It is hard for me not to honour the request of a friend. What makes it even harder is when this particular friend, Sotia Christou, is also a fan!
Her request to me was to come up with a number of quotes that positively affected or changed my life. Her quest, just like most of us, is to become better in this arduous journey towards self-development. The right quote can help a person power through internal and external barriers, ultimately attaining goals previously perceived as unattainable. Zig Ziglar said that “the right quote can inspire people to change their ways”. It is only through personal change that we grow as individuals, and changing one’s ways to adapt and adjust in any given environment or situation (see my previous blog post on the Triple-A formula) is the key to thriving in an ever-changing world.
Personally, I may be motivated on a daily basis by simple, seemingly banal things, such as a story told to me by a taxi driver on my way to a meeting or the manner in which I am being served by a waiter who takes pride in his vocation. There are times, though, when my motivation bank needs a big jolt, and that is when I turn to quotes and peruse the latter as inspirational pick-me-ups.
Starting with my all-times favorite quote in position number one below, these famous and not-so-famous sayings have either come about through continuous reading during the past 25 years or they have been derived from the journals and experiences of my Mentors and trusted friends.
10+1 quotes that had a positive life-changing impact on myself
1. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Bill Gates
Why I like it: I always kick start my 1-2-1 coaching sessions with this quote. From the age of 20 to the age of 70 (people have longer life expectancies nowadays because they tend to take better care of their bodies and health – see Quote No. 7) there are 5 different spans of life. You can be illiterate in one such span and in another you may find yourself the proud holder of a coveted PhD. You can marry, divorce, re-marry and be extremely happy, all in different spans of your life. The list of examples is endless. People shouldn’t stress about achieving everything in 1 year’s time. There is an exercise I do where I go around asking people to write next to their 46 goals (that’s how many I ask them to write down during my seminars) the time horizon of achieving each one (1, 3, 5 or 10 years). I then look at their short-term goals – there are some cases where 43 out of the 46 goals are set to be attained within 3 years and the age of the person setting these goals is only 28! Boom! It is like writing yourself a prescription for getting stressed over the course of achieving your goals. Take a deep breath. Expand your goal-achievement time horizons. After all, good things come to those who wait.
2. “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar
Why I like it: Because it is as simple as it sounds – and it works! Help enough people get what they want (without keeping score) and they will help you get what you want, eventually. Every single day I ask myself: “Whom have I helped today?” Last year I helped someone – who, since then, has become my friend – to get a job and take care of his family including his two young daughters. The mere feeling of helping others (the art of giving) is simply unmatched.
3. “Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.” Zig Ziglar
Why I like it: A sense of mission gives you a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose springs you out of bed in the morning and transforms you into a homing missile that knows exactly where its target is and how to go about reaching it.
4. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar
Why I like it: When Ulysses set sail for Ithaca, he had to endure many hardships along his journey before reaching his destination. Looking back at his experience, he realized that every obstacle that he encountered was, in fact, a destination in itself, and all of them together held great learning value, thus making the whole journey Ulysses’ true destination, his “Ithaca-on-the-way”.
5. “The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.” Zig Ziglar
Why I like it: There are no second chances when your integrity is compromised, no straight-forward ways to reinstate it in the eyes of others and to re-gain their confidence in you. Just a mere slip of integrity and your reputation is forever stigmatized. ‘You are responsible for the positive memory you leave behind’ – this is the title of one of my most popular workshops. Guess what’s at the core of each and every positive memory that we forge in others’ minds. That’s right – integrity.
6. “Discipline equals Freedom.” Jocko Willink
Why I like it: Almost everything I have achieved is the direct result of sacrifices that I was willing to make. It would have been almost impossible to make all these sacrifices if I didn’t have discipline in the first place. My career as a trainer and speaker didn’t take off overnight. For 10 years I was working towards my goal, day in day out, until I felt that I could master the subject. No matter what the circumstances were, I was putting in the hours, as I was disciplined and target-oriented and “hungry” to attain my goal (see my blog post mentioning the 10.000-hour rule for mastering a craft). Said discipline can only translate to freedom.
7. “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn
Why I like it: The ancient Romans used to say ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ which translates to ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. Exercise triggers the release of feel-good hormones in the brain, thus a physically-active individual will also be a happy and productive individual. Complementing exercise with a healthy eating habit results in a dynamic and synergistic combination that works wonders for the mind.
8. “Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Jim Rohn
Why I like it: It is easy to confuse the value of things when you are young but at 80 years of age, my father was in a good position to understand values and priorities. He said to me during that same episode. “At this age, your energy is naturally diminishing. However, you can sit and rest, you can think and, patiently, you can find a solution. Money is of no use to a person (meaning himself) of this age but time is.” Wish I had just another five minutes with my dad. If your parents are alive – irrespective of how your relationship with your parents has developed over time– embrace them, hold them close by keeping your eyes shut and your heart open wide.
9. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Why I like it: Ask anyone who just finished a seminar or a workshop. They might, at best, remember 20% of what was said BUT they will remember 100% of how the presenter made them feel. Human beings are, by nature, emotional creatures, thus important information can often be conveyed to them more effectively through feeling (via empathy/emotional connection) rather than through “feeding” (by plainly uttering said information).
10. “Don’t come to me with your need come to me with your seed.” Anonymous
Why I like it: In other words, don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions. My wife’s employers tell her, “Come to me with your problem but also come to me with two proposed solutions and your opinion which one works best of the two”. If you have a problem at hand but you have also set in motion the process of finding a solution for that problem then you are halfway there.
10+1. “Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens for you.” Jim Carrey
Why I like it: Every single person on earth has the choice to either succumb to life’s waves, hence ending up ‘drowned’, or to ride such and reach new heights. Undoubtedly, it is not easy to ride a wave but, once you tame the latter, the view from its top makes the effort worthwhile.
As Sotia said to me upon conveying her wish to put together this blog post, “Speaking from personal experience, as individuals we need little kicks to get going and for getting things done.”
Well, there you have it – 10+1 “little kicks” which almost always do the trick of making me spring into action!
Which is your favorite quote of all times and why does it resonate with you? Would love to know! Tell me all about it by sending me a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.