For anyone who follows me, it’s no surprise that I’m writing a blog centered around quotes. In fact, you might be surprised that it’s taken me 109 blogs (wow, that’s a lot) to center a piece around quotes. The right quote at the right time can change a life and I’m a prime example – I hope that you find a quote below that speaks to you where you’re at.
One plug before we jump in: the quotes below (along with the blurbs) are from my Cup of Joe Newsletter. It’s a weekly email newsletter (5-10 minute read) full of content aimed to inspire, encourage and challenge to move each reader toward their best self and full potential. If you’re at all interested, I would love for you to consider learning more here.
A man thinks that by mouthing hard words, he understands hard things – Herman Melville
When I came across these words it brought about a surprising sense of conviction. If I’m being honest, I’ve been stuck in a cycle of talking about hard things at the expense of doing them. To be clear, I do difficult things but I haven’t been seeking out the kind of suffering that humbles, refines and cultivates significant growth. This quote is a beautiful reminder that we learn the most through action and experience. When it comes to building resilience (or anything else in life), we can all stand to talk a little less and do a little more. I would love to have you join the Hard Things Club as we strive to do hard things together.
Never underestimate the valuable and important difference you make in every life you touch for the impact you make today has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow – Leon Brown
These words from Brown are the exact reason why I make every effort possible to be kind, positive and encouraging in every setting and circumstance. The truth is, even the smallest actions have the potential to make a big impact far beyond what we will ever know. There are no neutral interactions and how we live changes the lives of those around us. In turn, those altered lives alter other lives and the ripple spreads. Whatever you do in this moment, no matter how small or how private, will one day transcend space and time to impact more people than you can comprehend. So this week, join me and be the reason that someone smiles.
To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else – Dalai Lama
It can be easy to find flaws in those around us while ignoring those within us. This challenging wisdom within this quote asserts that our attention is much better spent on becoming aware of own shortcomings. In other words, when we focus on the negatives of those around us we miss out on the opportunities to address the negatives within us. Let this quote serve as a reminder to look inward before pointing fingers outward. Take an honest assessment of where you’re at so that you can make intentional changes as you continue to march forward in this life. In different terms, I suggest that you be the buffalo and not the cow.
I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that – Gillian Anderson
This quote found me a few years back and since then, I’ve had very few bad days. I hope that you’re having a really good day, but if not, read on. The idea here is one that continues to resurface in the newsletter in different ways – despite outside events, we are in complete control of our attitude. With each minute of every day, we have the opportunity to make it a great day through the perspective we choose and the attitude we adopt. Every day is a great day to have a great day, but in the end, it’s up to us. If you’re not yet convinced, click here to read more about how perspective can change everything.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are… The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching – John Wooden
These words from Wooden are important because they speak to integrity. Too many of us (myself included) spend too much time caring about what other people think. Our character is who we are when the world isn’t watching and that’s what we should be concerned about. With every second that we worry about our reputation, we miss out on opportunities to build our character. One of the most meaningful endeavors that any of us can undertake is to pursue the best version of ourselves, give our best effort and do the right thing, especially when nobody else is watching. This week (and every week), let’s spend less time thinking about our reputation and more time building our character (read more here).
The biggest breakthroughs in consciousness occur when things are difficult; when we have a choice to fall to the worst of ourselves or rise to the best of ourselves – Yehuda Berg
This quote from Berg highlights how challenging circumstances are opportunities; struggle creates space to fall but it also provides room to rise. These words remind us that we have little control of what life hands us, but we have the freedom to choose our response. In the midst of difficult times, we have the chance to rise to the best version of ourselves. So the next time that times are tough and life is feeling heavy, remember that there are two choices. You can rise or you can fall; that decision is up to you. If you’d like to hear this message with different words and in video form, you can do so here.
Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away – Sarah Kay
These words borderline on breathtaking (at least for me). The image of waves washing onto the shore over and over and over again illuminates the beautiful nature of persistence. I can speak from personal experience that some of the best things in my life (e.g. my wife) were the result of persistent pursuit in the face of setbacks and struggle. I’ll let her tell that story some other time (right here) but the point is this; there is nothing more beautiful or rewarding than putting persistent effort into something meaningful no matter how many times you get sent away. Let’s all be more like the ocean this week; keep kissing the shoreline.
