10 quotes to motivate you in 2019

Good quotes are powerful catalysts for positive actions.

little boy on ladder reaching for sky
Photo credit: Hillie Chan on Unsplash
  • Quotes can be good reminders that we're not alone in our struggles.
  • The most powerful quotes remind us that while failure is not optional, how we treat it is.
  • Fail well and learn from it, the most successful figures remind us again and again.

Good quotes are adrenaline shots, catalysts for perspective, reminders that as locked into our own thoughts as we sometimes become, others are walking the path right along with us. I like quotes that remind me that being uncomfortable is an indicator growth is occurring, provided I institute the right mindset and actions to roll with the punches and come out the other end stronger.

A few quotes below remind us of the necessity of failing, but more importantly, of learning and growing from failure. Hopefully you gain enough perspective in the process to incentivize you not to repeat your mistakes and, in the words of Ray Dalio, to practice "radical open-mindedness." This means listening to opposing viewpoints and coming to well-rounded conclusions, something often lost in the social media age.

We live in a time of monologues, many untethered from shared reality. Yet our technologies afford us incredible opportunities to connect, provided we remember we're part of a larger conversation and not just a voice screaming into the void. Using our digital identities in such a way as to bring us closer to one another will be one great challenge in the coming generations.

Whatever you're aiming for, striving itself matters most. Results are quick and fleeting; the journey is where you'll spend most of your time. Fail often, fail well, succeed, and keep moving forward. Stagnation is no good in the blood or in the wild, and definitely not in our minds. Hopefully these tiny catalysts will motivate you for some epic marches ahead.

Extraordinary goals require extraordinary effort

If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations time wise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.

Christopher Sommer, in an email to Tim Ferriss, published in Tools of Titans

Fail well

The challenges you face will test and strengthen you. If you're not failing, you're not pushing your limits, and if you're not pushing your limits, you're not maximizing your potential.

Ray Dalio, Principles

And fail in new ways

When in doubt, work on the deficiencies you're most embarrassed by.

Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans

Meaning behind it all

Purpose is a goal toward which we are always working. It is the forward-pointing arrow that motivates our behavior and serves as the organizing principle of our lives.

Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power of Meaning

Meaning means action

This quote needs context. There are many criticisms that we are too busy as it is. So much of that "busyness" is distraction and inattention. What McGonigal is hinting at is being busy with purpose.

People are happier when they are busier, even when forced to take on more than they would choose.

Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress

More on attention

If you give your mind something meaningful to do throughout all your waking hours, you'll end the day more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, than if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours in semiconscious and unstructured Web surfing.

Cal Newport, Deep Work

Get outside (without a device)

Many people nowadays live in a serious of interiors — home, car, gym, shops — disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

The wheel doesn't need reinventing

To do original work: It's not necessary to know something nobody else knows. It is necessary to believe something few other people believe.

Marc Andreessen on Twitter

Don't forget to play

The artist seeks the challenge, the difficult thing to do; for his basic approach to life is not of work but of play.

Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By

And don't take it all too seriously

On the way to love, the true conquest of hate, you must reach the haven of unshakable tolerance. First, you must come to the conclusion that anger and hate serve no useful purposes. Then you must deeply resolve to eliminate anger's ability to take control of you.

Robert Thurman, Inner Revolution


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