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31 Dragon-Slaying Quotes from ‘Do the Work’ by Steven Pressfield

I have just finished reading the book ‘Do the Work‘ by Trinidadian-born author, Steven Pressfield. This short, powerful read, written in the no-nonsense style of a manifesto, is designed to prepare you to face the dragons that stand in the way of you accomplishing your highest goals. What are these dragons? They are the ones we all face when we attempt to do something we believe in. Among them are fear, self-sabotage, procrastination and self-doubt. They say “present, please” every time we attempt to pursue any important objective—from conquering addiction, to learning how to play a music instrument, to getting over an ex or preparing for a marathon. Whenever we decide to abandon the status quo to become our better selves, fearsome foes appear, and stand in our way, ready to fight us to the finish.

Steven Pressfield knows a thing or two about facing the adversity of procrastination, distraction, perfectionism and ego. As he worked to achieve his dream of becoming a successful writer, he struggled for almost 20 years. Pressfield worked in odd-jobs including being a bartender, picking fruit, driving a tractor, and being an attendant at a mental hospital. He was even homeless, and lived out of the back of his car before finally publishing his first novel, ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’. Steven has brilliantly dissected the opponents of personal success, and labelled them with the catch-all term “Resistance”.

Written from the point of view of a writer, this book is a deafening call to action. Steven Pressfield grabs us by the collar and gives us a sound reminder that accomplishing anything worthwhile is always going to be the hardest thing. No one gets a free pass. It’s always going to be difficult, but it is always going to be worth it.  He teaches us how to recognize resistance, how to marshal the unexpected allies needed to crush Resistance, and how to “ship” i.e. get your project to “The End”.

Do the Work‘ is a quick read, you’ll be finished the 109 pages in an hour or two, but the words will resonate for longer. I hope you will click on the link below to order it and read it for yourself as soon as possible. This will be a powerful weapon in your arsenal, as you clear the path to your own greatness as an entrepreneur, awesome parent, published author or any other important mission you’ve set for yourself. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

Resistance – The Dragon

“On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.” — Steven Pressfield

“The only intercourse possible between the knight and the dragon is battle.” — Steven Pressfield

 

The Dragon is Inside of Me and You

“What comes first is the idea, the passion, the dream of the work we are so excited to create that it scares the hell out of us.”  — Steven Pressfield

“Resistance is the response of the frightened, petty, small-time ego to the brave, generous, magnificent impulse of the creative self.” — Steven Pressfield

“Fear of success is the essence of Resistance.”  — Steven Pressfield

“The opposite of fear is love—love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.” — Steven Pressfield

“Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” — Steven Pressfield

“Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” — Steven Pressfield

“Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill” — Steven Pressfield

 

How to Fight Resistance and Win

“Don’t Prepare. Begin.” — Steven Pressfield

“Fear doesn’t go away. The battle must be fought anew every day.” — Steven Pressfield

“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” — Steven Pressfield

“Don’t think. Act. ” — Steven Pressfield

“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” — Steven Pressfield

“Start before you’re ready. Good things happen when we start before we’re ready.” — Steven Pressfield

“Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional crazy heart.” — Steven Pressfield

“Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway.” — Steven Pressfield

I like the idea of stubbornness because it’s less lofty than “tenacity” or “perseverance.” We don’t have to be heroes to be stubborn. We can just be pains in the butt.” — Steven Pressfield

“Once we commit to action, the worst thing we can do is to stop.What will keep us from stopping? Plain old stubbornness.” — Steven Pressfield

“Research can become Resistance. We want to work, not prepare to work.” — Steven Pressfield

“Get to THE END as if the devil himself were breathing down your neck and poking you in the butt with his pitchfork. Believe me, he is.” — Steven Pressfield

“Figure out where you want to go, then work backwards from there.” — Steven Pressfield

“You are not allowed to judge yourself. Suspending self-judgment doesn’t just mean blowing off the “You suck” voice in our heads. It also means liberating ourselves from conventional expectations—from what we think our work “ought” to be or “should” look like.” — Steven Pressfield

 

There will be Failure Along the Way – This is Guaranteed

“That our project has crashed is not a reflection of our worth as human beings. It’s just a mistake. It’s a problem—and a problem can be solved.” — Steven Pressfield

“A crash means we have failed. We gave it everything we had and we came up short. A crash does not mean we are losers… A crash means we are on the threshold of something new.” — Steven Pressfield

“We can never eliminate Resistance. It will never go away. But we can outsmart it, and we can enlist allies that are as powerful as it is.” — Steven Pressfield

 

Why Fight the Dragon of Resistance?

