Miscellaneous quotations, observations and realizations to improve your day
Here are quotations and observations that I resonate with me. Read and ponder these thoughts during your day to help yourself look at life's situations from different perspectives. (I attribute quotes to the author where I can, but I don't remember the source of others - If you notice that any quotations are attributed incorrectly, please let me know)
The present is all that you have. You don't exist in the future, the past is past and you are where you are. Enjoy good circumstances when they come to you. Do today's work today. Don't procrastinate and don't let your work pile up because then you are creating work for tomorrow, for yourself. If you haven't completed your "To-Do" list for today, then don't let it just slide over for tomorrow. Make it a priority to live in the present, fully, all the time and not be wishing you were someone else or in a different time. Are your living in your present or frequently thinking about the future, past or wishing you were somewhere else?
Life isn't fair. Get over it.
You didn't get to choose your parents or your genes. You didn't have the chance to choose your country of birth or your height. Other people are wealthier, healthier and happier. Yes, they have more money, more brains, better education and are better looking. Tough. Life isn't fair. Get over it and move forward with what you have. It is all you have got to work with.
You can't plow a field by turning it over in your mind.
That's right. You can think about how is the best way to plow your field. You can visualize and dream about what you want to accomplish. Then you need to get going and do your tasks in order to get the job done. The good news is that you only get the feeling of a job well done, when you have done your work.
The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life.
Your life improves when you ask yourself better questions. If you are not satisfied with your life, take a look at the questions you are asking yourself. What questions would a person who is twice as successful as yourself ask? Can you ask these questions of yourself? Then ask deeper questions to be find more specific answers.
You don't have to be good to start. But you have to start to be good.
And being good counts. You have no reason or excuse for not trying to become the best expert in your field. You can work towards being "THE EXPERT". Don't wait to get started. Start with where you are and improve your expertise. You pay more to have access to the best brain surgeon. People will pay you more when you are "THE EXPERT" in your field. You don't have to be good to get started - and you can't become "THE EXPERT" if you don't get started. Start improving your skills today.
Fortune favors the bold.
You have nothing to gain and everything to lose by always being timid.
No risk - no reward.
Evaluate your options, and take prudent risks. Even if you do nothing, you risk your life passing you by without any adventures.
Get used to failure - it is a by product of trying to succeed.
When you try new things, take new adventures, take risks then you will fail sometimes. You will hopefully succeed more dramatically and more frequently than you fail, but you must accept the fact that you are going to take decisions which will can be seen as failures.
People who talk a lot, usually have nothing to say.
How much are you talking? How much are you saying? How much is worth listening to? How much are you listening?
You don't have exclusive rights on bad stuff happening.
Bad stuff happens to most people. Don't whine. Live with it and bring energy to the world and people you interact with. They also have bad stuff happening in their lives. They can use a smile and kind words from you to have a better day.
People bring joy to a situation. Some bring joy when they enter a room, and some bring joy when they leave a room.
Which are you?
Variety is the spice of life.
If your life is more predictable than the sun rising in the East every morning, then go on an adventure. Eat at a different restaurant. Read a magazine that you normally pass over. Talk with someone that you normally don't make the effort to talk with.
Focus on creation, not consumption.
What are you contributing to society? What did you create today? Did you write a book or article that helps someone else? Did you share a few kinds words of encouragement for a job well done? Or did you merely consume oxygen while you watched another re-run on your TV? We get paid to serve other people. One way to serve others is by creating services and products that make lives easier, save time or bring pleasure. What did you create today? Focus on creating things instead of consuming things and you are entitled to get paid more which will increase your own life.
Do what your competition is unwilling to do.
Work harder than your competition. Learn more than your competition. Market better than your competition. Practice harder, longer and with better coaches than your competition. If you don't want to do an activity and are unwilling to pay the money for the best coaching then, chances are that this is exactly what you should be doing, and more of it, to get ahead of your competitors in life.
The only thing more expensive than training is ignorance.
You need to learn all the time. Learning is an ongoing task for your whole life. You cannot afford to not invest in your own learning, because the world changes around you all the time. In order to do you own job faster and better, you need to learn more. You also need to learn and develop your skills to take on larger jobs which can lead to a promotion for you. You must adapt or die. The expensive and most risky path to adoption is to learn everything yourself. The smarter path is to seek out training and condense the mistakes, experience and successes from others into a short timeframe so that you can adapt more quickly. You choose if you want to follow the more expensive path, or embrace the fact that training costs are small investment that pay large dividends in your future.
