Inspiring Work Quotes

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I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
Thomas A. Edison
Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
Sarah Dessen
You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.
Pablo Picasso (Pablo Picasso: Metamorphoses of the Human Form : Graphic Works, 1895-1972)
What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.
Gustave Flaubert
I am a part of all that I have met.
Alfred Tennyson (The Complete Poetical Works of Tennyson)
It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Complete Prose Works Of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.
Babe Ruth
Promise Yourself To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds. To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
Christian D. Larson (Your Forces and How to Use Them)
In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.
Leo Tolstoy
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
Carlos Castaneda
There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don't work.
Anaïs Nin (HENRY AND JUNE)
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
If you are lazy, and accept your lot, you may live in it. If you are willing to work, you can write your name anywhere you choose.
Gene Stratton-Porter (A Girl of the Limberlost (Limberlost, #2))
Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn't what you get for it, but what you become for it. Shake things up today! Be You...Be Free...Share.
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
Get going. Move forward. Aim High. Plan a takeoff. Don't just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won't happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you'll love it up here.
Donald J. Trump
Patience Is Not the Ability to Wait: Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
If you start by promising what you don't even have yet, you'll lose your desire to work towards getting it.
Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
Live the Life of Your Dreams When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way. But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.
Thomas A. Edison
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Dreams don't work unless you take action. The surest way to make your dreams come true is to live them.
Roy T. Bennett
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
Done is better than perfect.
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
Pablo Picasso
I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.
Mother Teresa (A Gift for God: Prayers and Meditations)
Instead of committing suicide, people go to work.
Thomas Bernhard (Correction)
Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
Nothing will work unless you do.
Maya Angelou
Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.
Beatrix Potter
I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.
Oprah Winfrey
Be silent and safe — silence never betrays you; Be true to your word and your work and your friend; Put least trust in him who is foremost to praise you, Nor judge of a road till it draw to the end.
John Boyle O'Reilly (Life of John Boyle O'Reilly)
Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." [Meditations Divine and Moral]
Anne Bradstreet (The Works of Anne Bradstreet (John Harvard Library))
Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn't anything you can't do if you want to.
Jim Henson (It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider)
I’ve come to the conclusion that people who wear headphones while they walk, are much happier, more confident, and more beautiful individuals than someone making the solitary drudge to work without acknowledging their own interests and power.
Jason Mraz
Do not wait: the time will never be 'just right'. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.
Napoleon Hill
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to." [MovieMaker Magazine #53 - Winter, January 22, 2004 ]
Jim Jarmusch
Whenever I am in a difficult situation where there seems to be no way out, I think about all the times I have been in such situations and say to myself, "I did it before, so I can do it again.
Idowu Koyenikan (Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability)
It's a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.
Germany Kent
A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
Albert Camus
Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Perfect is the enemy of good.
Voltaire
Create a vision for the life you really want and then work relentlessly towards making it a reality.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
All I ask is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism, for the record, it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.
Conan O'Brien
Good works is giving to the poor and the helpless, but divine works is showing them their worth to the One who matters.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
When you work on something that only has the capacity to make you 5 dollars, it does not matter how much harder you work – the most you will make is 5 dollars.
Idowu Koyenikan (Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability)
The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Your friends will believe in your potential, your enemies will make you live up to it.
Tim Fargo
In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.
Madeleine L'Engle (The Summer of the Great-Grandmother (Crosswicks Journal, #2))
All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet -- it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.
Joss Whedon
A poet's work . . . to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
When you chase a dream, you learn about yourself. You learn your capabilities and limitations, and the value of hard work and persistence.
Nicholas Sparks (Three Weeks With My Brother)
Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.
William Arthur Ward
What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.
Jason Fried (Rework)
Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
Kevin Durant
We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
Alan M. Turing (Computing machinery and intelligence)
Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.
Nayyirah Waheed
You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize your potential.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works))
We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.
Madonna
She remembered who she was and the game changed.
Lalah Delia
Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create - this is man.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
I must work harder to achieve my goal of not seeking approval from those whose approval I'm not even sure is important to me.
Lauren Graham (Someday, Someday, Maybe)
Be an Encourager: When you encourage others, you boost their self-esteem, enhance their self-confidence, make them work harder, lift their spirits and make them successful in their endeavors. Encouragement goes straight to the heart and is always available. Be an encourager. Always.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
It's very dramatic when two people come together to work something out. It's easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.
Fred Rogers (The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember)
There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say "It is yet more difficult than you thought." This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
Wendell Berry
We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable. We work with being, but non-being is what we use.
Lao Tzu
Friends are a strange, volatile, contradictory, yet sticky phenomenon. They are made, crafted, shaped, molded, created by focused effort and intent. And yet, true friendship, once recognized, in its essence is effortless. Best friends are formed by time. Everyone is someone's friend, even when they think they are all alone. If the friendship is not working, your heart will know. It's when you start being less than perfectly honest and perfectly earnest in your dealings. And it's when the things you do together no longer feel right. However, sometimes it takes more effort to make it work after all. Stick around long enough to become someone's best friend.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you...it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. It means being able to say, with Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: "I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give. Responsibility to yourself means that you don't fall for shallow and easy solutions--predigested books and ideas...marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short...and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be "different"...The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
Adrienne Rich
Maybe you think you’ll be entitled to more happiness later by forgoing all of it now, but it doesn’t work that way. Happiness takes as much practice as unhappiness does. It’s by living that you live more. By waiting you wait more. Every waiting day makes your life a little less. Every lonely day makes you a little smaller. Every day you put off your life makes you less capable of living it.
