I collect quotes and keep them in a Word document. Below are the six that I keep coming back to and which have had the biggest effects on my worldview. They are chock full of wisdom. I hope that you find them beneficial as well.
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.-Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States and also was a member of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji). I am also a Fiji and as a pledge was required to memorize the above quote. I can still recite it word-for-word and think about it often. Most things worthwhile take effort and Coolidge’s quote reminds me to put in the work. A related quote that my grandfather, John R. Kidd, used to say all the time is “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
2. Giving Credit
There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.-Ronald Reagan
I came across this wisdom early in my career and I am glad that I did so. It’s a simple concept but not always easy to follow. I’ve found that this is a key concept for being an effective leader and teammate.
3. The Joy of a Non-Toothache
When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. I had to have a toothache in order to be enlightened, to know that not having one is wonderful. My non-toothache is peace, is joy. But when I do not have a toothache, I do not seem to be happy. Therefore, I look deeply in the present moment and see that I have a non-toothache, that can make me very happy already.-Thich Nhat Hanh
This quote has been so useful. It has helped me enjoy everyday that I don’t have a “toothache.” I also think about this quote when I have a “toothache” — I tell myself to experience the discomfort fully so that I can use the memory of my current discomfort to gain peace in the future when the discomfort is gone. IFOD on this quote: The Joy of a Non-Toothache
4. Be a Beast
“Everybody wants to be a beast, until it’s time to do what real beasts do.“-Eric Thomas
This is a recent addition to my list of great quotes, but one I think of often. It’s related to the Calvin Coolidge quote on persistence and is also similar to the concept of “if it were easy, everybody would do it.” One of the most clicked IFODs is about this quote: Beast Mode: Motivation and the Key to Success
5. Good Luck, Bad Luck
There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?
The above parable reminds me that we can’t really know in the moment if something is good or bad luck. I read recently that Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy, etc) was supposed to be on one of the planes that flew into one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. He had stayed out late drinking, was hung over, and his travel agent had told him the wrong time for his flight. All those factors combined so that he was 10 minutes too late for his flight. Missing that flight probably seemed like a bad situation on the morning of September 11, 2001. Until it turned out that it was the biggest dose of good luck he ever experienced.
6. We Get One Life – Make It Count
Tell me, what is it you plan to do-Mary Oliver
With your one wild and precious life?
The above quote is the last two lines of the poem The Summer Day by Mary Oliver. I think about this concept often – that we only get one life (probably) and that we need to make each day count. This quote goes well with thinking about your death each day (which can be productive).
7. Bonus Quote
You love them in blue-From the 1982 movie “Megaforce“
You love them in red
But most of all you love them in blue
I love this quote because its totally nonsensical. I sign every card with this quote and use it in most toasts. It reminds me that life is funny and makes no sense.