Don't do something today.
Think about your tasks as you go through your workday. What task is part of your routine that is no longer adding value to your life? Do you always check all of your email accounts multiple times every day? What would happen if you changed your schedule to only check personal emails every day? Which tasks can you just stop doing to free up time for you to try something new? If you were to stop doing one task today, which task would it be? How can you make it a habit to stop doing this task, every day?
We grow by running to keep up with people who are ahead of us on the track.
We don't grow by being the biggest fish in the pond. We grow when we see that someone else has achieved a success that we want and then we creatively find ways to learn from them and work towards this success. Seek out people who are ahead of you in the goals that you are working towards. Learn what they are doing to reach their success, and adapt or adopt these behaviors for yourself. We grow and develop by stretching ourselves and becoming more than we are in specific areas of our lives. And the best people to learn from is the people who have already achieved the specific goal that we are striving towards. Who is ahead of you in your lane of the track? How much faster must you run to keep up? Who can coach you to train more and improve your running technique? Once you have grown, how much more fun will it be to run faster in every race?
Willing hands don't have empty stomachs.
Are you hungry for more success in your life? What are you doing about it? Are you turning down opportunities that don't "seem right?" Why are you not taking massive amounts of initiative and making the calls to see who you can serve today? People respect the fact that you are willing to try harder and will help you to find opportunities when they realize that you are a pair of willing hands. In contrast, no-one respects or helps people who are believe they are "entitled" to success. If you are hungry for a success, then look at your figurative hands. Are you sitting on your hands, demanding handouts, or using them to serve others?
Where there is a will, there is a way.
If you are not getting the results that you want, how else can you approach your plan? Don't let an obstacle prevent you from reaching a goal. Think harder. Who do you know that can help you?
Move first, strategize second.
This beats the alternative of getting sucked in to a never ending loop of creating, setting, documenting and refining your strategy without meaningful resulting action.
You can't lead if you are always following.
You decide if you want to always follow the path that others are treading, or choose to cut a new path to the fresher water.
You win some and you lose some.
It doesn't matter who you are, what you do, how well you prepare or how the stars align. I wish I could tell you that I have the secret to all problems. The reality is that no-one has the watertight, always works, secrets of the Universe. The reality is that you win some and you lose some. Celebrate your wins, accept your losses and live forward. I will see you in the morning as we start the new day to win some and lose some again!!
Work to live.
You only have one life to live. And the clock is ticking. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. You now have one less second of your time left. Work to live and forget the notion of living to work. There is a saying that I heard from an old African man in South Africa. "The man gets finished, but the work never gets finished". Are you getting finished while trying to finish the work?
We are all drinking someone's Kool-Aid . Whose Kool-Aid are you choosing to drink?
We all choose to follow role models in our lives. We learn from our role models. We can choose to follow good influences or others who may hold us back or generally confuse and frustrate us. The fact is that you are not surviving on water alone. You are drinking someone's Kool-Aid , even if you are not aware of this. Take a look at whose Kool-Aid you are drinking. Do you think it will lead you to the goals that you want to achieve? If so, then drink gallons. If not, then take a step back and look for a different flavor of Kool-Aid .
If you keep on doing what you are doing now, then you will keep on getting the same results.
If you want to change the results, then you need to do something different. If you are overweight, under paid and overworked, then you will have to change the cause of these results. I know that it is hard to accept this fact and then change your behavior, philosophy or attitude that is causing you to receive these results. You are the only one who can change you and if you want different results, such as more income or more travel in your job, then you have to decide what is causing you to get the results you are getting now and figure out what you need to change in order to get the different results that you want. Other people can help you to change and get the results you want, but you are in the driving force behind identifying and initiating the change. Of course, if you choose to keep on doing what you are doing now, then you will keep on getting the same results.
If you are not getting the baton, then look in the mirror.
If you find yourself in the same situation year after year and others are racing ahead while you are stuck, then perhaps the culprit is looking at you in your mirror. As people move towards goals and look for relay partners in success, they are willing to pass the baton to team mates. The requirement is that team mates must be running in the race, up to speed, in peak condition and willing to accept the baton. You cannot take the baton if you are sitting on the grand stands or watching a relay race on TV from your sitting room. Where are you? Do you expect others to bring the baton to you before you want to partake in the relay of life success? Maybe your bathroom mirror can help you find some answers?
This is it.
