There are some of us who absolutely love inspirational quotes and then there are others who absolutely hate them. It does not matter which side of the fence you are, the fact is that inspirational quotes are everywhere. We find them in newspapers, advertisements, magazines, websites, our emails, facebook, twitter, pinterest and any other place where we spend our time. I still remember my college days when internet was still in its nascent stage and all the stuff we had to find was either in libraries or bookshops. We would buy posters which would have inspirational quotes written on them and hang them around our college hostels and rooms.
Each quote we chose had a lot of meaning for us. These days most of us see a quote somewhere and are quick to forward them to a friend or post it on Facebook or Twitter. Sharing is a great gesture and for all you know it could change the life for someone. However, what’s important is that beyond just liking the quote, we also sincerely look at understanding it and learning how to implement the message within the quote into our lives. That’s when we will really start to understand, absorb and benefit from the quotes.
Just like you, I come across a number of quotes almost on a daily basis, however there are a few which have had a lasting impact on me and have influenced my life in many ways. They are what I call my Guiding Light whenever I need some inspiration. Here is the list of my top inspirational quotes/sayings/aphorisms.
8. I’m going to brainwash myself with everything that’s positive around me.
The underlying goal for me in this is to Stay Positive. A lot has been talked about positive thinking. It’s probably one of the most widely misunderstood and misinterpreted things. Positive thinking is very heard, very read but not practiced enough. Positive thinking does not mean trying to see the best in every situation. On the contrary it means accepting the result and creating positive thoughts irrespective of the outcome. This requires a positive attitude. Our attitudes are influenced by our thoughts and our thoughts are influenced by the information we take in. So the essence of this aphorism is to be careful of what information we feed ourselves. If all we expose our minds is to negativity and discouraging news, that will reflect in your thoughts and in turn on your attitude. So, if you get the foundation wrong (i.e. the information), then its very difficult to stay positive. Feed yourself daily doses of motivation and surround yourself with people who will encourage you to become your best.
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7. If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm
This is a very famous African proverb. The key message for me here is to Conquer Fear. When you try and go to the depths of this, you understand that at the end of the day fear is really only a state of mind. There is nothing outside of us that can create fear in us. Yes, the stimulus may come from the outside, however it is WE who create the thoughts of fear. It are these thoughts within us which we call fear. For example one of the most talked about fears is the fear of public speaking. When you look at this closely, what do people really fear about public speaking. Forgetting their lines, saying something silly, making a mistake and so on. The fear here is actually to be standing in a position where we feel embarrassed in front of an audience. It’s really the thoughts we create of being embarrassed in front of people is what we call fear. Learn how to take action despite these thoughts and you have conquered fear. Taking action is the biggest antidote for FEAR!
6. I will not die with the music in me. I will die trying but I will keep trying.
This one is straight and simple for me. The message is something all of us learnt as kids. Try, Try till you succeed . Coming up with excuses and giving up are 2 of the easiest things to do when things are not working out for you. Every time we come up with excuses, we give ourselves a reason for not trying. BUT is an argument for our limitations. When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them. Giving up is very similar. When you give up the first time, you make it easier on yourself to give up the second time and the next time. Before you know it becomes a habit and you stop thinking before deciding to quit. So the next time you think about quitting think about what Les Brown said, ” It’s not over untill I win”
5. I never have bad days. I only have character building days!
I had a tough time accepting this one, but I think I’m getting there. The essence of this aphorism is simply “Adversity introduces a man to himself”. On first glance you could look at it and say it’s one of those positive thinking messages that people come up with. However when you look closely at your life, you will realise that had it not been for those so called “bad days”, you would not be who you are today. Tough times push us out of our comfort zone and often put us in front of our biggest fears and shortcomings. Learning and growth happens the most when we are faced with challenges. Dont take my word for it. Think about all those things you possess today in terms of skills, character or personality. Think about how you acquired them and you will find out that all of them were acquired during the difficult days in your life. So the next time you think you are having a bad day, remember that life is trying to teach you something. You may not see it in the moment, but it still is there.
4. He who learns the most, earns the most
C.S Lewis captured the essence of this very beautifully when he said “You are never too old to learn, never too young to teach”. Learning should not be limited to reading books, watching videos, attending seminars, etc. See every opportunity in your life as a learning opportunity. One of my favourite spiritual teachers Sadhguru often talks about how much life itself teaches us, only if we are aware and observe. When I use the word earn here it does not mean earning money, although it is equally applicable. By earning I mean acquiring the thing which you desire the most be it money, knowledge, fame, enlightenment or anything else.
3. Don’t just go through life, GROW through it.
There are 2 words to summarise the above.PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. Most of us go through life sleepwalking. I’m amazed when people tell me that all they are trying to do is make a living. Surely we did not come here just to make a living. Dont be a spectator in the game of your life. Get in there and become a player. Unless you challenge yourself to things beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow. Take an inventory of your life from time to time. What books do you read, who are your friends, what are your beliefs, what have you learnt in the past year, what is my philosophy in life, etc. Analyse these and ask yourself if they are helping you grow. You may ask what’s wrong with living life without causing all this turmoil. There’s nothing wrong I say, but there is nothing right either. The choice is yours!
2. If I must be free I must be me
This one and the next one are my all time favourites. Together they summarise every other philosophy or ideology. This one has a very simple message. BE YOURSELF. I liked a quote which Is saw on a friends T-shirt which read ” You are UNIQUE, just like everyone else”. For me this quote goes beyond just the superficial appearances. It’s all about how we can become aware and realise our true potential as a human being. Each one of us is a masterpiece creation of the divine power. Each one of us has a unique combination of skills, qualities and purpose here and our job is to become aware of this and seek its manifestation of this through our Karma. Dont despair because you are not as good as someone else or that you are not able to do something which others do with ease. Realise that if you want to be free from the bonds of stress, tension and anxiety then you must stop comparing yourself and walk your own path. Do what makes you happy. Do it because you want to do it, not because you have to do it.
1. If it is to be it is up to me
This line has been referred to as the most powerful sentence that can be formed using 2 letter words. The message is very simple but probably one of the toughest to adopt and bring into our lives. The message is simply that “I AM RESPONSIBLE”. For everything that I am today, i take full responsibility for it because it is something which I have created in my life. It’s very easy to blame people and circumstances in our lives for our situation. However the truth is that all of these are just circumstances and circumstances or situations by themselves cannot cause us harm. It is our attitude and response to these situations which decides our destiny. All of the self help, spiritual, personal development gurus, teachers, books, blogs, etc are all trying to teach us this simple truth. There is only 1 corner of the world that we can really change…. Ourselves.
I would love to hear about your favourite quote. What is it that touched you so deeply that it has become a part of your DNA? Please leave your comments below.