“There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.” — Steven Pressfield

“If you and I want to do great stuff, we can’t let ourselves work small.” — Steven Pressfield

“When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.” — Steven Pressfield

“Picasso painted with passion, Mozart composed with it. A child plays with it all day long. You may think you’ve lost your passion, or that you can’t identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true.” — Steven Pressfield

“Slay that dragon once, and he will never have power over you again.” — Steven Pressfield

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25 Powerful Quotes from the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher

Image courtesy WikiCommons

 

A Fellow ENTJ

Just this past January, in a discussion of the Myers Briggs (MBTI) personality types, I was reminded of the fact that, like me, Margaret Thatcher is an ENTJ. One of the rarer of the 16 personality types, ENTJ’s are said to make up 2% – 5% of the general population, but only 1% of women. ENTJ is also known as ‘The Executive’, ‘The Field Marshall’, or ‘The CEO’. ENTJs are described as being born leaders, visionaries and long-range planners with high levels of confidence, charisma and personal power. The dark side of the ENTJ personality is that they are perceived as being harsh, judgmental and impatient. ENTJ’s often come across as being forceful to the point of being intimidating, and rational to the point of being cold-hearted. Margaret Thatcher was indeed the prototypical ENTJ.

Early Life and Political Career

Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts on October 13, 1925, the daughter of a grocer and conservative politician. She was active as a young girl, enjoying a range of interests at school including piano, field hockey, poetry and swimming. She showed early signs of leadership, and served as her school’s head girl in her final year. She was bright, and won a scholarship to study chemistry at Oxford University.

Her political career began earlier, and she joined several conservative political groups on campus. Although her working life began as a research chemist, within a few years she had married a wealthy business man, Denis Thatcher, and began studying for the bar. She qualified as a barrister the year her twins were born, and devoted herself to being a full-time politician from that time on.

Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister

By the time, Margaret Thatcher, became Britain’s first female Prime Minister in 1979, the country was in the middle of the worst recession it had seen. Powerful labour unions had ground the country to a halt with long-lasting strikes. Rotting garbage piled up in the streets, and inflation was at an all-time high. The people of Britain agreed that it was time for a change.

As Prime Minister, Ms. Thatcher cut social welfare programs causing her to be dubbed  Margaret “Milk-Snatcher” Thatcher, and Attila the Hen. She privatized many of Britain’s key industries, and reduced trade union power. Her political mandate was uber-conservative. To her mind, the socialist experiment had failed. The government had become too involved in the economy and in people’s lives. She was pro-Capitalism, and pro-free market. Margaret Thatcher was also anti-Communist. Her campaign against the Soviets caused their press to label her “The Iron Lady”, and it was a moniker that stuck with her for life.

Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy

Ms. Thatcher was not always popular, her strong principles and unyielding political style won her many enemies. She refused to stand by and watch as Argentina attempted to claim the Falkland islands as its own, and unhesitatingly went to war. This bold and polarizing action characterized her career, but won her the favor of the British people. They voted her in twice more, making her the longest serving British Prime Minister of the twentieth century.

Margaret Thatcher was strong. She was determined. She was unyielding. This unwillingness to compromise displayed itself in ways that leave a black mark on her legacy, such as her refusal to impose sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid government. While she was said to be a steadfast critic of the system of racial segregation, she never took a political stand against it. Missteps notwithstanding, with nerves of steel, from 1979 to 1990, she led Britain out of economic recession and to victory in war, and left an indelible mark on world politics.