Ann Brashares (Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5))
I'm inspired by the people I meet in my travels--hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I'm inspired by the love people have for their children. And I'm inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.
Barack Obama
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.
Richard Dawkins
It turned out this man worked for the Dalai Lama. And she said gently-that they believe when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born-and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose... ...Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. - And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Growing up means learning what life is. When you're little, you have a set of ideals, standards, criteria, plans, outlooks, and you think that you have to sit around and wait for them to happen to you and then life will work. But life isn't like that, for anybody; you can't fall in love with a standard, you have to fall in love with a person. You can't live in a criteria, you have to live your life. You can't wait for your plans to materialize, because they may never materialize the way you think they will. You can't wait to watch your ideals and standards walk up to you, because you can't know what's yours until you have it. I always say, always take the first chance in case you never get a second one, but growing up takes that even one step further, growing up means that you have to hold on to what you have, when you have it, because what you have- that's yours- and all the ideals and criteria you have set in your head, those aren't yours, because those haven't happened to you.
C. JoyBell C.
Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing. Do things without always knowing how they'll turn out. You're curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you're waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.
Randall Munroe (xkcd: volume 0)
I was giving up. I would have given up - if a voice hadn't made itself heard in my heart. The voice said "I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. 'The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared' (Luther).
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community)
Do not love half lovers Do not entertain half friends Do not indulge in works of the half talented Do not live half a life and do not die a half death If you choose silence, then be silent When you speak, do so until you are finished Do not silence yourself to say something And do not speak to be silent If you accept, then express it bluntly Do not mask it If you refuse then be clear about it for an ambiguous refusal is but a weak acceptance Do not accept half a solution Do not believe half truths Do not dream half a dream Do not fantasize about half hopes Half a drink will not quench your thirst Half a meal will not satiate your hunger Half the way will get you no where Half an idea will bear you no results Your other half is not the one you love It is you in another time yet in the same space It is you when you are not Half a life is a life you didn't live, A word you have not said A smile you postponed A love you have not had A friendship you did not know To reach and not arrive Work and not work Attend only to be absent What makes you a stranger to them closest to you and they strangers to you The half is a mere moment of inability but you are able for you are not half a being You are a whole that exists to live a life not half a life
Kahlil Gibran
We human beings don't realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colours and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no one knows how much power they have in their each and every organ until they lose one.
Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban)
The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? No, thank you,' he will think. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning)
We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)
Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfill whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. We all know individuals who did not fulfill the promise they showed in childhood. Many of them became haunted by the image of what they might have become. Instead of blaming fate, I think we should accept ourselves as we are and try to fulfill whatever dreams are within our capability. Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.
Michio Kaku
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.
Chuck Close
Dear Human: You've got it all wrong. You didn't come here to master unconditional love. This is where you came from and where you'll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty Love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of... messing up. Often. You didn't come here to be perfect, you already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And rising again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love in truth doesn't need any adjectives. It doesn't require modifiers. It doesn't require the condition of perfection. It only asks you to show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. Its enough. It's Plenty.
Courtney A. Walsh
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!" At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one.
Loren Eiseley
So tonight I reach for my journal again. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy. What I write in my journal is that I am weak and full of fear. I explain that Depression and Loneliness have shown up, and I’m scared they will never leave. I say that I don’t want to take the drugs anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together. In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled. This is what I find myself writing on the page: I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me. Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand from me to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glance of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment, my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split-second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours!” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar. In a flash instant of course, I realized my mistake and laughed in embarrassment at my almost doglike confusion over how a mirror works. But for some reason that incident comes to mind again tonight during my sadness in Rome, and I find myself writing this comforting reminder at the bottom of the page. Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a FRIEND… I fell asleep holding my notebook pressed against my chest, open to this most recent assurance. In the morning when I wake up, I can still smell a faint trace of depression’s lingering smoke, but he himself is nowhere to be seen. Somewhere during the night, he got up and left. And his buddy loneliness beat it, too.
Elizabeth Gilbert
Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?" "I've felt it all my life," she said.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics…Cretins don’t even talk; they sort of slobber and stumble…Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions. They embarrass everyone but provide material for conversation…Fools don’t claim that cats bark, but they talk about cats when everyone else is talking about dogs. They offend all the rules of conversation, and when they really offend, they’re magnificent…Morons never do the wrong thing. They get their reasoning wrong. Like the fellow who says that all dogs are pets and all dogs bark, and cats are pets, too, therefore cats bark…Morons will occasionally say something that’s right, but they say it for the wrong reason…A lunatic is easily recognized. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The moron proves his thesis; he has logic, however twisted it may be. The lunatic on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars…There are lunatics who don’t bring up the Templars, but those who do are the most insidious. At first they seem normal, then all of a sudden…
Umberto Eco (Foucault’s Pendulum)
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Mary Schmich
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. As we remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” (Mosiah 2:17) we will not find ourselves in the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal "Christmas Carol." Marley spoke sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: 'Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' Marley added: 'Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!' Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. I love his line, 'I am not the man I was.' Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.
Thomas S. Monson
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho