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We can all use a little inspiration every once in a while--especially when the obstacles in our lives are stacking up and we're not sure we can continue to rise to the challenge. That's exactly when we need a dose of inspiration to get us back on track and ready to take on the world.
Here are 37 quotes that will give you just the dose of inspiration you're looking for.
1. "Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all." --Helen Keller
2. "Don't take life too seriously. You'll never get out of it alive." --Elbert Hubbard
3. "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." --Soren Kierkegaard
4. "What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds." --Wayne Dyer
5. "Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it." --Lou Holtz
6. "Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact." --William James
7. "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." --Scott Hamilton
8. "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." --Albert Einstein
9. "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." --Winston Churchill
10. "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
11. "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." --Maya Angelou
12. "Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life." --John F. Kennedy
13. "There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." --Nelson Mandela
14. "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." --Jim Rohn
15. "I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." --Michael Jordan
16. "The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." --Oprah Winfrey
17. "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." --Leo Buscaglia
18. "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." --George Bernard Shaw
19. "There is more to life than increasing its speed." --Mahatma Gandhi
20. "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." --Confucius
21. "There are three constants in life...change, choice and principles." --Stephen Covey
22. "Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them--that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." --Lao Tzu
23. "Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent." --Billy Graham
24. "Each person must live their life as a model for others." --Rosa Parks
25. "My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose--somehow we win out." --Ronald Reagan
26. "Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce." --Vivian Komori
27. "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward." --Amelia Earhart
28. "Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure." --Paulo Coelho
29. "Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits." --Thomas Jefferson
30. "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." --Vince Lombardi
31. "Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life." --Brian Tracy
32. "Today is life--the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto." --Dale Carnegie
33. "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." --Abraham Lincoln
34. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." --Thomas A. Edison
35. "The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you." --Tony Robbins
36. "Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It's a journey of discovery-there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair." --Rick Warren
37. "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." --Warren Buffett
If you're looking for a role model of lifelong success, you can't do much better than Bill Gates. Microsoft, the company he founded, created a whole industry. At a net worth of nearly $80 billion, he's the richest man in the world. His philanthropic activities reach far and wide and have actually made the world a better place. Oh, and he also achieved his dream, which was a personal computer on every desk.
What led to Gates's success? He certainly was in the right place at the right time with the right concept for a product. But over the years, he himself has pointed to some of the attitudes he believes lead to continued success. They're a good guide for anyone, in any field. The personal finance site GOBankingRates has compiled some of them within a piece about how Gates thinks you should spend your money.
Here are some of the most relevant attitudes he looks for--and which anyone can develop:
1. Knowing how to say no.
This is advice Gates got from Warren Buffett, and it's extremely useful for everyone, whether you're rich and successful or not. There will always be an unending supply of opportunities, things to do, causes you care about, and on and on. In this busy world, knowing when and how to say no to projects, social invitations, and other requests for your time may be the most important skill you need. It will allow you to figure out what's truly important, and then focus your attention there.
2. Welcoming criticism.
"Embrace bad news to learn where you need the most improvement," Gates advises in his book Business @ the Speed of Thought. While it's never pleasant to hear someone tell you how you've screwed up, without that kind of feedback, your learning process and growth will be much slower. I find listening to criticism nearly always gives me perspective that I didn't have, and that I need.
Of course, some criticism is not useful--so you have to use your judgment to tell the difference. With that in mind, next time someone wants to chew you out, don't walk the other way. Stop, listen, thank them--and learn.
It can be hard to be optimistic in a world where so many things seem to be going wrong. But without optimism, no one would ever start a company, invest in a new idea, or try out a new product or market.
Gates appreciates the value of optimism, and since his work addresses some of the most disheartening problems on our planet, such as sex trafficking, hunger, and extreme poverty, he needs a lot of it. "Optimism is often dismissed as false hope," he said in a Stanford commencement speech in 2013. "But there is also false hopelessness."
4. Being willing to fail.
You may find successes more enjoyable than failures, but it's thefailures that will teach you the most and give you the best opportunities to grow. Keep that in mind next time you fall flat on your face."Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose," he wrote in his book The Road Ahead. Today's can't-fail product could wind up obsolete tomorrow, he explains, which could be what's happening to desktop personal computers and the Windows operating system that often runs them.
5. The ability to focus on a goal and keep progressing toward it.
In an annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates drew some lessons from the history of the steam engine. "You can achieve amazing progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal," he wrote. He went on to say that finding the right goal and the right metric for tracking one's progress is surprisingly difficult.
Then again, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
How we communicate largely determines what we experience in life. It influences how much money we make, every relationship we have and where we go in our career.
