Politicians, philosophers, advertisers, market traders: all understand the power that a few choice words can have to sum up their message and repeat ad infinitum in your brain.
And once they’re in I personally find inspiring quotations impossible to shake out. They have a habit of burrowing into my subconscious, nagging at me to change something. Whether they’re the widely repeated musings of the wise and famous, or just something a mate said once in conversation, sometimes a little snippet of text can change your whole life.
Whenever I hear something that I find profound, or thought-provoking, or that sums up what I’d been thinking, only better, then I try to write it down. But they’re no use to anyone else jotted in the back of a notebook, or on my phone, so in the interests of sharing, here’s a few that have made a difference in my life.
First and foremost – as always – is Gandhi with ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ I’ve already referenced this in two former blog posts (here and here) and it is the one that has the biggest impact on my daily decisions. He also said ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever’, which is also on a permanent spin cycle in the washing machine of my mind.
Others worthy of note…
Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit
From the end of the David Nicols book, ‘One day’:
Be good and courageous and bold
Make a difference
Change the bit of the world around you
Go out there with your passion and work hard at something
Cherish your friends
Stay true to your principles
Live passionately and fully and well
Experience new things
Love and be loved if you ever get the chance
Anonymous ex-boyfriend from my early 20s: I’m not responsible for your happiness, you have to make yourself happy.
Nike: Just do it
And more recently, because of the changes I’ve just wrought in my own life, friends have been writing inspiring things in leaving cards for me, which is nice. Like this…“You were put on this planet for a reason… to nourish and nurture.”
I’ve also got a quote that I’ve kind of cobbled together for myself, I think from extracts of Michael Stone’s ‘Inner tradition of Yoga’ which is something I try to focus on everyday… Practice letting go. Open your heart and be present in this moment. Feel freedom, impermanence and deep kindness in your bones.
And finally – the graffiti artists of Camden town should have the last words.