You are in life now, and you are only going to pass this way but once. Smell the roses. Hand out smiles to those who need a smile the most. Enjoy your family. Sit on the floor with your children and dogs. Tomorrow you are going to be one day older and one more day in your super-over-scheduled, color-coded, designer branded, day planner is gone. How do you feel about this? Were the results of yesterday a fair and equitable trade for 24 hours of your life? How can you make the most of today? (Hint - if you are reaching for a pencil to add another task to your day planner, then you missed the point.)
Your special dysfunction is your special function.
What are you struggling with? What challenges are particularly hard for you? What have you had to learn to deal with and overcome obstacles in your life? If you have learned skills and acquired knowledge to reach goals overcome obstacles, then you have a special collection that can help other people as well. Your special dysfunction is your special function, when you share the results of your learning with other people. For example, I was frustrated at the insomnia curing presentations that audiences are subjected to when speakers read slide after mind-numbing slide. This drove me to acquire and gather the best practices for using PowerPoint , and resulted in publishing my first book "Dodging the Bullet Points". What is a special dysfunction for you? How can you turn it into your special function?
Adversity reveals a man's character to himself.
Although I don't welcome adversity, it is true that we learn more about ourselves as we trudge uphill through the mudslides of life. Then we can apply our learning as we sled down the fast slope on the other side of the mountain, having conquered the peak with new insights and revelations of our character.
A smile goes a long way.
Are you smiling and pleasant to deal with? Do you take the time and make the effort to build relationships with everyone that you meet? Are you making the first move to be pleasant and smile at strangers? If you wait for the other person to give the first smile then you may be missing the bus while you wait at the wrong stop. What does it cost you to initiate small talk in the elevator, or at the vending machine? Improve your own life and increase your opportunities by initiating smiles and pleasantries. A smile goes a long way and it may just take you to where you want to go.
Don't focus on what you don't have.
Consciously focus on what you already have, when moving to higher levels. Your focusing on either one leads to more of the same. I find that it is very easy to focus on what you don't have, how much further you have to go, how long the path is that must still be traveled. It is so easy to become despondent in pursuit of goals and forget how much we already have going for us. We need to consciously focus on what we already have, and work with what we have got. We have a degree of health, perhaps a degree of wealth, some marketable skills and our awareness of the world around us. Use this to meet people, greet people and smile as you focus on what you have and ask "How can I use what I have?" instead of only focusing on the amount of work and travels ahead of you.
You have to provide value.
The value is determined by the buyer of your services, not what you think is the value. You may think that you are providing value yet have missed the mark by a mile. You need to become masterful at speaking to people and finding out what they value, so that you can provide value in their eyes. This is important. Don't tell your customers or manager that what you bring is valuable. Learn to artfully find out from them what the value is that they seek, and find ways to provide the value as your customer, client or manager defines value.
You will never get everything done.
No matter how hard you try, and how many time management tools you use, there will always be more work than you have time for. You always have new ideas to try out and new places that you want to visit. Although you can and should delegate the less important tasks in life, there is still too much to do. You can't just hire people to do everything that you want to get done. With delegation comes oversight, which still requires some of your time. So, you need to make peace with the fact that there is not enough time for everything. The only way to survive, and thrive, is to find ways to identify the most important tasks and most productive uses of your time. Then, apply your self-discipline to work on these tasks first, and see them through to completion. This takes discipline, because the most important tasks may not be the most pleasurable tasks. The rewards should be worth it to you, otherwise you need to go back and revisit your task selection and prioritization strategy. Perhaps you are finishing the tasks which are not the most important to you?
You seldom need the "Right" answer.
Don't wait indefinitely for the "Right" answer. Give yourself a time limit, brainstorm, and look for a few "Good" answers. Then pick one and move on it. You can't afford to wait for the "Right" answer. It may never happen, and it there may not be a "Right" answer.
All you can do, is all that you can do.
Do you feel overwhelmed sometimes? So much work and so little time. Do all that you can do about your situation, then let it go. You cannot do what cannot be done. All you can do is to do all that you can do. Then you have done everything that you can do, and you must move on.
Look before you leap. Then leap. Don't keep on looking.
You can't fly if you don't leap off the ledge and spread your wings. Prudently look before you leap. Look at what your are getting yourself into. Talk to people who have leaped before you, and survived. Take note of what happened to those who didn't make it. Then leap. If you are not willing to leap, then stop looking. Go home and watch TV. Get out of the way so that someone else can take advantage of the opportunity that you are too scared to take.
Set the intention and let God make the corrections.
Set your intention to reach goals and become the person you want to. Then be open to accept changes to your plan, and don't be rigid in executing your plan.