Here are 25 of Margaret Thatcher’s most powerful quotes. They give insight into the workings of an incredible twentieth century leader:

 

Margaret Thatcher on Knowing Who You Are and What You’re About:

  • “Don’t follow the crowd. Let the crowd follow you.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “If you just set out to be liked you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important although difficult is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I wasn’t lucky. I deserved it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside where it functions best.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. ” – Margaret Thatcher

 

Margaret Thatcher on Being a Woman:

  • “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I’ve got a woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” – Margaret Thatcher

 

Margaret Thatcher on Money:

  • “Pennies don’t fall from heaven – they have to be earned here on Earth.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.” – Margaret Thatcher

 

Margaret Thatcher on Having Conviction:

  • “One of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I love argument. I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me – that’s not their job.” – Margaret Thatcher

 

Margaret Thatcher on the Purpose of Hard Work:

  • “What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing and knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day when you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Plan your work for today, and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it should get you pretty near.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – Margaret Thatcher

 

Margaret Thatcher on Being Tenacious:

  • “Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “You turn if you want to. The Lady’s not for turning.” – Margaret Thatcher
  • “I fight on. I fight to win.” – Margaret Thatcher

 

 

Now It’s Your Turn:

What are your thoughts on Margaret Thatcher? Was she a mean and nasty politician with a heart of stone, or was she a strong-willed leader who did what needed to be done during a difficult time for her country? As a fellow ENTJ, I’m sticking up for Maggie. Margaret Thatcher loved her country, and did all she could to keep it great; her heart was in the right place, and her achievements enormous. I’m no political pundit, and she was far from perfect, but her strength of character puts her legacy in a place of honor for me.

For a dramatic turn on Margaret Thatcher’s life and political career, watch the brilliant movie “Iron Lady” in which she is portrayed by Meryl Streep.

What’s your personality type? Are you an ENTJ like me?  Click here to take a short-form version of the test. Post your results in the comments.


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49 Great Quotes from Zig Ziglar

The Human Exclamation Point

“Today is a brand-new day. And it’s yours.” These are the words of the late Zig Ziglar, the American motivational speaker who died in late 2012, at the age of 86. Zig Ziglar was sometimes called “the human exclamation point”. He was always brimming with enthusiasm and positive energy as he led his revival-like “success conventions” until his retirement at age 84. Zig’s pithy maxims were delivered with a characteristic upbeat demeanor and Southern drawl which to some may seem over-simplified and perhaps even shallow. But there is a tremendous depth to his “can do” philosophy of positivity that continues to out -live the man himself.

Zig Ziglar’s Life and Career

Zig Ziglar was born in Alabama the tenth of twelve children and grew up in Mississippi. Zig’s father died when he was only five years old and so he learned to work at an early age, selling vegetables and delivering newspapers to help keep the family fed. A World War II veteran, he served in the United States Navy Training Program while attending the University of South Carolina. In 1944, he met his life-long love, Jean. They married just two years later and remained happily married for sixty-six years. He celebrated his last wedding anniversary just the day before his death. Zig is also survived by two of his three daughters and his son, Tom.

Zig Ziglar’s motivational career began by accident in 1965 when he filled in at a motivational seminar for a speaker who did not turn up. By then, he had established himself in a successful career in sales. After years of constantly changing locations, Zig was soon to be appointed as Vice President and Training Director of an automotive company and settled in Texas permanently. In 1974, after becoming a born again Christian, he wrote his first book ‘See You at the Top‘. The book was originally rejected by over 30 publishers but went on to become his most successful work. He went on to write over two dozen more books with titles such as ‘Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World‘, ‘Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World‘ and ‘Born to Win‘.

A Lasting Legacy of Positivity

Zig Ziglar books, speeches and even his very life extolled the virtues of not just positive thinking, but the importance of positive action as a key to success and the advantages of living a balanced life. Zig Ziglar’s life was a living testimony of the wisdom of his words. He practiced what he preached; he was a loving husband and father, church and community leader and a successful business person. Zig Ziglar was an inspiration to many thousands and perhaps millions of people. I hope that you find the quotes I have selected don’t just make you feel good for the moment, but inspire you to working harder and living a happier, more purposeful and productive life.

