The 20 Greatest Motivational Quotes Of All Time
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The 20 Greatest Motivational Quotes Of All Time
I was playing about on Twitter the other day when I noticed an exchange about Life Coaching between two people I vaguely know. One person had made a comment (and I paraphrase) “Life Coaches are psychotherapists that can’t be bothered to finish their training”
As you can imagine I had to have my say and I was told by the person in question that they managed to learn all they needed to learn about self development from reading blogs and furthermore nobody needed to hire a Life Coach.
This exchange had me thinking for the millionth time,
“There is no how it is, only how it is for you”
It seems shameless to quote my own quote, but it is really at the core of what I do and also what I believe. I have no doubt whatsoever that some people can get all the help they need by reading a self development blog, but equally I have no doubt that many people need a lot more than that.
As I pondered the exchange I started thinking of great self development quotes that inspire me and really tell an entire story in a few lines or less and thought I’d share with you today the 20 that I think are the best.
I realize that you may very well disagree and as such I’d love to hear your own personal favorites whether they are on my list or not. I’d also love to hear any that you may have come up with that are original to you.
1. “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” -George Bernard Shaw
Apparently it’s statesmanlike to stand firm and not change your mind. It’s also idiotic if you ignore new evidence and refuse to admit you may have been wrong.
I remember when John Kerry ran against George Bush and it was discovered he’d changed his stance on the war in Iraq. He was pilloried by the Republicans for being a flip-flopper rather than commended for being honest enough to accept he was wrong.
2. “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – William H Murray
This is often mistakenly attributed to Goethe when it really just came from a Goethe couplet and is presumed to have been said in full my Scottish Mountaineer, W H Murray.
Is there are greater quote on the importance of commitment? I doubt it.
3. “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” – Elbert Hubbard
Many people are terrified of criticism and will often keep their head down and go with the flow for fear of being on the receiving end of it. The world doesn’t need that, speak your mind
4. “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead
Another oft cited quote and one that inspires people (or at least should do) to believe they really do have more power than they could ever imagine. Don’t ever think you are powerless.
5. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
There are so many quotes regarding the importance of failure in being successful, but imho, this is the best.
6. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi
I almost left this out because it’s tweeted to death and it possibly the most well-known quote in the universe. But there’s a good reason for that, and that’s because it’s stunningly brilliant.
You cannot ever change anybody else, you can only change yourself and hope you inspire other people to do the same.
7. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” – Thomas Edison.
Three years ago I had a client that I knew was really close to making a huge breakthrough when she lost her nerve.
The fact that I’m telling you about it know demonstrates how frustrated as a Life Coach I was. There is a time for giving up and a time for pushing through, even though the latter can sometimes be scary.
8. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” - George Bernard Shaw
I hit 50 next year and it seems incomprehensible to me. I still get hyper excited about work, I still laugh my ass off at juvenile humor and as I type this I have loud dance music playing in the background.
Don’t stop being young because your birth certificate tells you too.
9. “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger” - Buddha
Is there any need to explain this? Probably not because we all know how shit we feel when we’re angry, so let it go and don’t feel shit.
Note: It would appear that this is actually falsely attributed to The Buddha. However, it’s still an amazing and relevant quote.
10. “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” – John Lennon
Doesn’t that sum up many people you know, maybe even yourself? Are you so busy planning what’s next, that you forget that now is already here. Planning is crucial of course, but so is enjoying the only time you ever have, now.
11. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” - Eleanor Roosevelt
Every feeling you have is generated internally as a reaction (usually) to external events. It is your interpretation of events that gives them meaning, not the events themselves. How liberating is that? To know that people can only hurt you if you allow them to.
Of course, you have to believe it first.
12. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what a ship was built for” – William H Shedd
Another quote that may not be attributed to the right person, but who cares who said it, it’s still brilliant.
You can hide yourself away from the world, you can avoid doing anything risky or out there, but that’s not what you were put on this earth to do.
You were put here to be the best person you can be and that means taking risks by hauling anchor and sailing out into the uncharted open sea from time to time.
13. “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny” – Author unknown although sometimes attributed to Frank Outlaw.
I don’t think this needs any explanation other than you become what you think about, so be careful what you think about.
14. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” —Aristotle
Most people I know like to think they are open-minded. Yet if you cannot entertain thoughts that contradict your belief system, how open-minded can you truly claim to be?
15. “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves” - Robert Anton Wilson
Taken from the absolutely brilliant book ‘Prometheus Rising’ Wilson sums up in a sentence something we all do, which is to look for evidence to support the beliefs we already hold rather than questioning them.
16. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily” — Zig Ziglar
Zig nails it with this one. Self development is like going to the gym. Nobody gets fit by going to the gym once, it’s a daily or weekly ritual. Self development is the same, you have to work on it, if that is, you really want to master it.
17. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky
Guess what? If you don’t launch that ebook you have been thinking of, you have failed. If you don’t start that new business you have dreamed of, you have failed. And if you don’t ask for that date for fear of rejection, you have failed.
Failure isn’t missing, failure is never trying.
18 “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Belief in yourself is so important and often the determiner in how successful you are in life.
Believe in yourself because you’re absolutely brilliant!
19. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” - Albert Einstein
Look if the great man himself says reality isn’t real, who are you to argue?
Go and set your own reality and don’t allow other people to impose theirs upon you.
20. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
The quotes were in no particular order, but I think I’ve saved the best till last because the passage from Marianne Williamson’s ‘A Return To Love‘ captures the essence of almost all of the preceding quotes and if you can live your life by that one passage you will die a happy person.
So come on, don’t just sit there, leave me your favorite quote in the comments!