Everyone wants to be known for something. You might watch explorers on the National Geographic Channel, read about Nobel Prize-winning innovators, or follow fictional characters to live vicariously through their adventures. But when you reflect on your situation right now, are you doing everything you can to live the life you’ve always dreamed of?
Although you might not be elected president or become beatified, you can still harness your inner strengths to achieve your own definition of greatness. But first, you have to get out and start living.
When you’re feeling down in the dumps or just want that extra boost of motivation, these words from some of history’s brightest minds are sure to inspire you to take control of your destiny.
10. “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” — Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is best known for his eccentric storybooks and characters, but you’ll also find his refreshingly witty and inspiring quotes adorning cubicle walls around the world. That reflects the universal nature of his insights. No matter where you are in the world, his words will speak to you.
Many times, we forget to live in the moment — especially in times of stress. But these trying times are the ones that teach us the most valuable life lessons. The real tragedy occurs when we fail to see the value in both good and bad experiences. It all starts with perspective. Don’t breeze through life without recognizing and learning from mistakes and triumphs. Take time to reflect on these situations, but never forget to live in the moment.
9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” — Nelson Mandela
At one point or another, you’ll face a challenge that tests your inner strength and faith in humanity. These are the moments that will define you as a person.
The best advice I ever got was to trust my instincts and never give up, and it paid off. Although I can’t necessarily relate to Nelson Mandela’s life journey, I can connect with his words. When it feels like your work is leading you in circles or your contributions are being ignored, keep pushing forward. Even if no one is watching, you’ll achieve fulfillment and contentment, and that alone is worth the fight. Just imagine what would happen if more of us realized that difficulties in life are simply intended to reveal inner strength. There would be an army of us waiting to conquer the world every day.
8.“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”
— Vince Lombardi
I wish I could’ve played in the NFL simply to have Vince Lombardi as my coach. Just five minutes in a locker room with his encouraging words could’ve inspired anyone to suit up and hit the gridiron like a gladiator.
Coaches are meant to motivate and cultivate the very best abilities in their players. But not many know how to do it like Lombardi. To successfully motivate a roomful of people with varying personalities and skill levels is a gift.
You don’t have to be a football fanatic or even know much about sports to feel uplifted by his wisdom. If fact, there’s a good chance you’ve read his words — or even quoted him — without realizing it.
7. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou
A respected author and poet, Maya Angelou was a strong-willed woman who understood the simplicity of life. You might be prepared for life to hand you lemons, but what happens when you come up with oranges instead? Some of us will throw in the towel, while others will see the potential behind the new-found gift.
Don’t just throw away the oranges (or whatever life gives you). Find a way to change your situation. And if that isn’t possible, learn to make the best of what you have. If you can perceive every unexpected situation as an opportunity rather than a setback, you’ll start ridding your life of negativity. And without this weight holding you down, you can begin enjoying life and seeing the potential in every situation instead of complaining about it.
6. “You’ve always had the power … you just had to learn it for yourself.”
— Glinda the Good Witch of the North from “The Wizard of Oz”
There’s no greater critic than you, and many times, it’s your own self-doubt and fears that hold you back. You might have abilities you never realized, and only through living will you learn to tap into your true potential and uncover your hidden strengths.
As you grow older, each milestone you reach will lend a little more experience, and that will help you approach the next obstacle with renewed confidence and wisdom. Don’t live in the past. There are a million reasons you can fail. You just have to believe in yourself. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on every chance you don’t take.
5. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” — Steve Jobs
Material possessions and status won’t lead to sustained happiness. Living a life of purpose is what motivates and encourages you to wake up every day and face any obstacle in your path. And this happiness has a domino effect. As long as you do what you love and love what you do, the rest will fall into place, and you’ll have enough money.
It took a while before I understood that there’s no “right time” to do anything. I was wasting time going through the motions to live a comfortable life instead doing what I truly love.
Steve Jobs pursued his passions, and that made his path easier. But we can achieve the same fulfillment in life without having to invent the Mac, iPod, or iPhone.
4. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
— Coco Chanel
Few people say what they mean, aside from those “no filter” friends or foes we have in our lives or have already pushed away. But how liberating would it be if all people had the strength to voice their opinions and beliefs without the fear of retribution? When saying the wrong thing at school, work, or even a grocery store can cue the drama, most of us would rather stay quiet to avoid these potentially unnerving situations.
But saying what you mean doesn’t constitute bad-mouthing. It simply means exercising your freedom of speech and making it a priority. No person should fear disagreeing with someone. Testing and challenging each other’s opinions and beliefs is what pushes us to explore new perspectives, learn about ourselves, and progress.
3. “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” — Mother Teresa
Not many people truly live for others, but Mother Teresa devoted her entire life to those around her. She found solace in surrounding herself with the poorest and most diseased people on Earth and spreading happiness among them. Unfortunately, her death was overshadowed by the royal wake of Princess Diana, but her legacy far outshines many who have come before her.
On days when you don’t want to get out of bed and face the world, use that negative energy to fuel your creativity and break out of your routine. Every day is a gift. Why exert energy bringing down people when you have the power to improve their lives with your words and actions? Life is too short to waste one moment doing anything that doesn’t bring happiness to you or those around you.
2. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln
Whether at school, work, or home, we have all been asked to lead at one time or another. Maybe you were captain of the kickball team, led a company project, or simply were the first car in line at a red light on a one-lane street. This taste of power tested your true character and reflected what your leadership ability would be if you really held all the cards or called all the shots.
If you’re ever given an opportunity to lead, follow the advice of President Abraham Lincoln and think about how your power is affecting those around you. Instead of focusing on what you want done, take the time to consider how you can inspire and motivate others to work with you. Only then will others perceive you as a trusted and respected leader.
1. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every day, you’re slowly forging the path to your own destiny. If you spend each day curled up on the couch, you can’t expect to be anything more than mediocre.
Unfortunately, the fear of rejection, ridicule, or even criticism holds so many of us back, but you need to strike the right balance to achieve greatness. Stop thinking so hard about your fears or waiting for the universe to change you, and start acting like the person you want to become. If you ever feel stuck in a certain life or position, remember that you have total control over the person you are each day and the power to stop and change directions at any moment.
Not everyone will end up leading a nation, setting Guinness World Records, or starring in an Academy Award-winning film. But that doesn’t mean you can’t live a meaningful life. As long as you do what you love, spread joy everywhere you go, and take control of your fears and destiny, you’ll start making the most of each moment and discovering what true happiness is all about.
Daniel Wesley founded Quote.com to provide consumers with car insurance quotes from leading carriers.