 

Zig Ziglar on success:

“Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.” — Zig Ziglar

“It’s not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life; it is how you handle what happens to you.” — Zig Ziglar

“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar

“Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” — Zig Ziglar

“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale.” — Zig Ziglar

“Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success.” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on working hard:

“There is little you can learn from doing nothing.” — Zig Ziglar

“Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.”

“The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little.” — Zig Ziglar

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” — Zig Ziglar

“When you are tough on yourself, life is going to be infinitely easier on you.” — Zig Ziglar

“Every success is built on the ability to do better than good enough.” — Zig Ziglar

“Everybody says they want to be free. Take the train off the tracks and it’s free-but it can’t go anywhere.” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on kindness and friendship:

“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” — Zig Ziglar

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

“Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give them yours.” — Zig Ziglar

“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.” — Zig Ziglar

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”

“The way you see people is the way you treat them.” — Zig Ziglar

“Every obnoxious act is a cry for help.” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on motivation:

“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar

“Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it.” — Zig Ziglar

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember ~ the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” — Zig Ziglar

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission” — Zig Ziglar

“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on attitude:

“You can succeed at almost anything for which you have unbridled enthusiasm.” — Zig Ziglar

“Ask yourself a question: Is my attitude worth catching?” — Zig Ziglar

“Life is too short to spend your precious time trying to convince a person who wants to live in gloom and doom otherwise. Give lifting that person your best shot, but don’t hang around long enough for his or her bad attitude to pull you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic people.” — Zig Ziglar

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” — Zig Ziglar

“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” — Zig Ziglar

“You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on character:

“If you’re sincere, praise is effective. If you’re insincere, it’s manipulative.” — Zig Ziglar

“You cannot perform in a manner inconsistent with the way you see yourself.” — Zig Ziglar

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.” — Zig Ziglar

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” — Zig Ziglar

“Make today worth remembering.”

“Every choice you make has an end result.” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on happiness:

“Happiness is not pleasure, it is victory.” — Zig Ziglar

“If standard of living is your major objective, quality of life almost never improves, but if quality of life is your number one objective, your standard of living almost always improves.” — Zig Ziglar

“Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.” — Zig Ziglar

“The more you are grateful for what you have the more you will have to be grateful for” — Zig Ziglar

 

Zig Ziglar on failure:

“If you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.” — Zig Ziglar

“Failure is an event not a person” — Zig Ziglar

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now” — Zig Ziglar

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” — Zig Ziglar

“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” — Zig Ziglar

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” — Zig Ziglar

 

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A Century of Wisdom: 34 Quotes from the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

Monday, November 26, 2012 – Alice Herz Sommer celebrates her 109th birthday. Living alone in a small London apartment, this amazing woman is the world’s oldest living holocaust survivor. A former concert pianist, Alice has been playing the piano since she was five years old. Using only eight fingers, Alice still practices for hours every day. Alice’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit. She and her six-year old son survived two years in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt, escaping almost certain death. She has witnessed unspeakable cruelty, watching hundreds go to their deaths in the gas chambers or through sickness and starvation. And yet, this living hero has never stopped smiling. This ever-laughing centenarian credits her longevity to a lifetime of optimism.

In commemoration of Alice’s 109th birthday, I would like to share with you some of the wisdom of Alice Herz Sommer – gained from living nearly 40,000 of the most richly textured days.

 

Alice Herz Sommer – On Education

School is only the beginning; we can learn all our lives.

No one can rob your mind.

Education of the children is the most important family value.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Friendship

I love people. I am interested in the lives of others.

Understanding of others can lead to peace.

We do not need things, friends are precious.

Be kind, kindness is free, it costs you nothing, and the rewards are great for everyone.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Laughter

A sense of humor keeps us balanced in all circumstances, even death.