Our income can be limited if we are unable to pitch our product to a client, ask for a desired salary in an interview or request a raise from management. On the other hand, the depth of our relationships will be constrained if we don't have the confidence to approach new people or have the ability to resolve conflict and express ourselves.
Yet how often do we actually practice this art? Most of the time we tend to just wing it and learn as we go. Unfortunately, throughout our lives, most of us pick up some devastating yet subtle habits that can ruin conversations. And the biggest problem is that we think some of the habits are good communication tactics.
When I coach leaders and other professionals on how to elevate human performance in business, I come across these far too often. Understanding how human behavior relates to your specific business can be a big competitive advantage.
Here are five tips to help you instantly connect with anyone you meet:
1. The human brain picks up on subtle cues.
When someone is talking, their subconscious is on the look out to see if people are interested or not. It's a defense mechanism to ensure we don't get embarrassed or hurt from our environment. Our brain will look at everything from body language, facial gestures to the words that are spoken.
When listening to someone, your eyes should never look away for longer than a few seconds. The minute you start staring at other people, TV screens or constantly looking elsewhere, you are sabotaging the conversation. It makes the other person feel like what they are saying is not important and can be a real shot to their confidence. Be aware of how you listen to others, a good idea is to ask close friends and family if there are any things you do that throw them off when they're speaking.
2. Don't relate everything to you.
If you are in a conversation and someone is talking, let them have the stage. Many people feel that by interrupting a story and relating it to their own life, is a good way to enhance the connection. While this is true when done sparingly, there is nothing more frustrating when it's overdone.
You can't build trust with someone if they feel that every time they start talking, you are going to jump in. Not only does it interrupt their focus and retract their emotional investment in the conversation, but going forward they will be hesitant to talk at all.
3. Watch for filler comments.
I have a close friend who I love calling out when he does this. I will be chatting with him on the phone or in person, and despite his best intentions, it is incredibly obvious when he stops listening.
He tends to overuse filler comments that don't align with what I'm talking about. Filler comments are typical things we say to show someone that we are listening such as "yeah," "oh cool," "gotcha," "interesting," etc. However, when they are used to pretend like you're listening, it can be very obvious and distracting.
With multi-tasking at all time high, we've all been conditioned to do this at some point. However, if you are not called out on it, you may never realize how disrespectful and obvious it is to the other person. As a general rule: Always listen to others, the same way you expect to be listened to.
4. Don't pretend like you know everything.
When talking with others, we often want to show that we are educated and knowledgeable. It can be hard for some people to admit they are learning something new for the first time. Many leaders find it difficult to take advice, because they feel they should know everything and be the one giving guidance.
On the other side, most employees are eager to prove themselves, so they try not to expose any of their weaknesses. However, we have all been in a conversation where we think we are bringing up something important, only to hear the other person barely acknowledge it.
It doesn't matter your title or experience, if you want to connect with someone or influence them, you must make them feel valued. In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie's principle #9 is as follows: "Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely." When you let someone know they are providing value, it makes them feel good and enables them to open up more. So be aware of your ego, and try to stop it from controlling your behavior.
5. Plan ahead.
If you are someone who gets nervous or freezes up during conversations, plan your questions in advance. This isn't to automate your interactions and turn you into a robot. It's to ease your mind so you can get out of your head, be confident and enjoy a natural free-flowing conversation.
You can get through any conversation by asking the right questions. So have three open-ended, thought-provoking questions for every situation you may be in. You could split the potential interactions into:
A. A networking event or potential business opportunity
B. Meeting someone new at a social event
C. Bumping into a friend
The key is to ask questions that are not invasive but do make the person have to stop and think about their response. The great thing is that not only will your conversation be more interesting -- but you will be much more memorable.
Staying healthy and high spirited isn’t that difficult. Here are a few surprising and simple ways to avoid getting unhealthy.
Portrait of Happy Family In Park
While you may not wish to lock lips with your loved one when he/she has a cold, do not miss any opportunity to pucker up when you both are healthy. When you and your partner swap spit, you’re exposing yourself to each other’s germs, which helps strengthen your immunity.
Listen to some tunes
The benefits of music are beyond your imagination. It reduces stress, improves memory and also boosts immunity. So if you just considered music as sound, it’s time you changed your opinion and started listening to music that really moves you.
Be obsessed with hand washing
Even if you are exposed to the flu, if you clean your hands before you touch your face, there’s little chance the germs can reach your eyes, nose, or mouth, the usual ways they enter your system and start wreaking havoc. The key is to make hand cleansing a habit. Aside from after a bathroom break, wash your hands with soap and water—or use hand sanitizer—before you eat, after being in crowded public places, like the mall, or if you’ve been near someone who’s sneezing or coughing.
