer the biggest and the toughest obstacles. I’ve built a mental toughness over the years that has served me much more than my physical fitness ever has.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. — Confucius
My Professional Development professor in college put me on to this one. It struck a cord the moment it left his mouth and I’ve been chasing it ever since. I still haven’t found this utopia yet but I’m relentless in my pursuit of it.
You teach people how to treat you. — Dr. Phil
This may or may not belong to Dr. Phil but that is where I heard it first. The other version is longer and attributed to Tony Gaskins. That version states: “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” Sure the person in question might have been raised by wolves but what have you been teaching them about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to you? This quote is a constant reminder for me to not accept the unacceptable. Life changed for me when I grew some metaphorical balls and started putting my foot down.
Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open. — Elmer G. Letterman
I’ve always been drawn to a magnetic personality. After struggling to understand why someone who seemed so great on the surface was eventually sickening to be around, I understood that I put way too much weight on personality. Yeah… I don’t do that anymore.
A liar should have a good memory. — Quintilian
Alternate version: “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” – Abraham Lincoln. Recalling memories is easier then recalling stories. I learned to play close attention to the things people say especially when trust is in question. I learned that my silence was my most successful bait when trying to catch a liar. A liar will fill uncomfortable silence with tall tales, fables and details that may or may not be available to his memory later. I just learned to pay close attention.
Trying is lying. — Unknown
When I first heard my brother say this I thought he came up with it but it looks like this one’s been around a while. After responding to a question with “I’ll try”, this was his not-so-subtle way of telling me that my response was a cop out, a set up for failure, if you will. Nowadays I’m more conscious of replacing “I’ll try” with "I will.” As you can imagine the “I will” has been more effective in helping me get sh!# done.
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't.” — Student of Warren G. Tracy
Honestly, I owe one of my biggest accomplishments in life to this quote. While going through a tough financial period, I made a decision to deal with my discomfort instead of chasing comfort in order to save money. It was difficult, sometimes near torturous but I knew the sacrifice would pay off in the long run and it did. I crossed a major item off of my goals list and continue to make the sacrifices that I know may be uncomfortable today but will allow me to luxuriate in comfortable later.
Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. — Mike Tyson
I’m a planner by nature. I plan the hell out of everything. Give me an obstacle and I’m working my way though it in a spreadsheet with considerations for different scenarios. But no matter how detailed your plan there is still a chance that you’ll get hit with an unknown variable and variables sometimes feel a lot like being punched in the face. What I learned: preparation won’t make me invincible and I’m going to have to deal with some BS when I least expect it. I can’t feel sorry for myself. I just have to take the blow and keep it moving.
I got my start by giving myself a start. — Madam C. J. Walker
I’ve just added this one to my list. If you read my last post on Madam C. J. Walker, you’ll understand where it comes from. It might be a little too early to determine if this quote actually helps to change my life but it definitely feels like it provides the type of clarity that can be life-changing. When it comes to career or success, I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of waiting for someone to give me a shot. My new outlook is to give myself a shot.
There you have it. A couple of quotes that have helped change my life. There are a couple of others that I didn’t mention and I’m sure there will be more along this journey I call life. Let this be a friendly reminder that words are powerful. Listen closely – apply them wisely.
Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.