Laugher is wonderful. It makes you, and everyone else feel happy.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Life

We need to treasure time. Every moment that passes is gone forever.

Only when we are old do we realize the beauty of life.

Everything we experience is a gift. Everything is a present.

I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times – including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Marriage

In marriage, friendship is more important than romantic love.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Motherhood

How can any woman ever be unhappy after she has seen her infant’s first smile?

It was my greatest privilege to raise my son.

A mother’s love is a child’s only fortress against the world, come what may.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Music

I am richer than the world’s richest people, because I am a musician.

Children must study music, it helps with everything in life.

Music saved my life and music saves me still.

There was no food. Music was our food. Through music we were kept alive.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Optimism

My optimism has helped me through my darkest days. It helps me now.

Always look for the good things in life: the world is wonderful, it’s full of beauty and miracles.

When you are optimistic, when you are not complaining, when you look at the good side of your life, everybody loves you.

Every day in life is beautiful – if we only look up from our reality.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Parenting

Reason with your children, never use harsh words.

Patience, kindness and love, this is the food a child needs.

To survive, a child must never, never doubt your love.

Children need unconditional love to grow and develop into full human beings.

School is important, but what children learn in the atmosphere of their homes lasts for life.

Alice Herz Sommer – To Single Women

Have sex. Have fun. Have someone in your life, but don’t tie yourself down in marriage. Cherish your freedom… Take care of your career, your life.

Alice Herz Sommer – On Work

Love to work. When you love your work, you are never bored. Boredom is unhealthy.

When we love our work, we can enjoy a sense of achievement, every small achievement.

Work is the best invention.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post ‘Today I’m Inspired by: Alice Herz Sommer‘ about Alice’s awe-inspiring life, and and some of the lessons we can learn from her. Very recently, I was contacted by Caroline Stoessinger, the author of ‘A Century of Wisdom‘ a touching biography of a Alice’s noteworthy life.

In honor of Alice’s 109th birthday, Ms. Stoessinger will be donating all the proceeds from the sale of her book to the Alice Herz-Sommer Scholarship Fund at the Music Academy of Jerusalem where Alice taught for 37 of her happiest years. Please consider buying and reading this wonderfully enriching biography of an extraordinary woman, and helping a worthy cause.

 

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21 Inspiring Quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born the son of a minister in Boston, Massachusetts in 1803. After attending the prestigious Harvard College, Emerson initially followed in his father’s footsteps and became an ordained minister. While still a young man, however, he left the clergy to pursue a career as an essayist and public speaker. Over the course of his career, he became one of the most influential nineteenth century literary figures. His two most famous works, essays ‘Nature’ and ‘Self Reliance’ serve to clearly outline his distinct philosophy of life which emphasized optimism, individuality, the unity of all things, the difference between right and wrong and the power of human potential.

Here are 21 of his most inspiring quotes:

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson – On achieving your dreams

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Ralph Waldo Emerson – On optimism

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Ralph Waldo Emerson – On personal growth

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Ralph Waldo Emerson – On using time wisely

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting… Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Ralph Waldo Emerson – On recognizing greatness in others

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson – On friendship and love

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Love, and you shall be loved.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson – On character.

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson – On gratitude

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson – On starting each day anew

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson – On not taking life too seriously

“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Promise Yourself…

 

Promise yourself to think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds. Christian D. Larson wrote these words one hundred years ago. He realized that self-confidence combined with humility is a prerequisite for personal achievement.

When you think well of yourself — I am thoughtful, I am kind, I am productive, I am a positive person, I am considerate of other people, I am creative, I am diligent at work, I am punctual — you will naturally make your best effort to give expression to those thoughts as you go through your day. On the other hand, if you persistently think of yourself as weak, lazy, selfish, limited, then these traits will gain tangible expression in your life. People who experience a lack of self-confidence feel restricted by their own limiting thoughts; deep down inside they don’t feel good about themselves. Consistently thinking negative thoughts about yourself creates a ‘bad reputation’ of yourself within you. This lack of self-worth then gains expression through low levels of achievement and a general dissatisfaction with your life.

