People have always been enamored with famous quotes and old sayings that were common to a given culture. I’m among them enjoying motivational quotes that have real meat to them, many others just slide right back out of my brain like water off a duck. There are some I even disagree with. Here’s one for example;
Never Go to Bed Angry!
In my experience, nothing gets truly resolved when you’re both tired and worn out; and sometimes, a good night’s rest is exactly what is needed for both of you to realize you’ve been triggered, but you still love each other and the new day is a fresh start. In my opinion, the better aphorism should be “never have a hard conversation after your normal bedtime,” because, seriously, no one is at their best when you’re exhausted.
But there are a few of these sayings – some old chestnuts and some a bit more contemporary – that I really do seriously think about, and they work for me. Here are a few that have some meaning to me, and perhaps they’ll be helpful to you, too. I’d love to hear which ones motivate you as well.
It’s Never Too Late to Become the Person You Could Have Been!
Everyone has their favorite quote that seems to speak to them at a deep level. This is mine! When I was a young man, I was blessed with numerous opportunities that shaped the man I am even today, but with much more confidence in those younger years. In my early years, I was in numerous ministries where I got to see God bless a lot of people, using me to various degrees to bring those blessings about. I went to work for the Texas prison system as a guard and left almost twenty years later in a director level position. I then moved to the corporate world where I was able to more than double my income and enjoy the life that made possible.
I’ve since experienced some serious setbacks mingled with restorations that only God could make happen. I’m in my late fifties now and spend too much time looking back and wondering if I had made some decisions differently, would I be closer to my life’s goals today. On those days that I find myself feeling a bit down, this quote gives me a boost and realization that there are great men in history who accomplished what made them great in their later years.
If You Can Do Something in One Minute or Less, Do it Now!
This is definitely not my natural state of being. I’m an ADD poster campaign! It drives my wife crazy that I always have to be doing multiple things at one time, especially when watching a movie together. This can sometimes be a skill that helps me accomplish more task in a given work day and also finds ways to haunt me in my personal life where I start numerous things but don’t always finish them. I’m constantly passing things where I left off or undone and pass them up thinking I’m on my way to something more important. As a result, I could have reached down and picked up the shoes I took off in the living room as I’m on my way to the bedroom to get something I need. But do I? A lot of times, nope. It would take a few more seconds to wash that glass or put it in the dishwasher but it gets left on the counter because my mind is on something different.
I need to learn that taking that small extra effort on my way would help me accomplish a lot more than finding I have to spend a lot of time later doing those things I could have spent only minutes doing in smaller chunks earlier.
There’s No Accounting for Taste!
I have strong opinions about some things and I love the things I love, whether it be music, types of literature, spiritual beliefs, political beliefs, social activities, and food. In such moments, I’ve sometimes failed to make the right connection with another, not giving enough time and energy toward learning the things they love in that window of time. I regret those mistakes and try to learn from them when the weight of guilt hits me like a brick.
I’m not defined by my taste in music, so the people I spend time with shouldn’t be either. Yes, it’s nice when you and your partner enjoy the same bands so you can listen to them on a road trip, but the truth is: people like what they like and equal time and an effort to appreciate the other’s taste from time to time can make for great friendships.
Rather than holding others to your standards, and criticizing their choices, find out why they’re drawn to the things they love. It’s much better to trust someone to make a good decision based on who they are and respect their choices, rather than know they’re just making the same decision you would just to appease you. People with different opinions than you, knowing you welcome those differences, make the best friends.
The Key to Happiness is Liking What You Have, Not Liking What You Don’t!
When you spend all your time craving things that aren’t in your life, you can’t possibly appreciate the things that are. This is true in my life with relationships, hobbies, free time, and natural talents.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” sums up the same idea, though it tends to apply more to others than what I really struggle with: comparing my current self to some future, idealized version of myself is my thief.
Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well!
This may be a crutch of my own struggles with perfectionism at times, but I think it’s more about feeling accomplished. When you set a goal or take on a project, it’s an opportunity to learn, to practice, to hone a craft, and sometimes, hopefully, positively affect the lives of others. But it’s also an opportunity to set a goal and complete it. That feels great, no matter who you are.
Of course, there are as many great quotes and sayings as there are stars in the sky but we all tend to connect with a few that really speak to us. The above is far from my exhaustive list, in fact, I tend to collect them.
Feel free to share some of your favorites, and make sure you include why!