Think about how many sayings you’ve heard over the years. Most of them probably seem trite or corny, but almost everyone has one or two that have become more like personal philosophies. You might find yourself tossing in a few memorable quotes in regular conversation from time to time, or take on a few favorites as mantras for your personal or professional life. Have you ever thought about why you keep returning to those few phrases over and over?
For me, a great quote captures a particular moment or feeling. I particularly love words of wisdom that are witty or motivational—something to make me laugh out loud or provide an extra boost when I need it.
I believe in sharing, so I’m passing along a few of my favorites. These are just a few of the most effective ones that I’ve heard over the years and come back to when I face new challenges:
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” – Anonymous
I wish I knew who came up with this saying because I’ve adopted it as a professional mantra of sorts, and I feel I should give credit where credit is due! However, including it on my list here will have to suffice. This takes the old saying about “waiting for your ship to come in” (getting that big break) and turning it on its head—meaning, you may not get that big break if you sit around waiting for it. Sometimes you have to pursue opportunities rather than be passive. I fully believe in this idea, and it’s certainly been true for me more than once.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Bernard Shaw
This quote would be on my list of Top Ten Favorites. It’s a great reminder that no matter your age, income level, background, or position in life, it’s never too late to go after your passion. You may not be where you’d like to be personally or professionally, but there are plenty of late-in-life success stories that can serve as motivators to get you started. Look at Frank McCourt, who was over 60 when his memoir Angela’s Ashes was published. Or George Dawson, the grandson of a slave who was 98 years old when he learned how to read. He later wrote Life Is So Good, a memoir about his journey, at the ripe old age of 101! Of course, your goal may not have to wait until your retirement—you can start putting small changes in place right now that will help you get to where you want to be.
“They say you can’t do it, but remember, that doesn’t always work.” – Casey Stengal
There are few things more satisfying in life than proving our doubters wrong—a sentiment Casey Stengal states very simply and effectively. While it’s true that not everyone is going to rock at everything, you might surprise yourself (and others) by what works. Sometimes you just have to take the risk and put yourself out there. The uncertainty is what keeps most people from taking that risk. Think of all of the major CEO’s who believed in themselves and their ideas enough to pursue their idea, despite whatever criticism they may have faced.
“All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it comes to danger. True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid…” – L. Frank Baum
I had to include one quote that appeals to my literary side, and this one seems to capture motivation and overcoming fear perfectly. Many of us second-guess our abilities so much, we talk ourselves out of taking that first step toward whatever it is we want to do. That persistent fear of failure (or success, for that matter) can hold us back. Granted, we may not be facing mortal danger like our friends in The Wizard of Oz, but plenty of other intimidating scenarios can hold us back. The truly brave ones ignore the pangs of fear and self-doubt and go after what they want.
“Just go out there and do what you have to do.” – Anonymous
To me, this sums it up perfectly. Sometimes there’s no other choice but to just get something done. There are moments in life, no matter how much you love your work, when you have to really psych yourself up to complete something. It could be a work-related or household project, a meeting or appointment you’ve been putting off, or another demand on your time and energy when you’re mentally and physically spent. In those difficult moments, the best thing you can do is keep your head down and power through everything you have to get done.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes? Please share them in the comments.
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