It is natural to question your own positive opinions about yourself. Having self-worth does not mean trying to hypnotize yourself into thinking that you’re perfect or better than you truly are. Self confidence is not an indication of a lack of humility. True self confidence requires a level of comfort with your insecurities and imperfections. Being aware of your flaws empowers you to work to improve them. If you think of yourself as a kind person, you will be more likely to act in accordance with that perception.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to recognize your self-worth; it is your most important psychological resource. Thinking well of yourself is not about bragging or bringing attention to yourself. It is, rather, an abundance of recognition and gratitude for all the blessings you’ve been given. When you are deeply aware of your talents and potential, you don’t want to see those abilities go to waste. Having a sense of self-worth means being aware of the good that is within you. Tapping into the awareness of your own potential inspires action; it creates a hunger for expression. Thinking well of yourself creates a sense of responsibility and empowers you to go out and do great things. When you expect more from yourself, you do more.

Here are four great reasons to take the time to think great thoughts about yourself every day and develop a good sense of self worth:

1. The world becomes a beautiful place filled with possibility; life will seem less difficult, the universe less scary.
2. You will be better able to cope with adversity and challenges when they come along.
3. You will be more open to others, and less likely to see those around you as a threat.
4. You will be more inclined to treat others well and your friendships and relationships will improve.
5. You will be happier; without constantly thinking you don’t measure up, you will find joy in just being you.

You are unique. You are amazing in so many ways. There are greater powers and possibilities within you than you know, and those possibilities are limitless. You can do more and be more than you have in the past, but you must intend it. Intention starts with thought. Think great thoughts of yourself and live up to them by the things that you do. Go out and act like the person you know you can be. Proclaim your greatness to the world today! You wouldn’t want to disappoint yourself, now would you?

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Be That Great Generation

If you still don’t know who Joseph Kony is or haven’t heard about the Kony 2012 campaign, then consider yourself a modern-day Rip van Winkle. Here it is in a nutshell:

Joseph Kony is a Ugandan warlord who came to power through religious family ties. His aunt was her tribe’s mystic and started the Holy Spirit Movement. Kony asserts that he is a prophet sent from God to purify Uganda and to bring peace under the rule of the Ten Commandments. As the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Kony has been engaged in a monstrous campaign to set up theocratic leadership in the African nation since 1986.

Over the last 26 years the LRA have abducted and enslaved an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 children, forcing them into sex slavery and into the service of a militant child army. Young boys are armed and taught to kill, often starting with the execution of their own families. The LRA has systematically terrorized communities not only in Uganda, but also the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic. In 2005, Joseph Kony was indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, but has since evaded capture.

And now, Jason Russell wants you to stop Joseph Kony. Russell is the co-founder of Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to informing young people around the world about the atrocities being committed by Kony and the LRA. What began as a small grassroots organization in San Diego, California is now hundreds of thousands members strong. Invisible Children believes that, through the connective power of social media, we are that generation that can make a difference.

As this issue swirls to the forefront, a myriad of counter-arguments have arisen. Objections range from scoffing at the thought that attempting to stop a warlord through twitter is naive, to criticism that asserts that capturing Kony is an oversimplification of the problem, and will not stop the LRA. There have been serious allegations that supporting the “good guys” means supporting a potentially equally corrupt and dangerous Ugandan military. There is no denying that the ongoing strife in Uganda is a deeply nuanced and complex issue.

The question is, which side of history do you want to be on? If we were to rewind seventy years to the era of the Third Reich. Had there been a facebook, twitter and youtube, would you have sat in silence when given the opportunity to raise your voice? Or would you have joined the movement condemning the massacre of millions of innocent Jews and to stop Adolph Hitler? War criminals tend to enjoy their anonymity so that their blood-letting can continue uninterrupted. At the very least the Kony 2012 campaign is a powerful tool to raise awareness of an intolerable situation which has existed for far too long. If successful in its mission, Kony 2012 can lead to an improved quality of life for thousands of children and an entire region.