You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another – Ernest Hemingway
It’s been said that we become like the people that we surround ourselves with and the great news is that we can always choose who is in our circle. However, this quote is a great reminder of the one person that we spend the most time with (ourselves), we can never get away from. How we talk to, treat and view ourselves heavily influences the person that we become down the road. We are stuck with ourselves and it’s time that we place more emphasis on being our own best friend and biggest fan. I’ll leave it there, but if you’d like to read more in depth on this concept, feel free to check out this blog. Be a good friend for yourself this week.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
If this isn’t one of the most beautiful quotes you’ve ever heard then I would love to see your list of quotes. The message here is simple – we can shine when things are good but true beauty (and strength) shine brightest from within against contrast. This is an important message because we will all experience dark seasons of life and shining is the last thing that feels compelling. When the darkness comes, just remember that it’s a chance to shine bright and show the world how beautiful you are. Don’t let the outside world dim how beautiful you are on the inside – if you need some more support in shining, check this out.
A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit – David Elton Trueblood
Speaking from personal experience, one of the most powerful realizations in the human experience is that life is bigger than us – that one day we will be gone and all that remains are the people and places that we touched. That understanding allows us to create big impact through service and helps sustain selflessness in a world filled with selfish temptation. Like the words above suggest, when we can plant trees under which we will never sit, we can begin to find meaning, connection and purpose in the things we do and the life we live. To read about I’ve been planting seeds with podcasts, click here.
Big things are built one brick at a time. Victories are achieved one choice at a time. A life well lived is chosen one day at a time – Lysa TerKeurst
I’m not sure about you, but being present is one of the most challenging things in life. There are so many distractions, so many worries and so many opportunities – being still and here in this moment seems impossible at times. However, this quote is an excellent reminder that little by little, little becomes a lot. Each moment is a chance to be where your feet are – to pile bricks one at a time and to build up small wins. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, distracted or even lost, just know that life happens one day at a time. Live with intention, put one foot in front of the other, keeping moving forward and trust that you’ll end up where you need to be. If you’re at a crossroads and don’t know where to step next, read this blog for some guidance.
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about – Haruki Murakami
Summed up better than I ever could, this quote hits home. The storms in life are part of our stories. Whether we like it or not, how we choose to walk through the storms shapes who we are on the other side. When the COVID pandemic cancelled the wedding plans that my wife and I had worked so hard on, I was upset. However, once the initial wave of disappointment passed, I realized that this season of life was an opportunity for us to respond (not react) well to less than ideal circumstances. We pivoted and had a special wedding and our marriage has been blessed because of it. This season is a storm for most of us and here’s what I want you to know – this too shall pass. However, in the midst of the storm, we are changing and with intentional effort, there are tremendous opportunities for growth. It’s only through struggle that we can find strength and each storm is a chance to embrace the struggle as we choose to grow stronger. If you’d like to read more on this topic, you can do so here.
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up – Anne Lamott
These words tie into the reason that I got my tattoo and to me, this quote is about faith. It’s about believing in something that we can’t see and trusting a process that we can’t understand. That’s such a challenging yet powerful concept and it’s all about perspective. How we view the world shapes how we interact with it and these words are about choosing to trust that life is happening on purpose for a purpose even when it doesn’t make sense in the moment. It’s a reminder that little by little, little becomes a lot and that life works for us in the end. I’m not sure who needed this quote, but if it was you and you’re in a dark place, I hope that you can choose a new perspective this week and open your eyes to the idea that you’re planted, not buried.
If you’re reading these words I hope that at a minimum, one quote above reached you at your core. That feeling of inspiration, encouragement, conviction, etc. won’t do you any good without action that’s my cue to leave you with this last quote…
Leave me your favorite quote in the comments below!
P.S. If you enjoy my content and want to support me while getting access to my exclusive email and audio newsletter, please click here. I appreciate your time, consideration and support so much!
P.P.S. If you enjoyed this blog, I’d love for you to subscribe below (one email per month).