Select your thoughts to influence your world.
You influence your world by controlling your thoughts. When you choose to repeatedly select certain thoughts, the result is actions that influence your world. You can't control your world and your situations, but you can influence it, starting with the thoughts that you choose to repeatedly place in your mind. You do not have to accept the negative or distracting thoughts that other people offer to you. Their thoughts may be helpful and move you towards your goals, or they can be distracting you from your goals. You influence your world by choosing the thoughts that best serve you. Examine your daily thoughts. Where are your thoughts coming from? From other people? Are your thoughts likely to lead you towards your goal, or distract you? You can't be thinking about how to save 73 cents on a cup of coffee while thinking about how to earn your next $50,000. Which thoughts would you select to focus on if you were traveling directly towards you goal? Why aren't you choosing to focus your mind on these thoughts today?
Internal dialog is the most powerful dialog.
What you say to yourself is more powerful than what anyone can say to you. How can you improve your self-talk? How can you find out what your icons say to themselves, so that you can have the same dialog with yourself?
Lifelong learning is not just from books.
We need to be lifelong learners. What you learned in school, decades ago, has limited use in today's world. Memorizing the dates of the Anglo-Boer wars for high-school history classes does nothing to help me learn "How to make effective podcasts today 2009". If we are to move with the times, master the features on our mobile phones and find new ways to share our knowledge, then we need to be lifelong learners. Academic qualifications and learning from published books is one medium to learn. However, you also have to seek out expertise from people who are leading their respective fields. Don't limit yourself to only learning from established academic institutions. Also listen to audio recordings from leaders in current topics and attend their seminars. Take the time to listen when you mingle with peers and leaders at industry conferences. Learn a new word every day, to improve your language. Be a lifelong learner in many facets of your life, starting today, and until you are no longer able to learn.
The wise man has more questions than answers.
Go ask a wise man if you have a decision to make or are seeking direction. He will council you by asking exploratory questions such as "What are you looking for here?" and "Who are you?". Wise men acknowledge that no-one has all the answers, and you have more answers than you think you have. Your answers are the wisest of all, if you seek and find them. If you want to work with a truly wise man, then seek out a professionally trained personal coach. Wise men are trained and skilled in asking revealing questions, which is far more valuable than merely providing answers. Answers are a commodity and available in many places. Wise men who can ask good questions are a rarity. As you go through your day, ask questions. Newton asked "Why does the apple fall down, and not up?" What is your question today?
Free advice is usually worth what you pay for it.
Beware the man who freely gives you advice. His advice will probably be worse than your own best guess. Be especially wary of advice from a man who has not done what you are trying to do. People who have tried what you are trying to do, and failed, can tell you what doesn't work. Talk to them. People who have done what you are trying to do, are invaluable because they know what works and what doesn't work. Seek them out and cherish them. Pay for their advice. People who have never tried to do what you are trying to do, are a hindrance. They will suck the energy out of your dreams, magnify obstacles and project their failures onto you. Run from them and lock the doors so that they cannot come into your home or your dreams.
You don't have to do it right, but you have to do it.
Are you often looking for the next opportunity, yet it never seems to come to you? What actions are you taking to help the universe provide for you? A person asked me how to become known in an influential circle of businessmen. We brainstormed and decided that the best option for him was to join his local service organization. He committed to investigate the membership criteria and apply for membership. The following time we met, he informed me that this would conflict with his social activities and so he chose to not pursue membership in this service organization. The result is that, once again, an opportunity has passed for this man and once again he has gone back to waiting for the "right" opportunity to come to him. He doesn't see that "you don't have to do it right, but you must - absolutely have to - get off your rear end and do it". The "it" may be to join a service organization, give a speech, right a book, build a website, reach out and build a relationship with peers at your office. You don't have to do it right. In fact, you can do it all wrong, and you are better off than if you had done nothing because now you know what doesn't work. If you don't have what you want in life, then do something about it. If you keep on waiting, then you will still be asking for advice next year, and the year after that while opportunities float on down the river and are lost forever.
I hear that most people live their lives as if there is another one in the bank.
Are you investing most of your day reading social media updates about what a friend's cat ate for breakfast? Do you believe that the future will magically give you enough time to do the things you always wanted to do, but did not have the time to do when the kids were growing up, you were working full-time, you were .... . When you look in the mirror, do you see that you have another life in the bank, or is this it? Are you living your life as if you have another one in the bank? What time-wasters are you tolerating in your life? Are you using your time wisely, doing what you were sent to do on this earth?