Gargle with salt water to ease the pain of a sore throat sometime or another, but yes, it works. Studies say that gargling with tap water a few times a day keeps cold miles away.
Stop nibbling your nails
When you bite your nails, you’re basically inviting flu germs to infect you. No matter how anal you are about hand washing, let’s face it—you can’t park yourself in front of a sink or use hand sanitizer 24-7. That’s where the avoid-unnecessarily-touching-your-face rule comes in.
Editor’s note:Money cannot buy happiness, but does wealth not make it easier to enjoy life? And how does one build wealth, is it thanks to getting a university degree? Kenneth Doghudje, a finance expert and the Naij.com contributor, calls into question the benefits of standardised education. What is important, he says, is paying attention to only those things that would be relevant to one.
One of the greatest tragedies of our time is the fact that current schooling is grossly inadequate to aid us in the acquisition of wealth. We spend on the average sixteen years going through primary, secondary and tertiary institutions; yet many people will never be able to amass enough wealth in their lifetime.
I am convinced that this development is part of some grand conspiracy to keep most people in poverty and servitude. Consider the fact that the knowledge of money, perhaps one of the most essential skills needed to succeed in life, is not taught in any schools. Excuse me, but of what use is the study of algebra, trigonometry, neutrons and spirogyra in the outside world today? Is this knowledge going to create wealth? Definitely not!
I cry conspiracy because the educational system in operation in the world today was modeled after the industrial economy of the 1800s and 1900s which has since become outdated. In the United States at that time, the richest men such as Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie, connived to set up foundations whose vision was to maintain control of the population by controlling their education. This would ensure that large amounts of wealth would remain in their hands.
The educational systems are excellent at churning out employees, not entrepreneurs. They indoctrinate people to do as they are told, minimize making mistakes, and prescribe harsh punishments for any deviations in behaviour. Most importantly, one is not encouraged to challenge or question the status quo or to take risks. Thus, students want to be conformists and see employment as security to be preferred over the freedom to pursue one’s dreams.
Entrepreneurs play where substantial wealth can be created. They are many times non-conformists who question established ways of doing things and challenge the status quo. They think outside the box, are driven to innovate, and are always on the lookout for opportunities to take advantage of. In addition, they are risk-takers. Many have the potential for becoming entrepreneurs but the education system has conditioned them to be employees instead.
Today, there are billionaires who never completed their education. Hugely successful personalities like Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Michael Dell did not complete schooling in the sense we are accustomed to, by finishing university. Notwithstanding this, they have been able to amass wealth and fortune.
This points to the fact that another type of learning is required; the type that is “non-school,” which equips entrepreneurs with the required skill sets to become wealthy. These lessons are not learned in a structured classroom or curriculum setting; rather, they are learned by investing in continuous personal development, the type that can be found in relevant books and other educational materials.
This type of learning utilizes the best methods for mastering anything which is learning by doing. It advocates taking the plunge, starting that business, taking risks, and steps towards the attainment of your goals. In the course of doing so, mistakes will be made. However, mistakes are tools for learning how to do it better next time. Learning outside the classroom is the avenue by which wealth is acquired.
Peter Bernstein and Annalyn Swan in their book, “All the money in the world: How the Forbes 400 make – and spend – their fortunes,” extensively researched the list of four hundred richest Americans over a twenty-five year period between 1982 and 2006. I was surprised to discover that in 2006, the average net worth of the richest people with a college degree was three billion dollars. Those without a college degree were worth on the average twice as much, nearly six billion dollars!
Clearly, having finished school is not a guarantee of success.
Now that two decades have been spent learning to end up as an employee and using the wrong approach, we must commit to lifelong learning, acquiring relevant knowledge to build wealth using the right approach. Going to school and getting a good job is not the formula for wealth, if it was, then many more people would have been wealthy.
It’s time to learn other things that will cause you to build wealth. You cannot become wealthy without the right knowledge. It’s time to dump what hasn’t produced and replace it with what will produce. It’s time to forget what you’ve learned in school!
Watch Mr Doghudje’s educational video on becoming wealthy and successful:
Kenneth Doghudje is currently the managing director of GfK RT Nigeria, the West-African subsidiary of the fifth largest market research agency in the world. He promotesMoneytalk, a knowledge-based organization committed to dispensing financial intelligence that leads to financial freedom. He also creates money lessons videos on the Youtube channel. Reach out to him on firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @moneytalkng.