10 Quotes to Live Life By
Photo by Tangent~A; creative commons license
Think about it. Your favorite quotes are probably good guidelines for how you live your life–or would like to. Mine tend to be about movement, possibly because I hate standing still, hate stagnation, and feel I need to keep moving. They also tend to be about journeys and blazing my own trails regardless of popular opinion.
1. Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking. — Antonio Marchado
I don’t mind being the first to try something. In fact, if I can be first, I prefer it. There’s a thrill in making my own path, and if others follow the precedent I’ve set and it makes life easier for them, that’s great, too.
2. If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room. — African Proverb
I like the idea of living life with passion, and that’s what this quote says to me. Push the envelope. Try new things. Intensity!
3. If it’s something I want, then it’s something I need; I wasn’t built for comfort I was built for speed. –“Bad for Good” by Jim Steinman
This was my mantra early in my career and when I was first known as an uber-reformer in my job. Pushing the envelope meant making some people uncomfortable because most people are comfortable with things as they are and don’t want change even when it’s a good thing. I streamlined and reformed and got things done both well and quickly, and when I wanted to make something happen, it became a necessity for me to see it through.
4. Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?– The Book of Job
This is a reminder to me not to listen to negative and unhappy people, even friends and family I love, because often they don’t really know my motivations or the depth of my emotions or speak out of their own fears. It’s a good reflection of my daughter’s golden words to me when well-meaning people were driving me crazy: Don’t take advice from unhappy people.
5. There are no statues to critics, only to those who are criticized. — various, including Timothy Ferriss, The Four Hour Workweek
I’ve always heard that it’s easy to criticize and hard to create, but sometimes it’s disheartening to create something and have negative people harp on what they don’t like about it or why it probably won’t work or how things like that never do well and then tell you they’re being “realistic.” I’ve never encountered anyone who said he was being “realistic” who wasn’t actually being extremely negative. So this quote is a reminder to me to push forward and do what I need to do and not to worry about small-minded naysayers and fault-finders.
6. In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. –Dante
If the journey of our life is around 72 years and Dante was in his mid-30’s when he wrote this quote, then I think it makes an excellent mid-life crisis-slash-transformation reminder. At around 40, you meet yourself in the Dark and have to shine a few lights to get rid of some of the shadows that have built up. It’s a time of re-assessing, and you can only see the path you’ve been on when you stop and look back at it, especially when the way ahead feels more unknown than ever.
7. Jump or be pushed, the Universe said. It’s your choice. –Lorna Tedder
Okay, so this is a quote of my own, but it sums up that feeling of a breakthrough, when you know things cannot go on as they have and you must decide to take action. And if you can’t take action, the Universe will make things bad enough that you must take action. It’s your choice to take the leap or let the situation push you into it. Looking back, I’ve discovered that the leap or the fall is usually to prepare a way for something much, much better.
8. Be bold, and mighty forces shall come to your aid. — Goethe
I’m not a shy person, but I do tend to be a quiet person in face to face situations, partly because I’m very soft-spoken and not a yeller. I’m easy-going and unabrasive, mostly. Sometimes I have to remind myself to be very assertive, aggressive even, to make myself heard.
9. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost
It’s fundamental to my nature to do something different, to live life on my own terms. The last thing I want is to be like everyone else. That was hard to adjust to in middle school and a few times since, but I’ve come to relish taking unique directions, especially with unique people.
10. I never saved anything for the swim back. – “Gattaca”
In the movie “Gattaca,” the genetically engineered-to-perfection brother is bigger, stronger, better, everything, than his flawed older brother. A turning point in the movie is when the flawed brother outswims his perfect sibling and saves him from drowning. Years later, he reveals how he managed the feat–he didn’t save any energy for the way back to the safety of the shore. This quote has been very meaningful to me in the past few months, highlighted for me by two different men who’ve come into my life and noted this quote as one of their favorites at the exact moment I spoke of it. That’s how I’m trying to live my life now–not saving anything for some future project or relationship but spending all of my energy and passion on what’s here now.
What are your favorite quotes? And what do they say about you?