The Kony regime is a disgrace that spans 25 years of violence, there will be no tidy resolution. So what are you going to do? Will you sit on the fence waiting for the perfect cause to support? There are no perfect causes, just like their are no perfect people. Nelson Mandela was not perfect, Jason Russell is not perfect, and neither are you and I. Before you support any cause, know what you’re supporting. Do as much research as you feel is necessary but, for goodness sake, do something. I am on the side of the argument that says evil prevails when good people do nothing. Let your greatness blossom. Use your clicks to take a stand. Please watch the 30-minute video, and visit Invisible Children to learn more.

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Today I’m Inspired by: Bob Marley

Growing up in the seventies and eighties on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean, Bob Marley’s music was everywhere. From the soul-stirring “No Woman, No Cry” to the doleful “Redemption Song”, to the militant “War”, to the upbeat “Jammin”, his music will forever be part of the fiber of my being. As Jann Wanner put it, “Bob Marley was the Third World’s first pop superstar. He was the man who introduced the world to the mystic power of reggae. He was a true rocker at heart, and as a songwriter, he brought the lyrical force of Bob Dylan, the personal charisma of John Lennon, and the essential vocal stylings of Smokey Robinson into one voice.”

Although Bob Marley died prematurely in 1981, at the age of 36, his compilation album “Legend”, released posthumously in 1984, has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. His 1977 album “Exodus” was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine in 1999, and his song “One Love” was designated Song of the Millennium by the BBC.

The beauty and timelessness of Bob Marley’s music have evolved him into a global icon of almost mythical proportions. His uplifting messages of love, the power of the human spirit and the unity of mankind resonate with our souls. He was not just an entertainer, but a musical activist, a prophet, who spoke out on themes of morality, social justice, politics, fashion, philosophy and religion. His music stirs our highest yearnings and touches our deepest needs.

Enjoy one of my favorite Bob Marley feel-good tunes, Three Little Birds, and be sure to catch the Kevin MacDonald documentary on Bob Marley’s life in theaters April 20th.

 

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Today I’m Inspired by: James De La Vega

James De La Vega is a controversial visual artist and graffitist. He has become famous for the murals he creates all over Spanish Harlem and in the rest of New York City. His drawings show up all over public surfaces such as sidewalks, cardboard boxes and old furniture and are usually accompanied by a pithy, inspirational epigrams.

James De La Vega was born in East Harlem, and studied at York Preparatory School and later at Cornell University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1994. De La Vega continued his studies at the Sorbonne and University of Oxford. While he lives in in Soho, he also works Paris, Italy, and Tokyo. In 2004, Salon.com called him “probably the most revered street artist in New York.

Today I would like to share some of his work with you. If you’ve been looking for a sign, here it is. But first you have to dream…

Copyright Dave Beckerman

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Promise Yourself…

“Promise yourself to today to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.” ~Christian D. Larson

Christian D. Larson penned these inspiring words in 1912. They appeared in his book ‘Your Forces and How to Use Them‘ (now in the public domain) and form part of what has become known as the Optimist Creed, adopted by Optimist clubs worldwide. These beautiful words have been inspiring me for years and I hope they touch your life, too.

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Promise Yourself…

“Promise yourself to wear a cheerful expression at all times, and give a smile to every living creature you meet.” ~Christian D. Larson

Christian D. Larson penned these inspiring words in 1912. They appeared in his book ‘Your Forces and How to Use Them‘ (now in the public domain) and form part of what has become known as the Optimist Creed, adopted by Optimist clubs worldwide. These beautiful words have been inspiring me for years and I hope they touch your life, too.

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Promise Yourself…

“Promise yourself to today to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.” ~Christian D. Larson

Christian D. Larson penned these inspiring words in 1912. They appeared in his book ‘Your Forces and How to Use Them‘ (now in the public domain) and form part of what has become known as the Optimist Creed, adopted by Optimist clubs worldwide. These beautiful words have been inspiring me for years and I hope they do the same for you.