Quotes are like beautifully crafted boxes. They look nice and shiny, but inside, they're empty.
Occasionally, you see or hear a quote that sticks. It burns into your mind as you repeat it over and over. It gives you motivation when you're feeling lazy. It provides strength when you feel weak.
On the rarest occasions, you hear a quote which is powerful enough to provide a framework for how you live your life.
The following eight quotes have had a massive impact on how I live. Together, they drive my decisions, give me motivational drive and get me jumping out of bed in the morning.
Clip in your seatbelt, hold tight and come for a ride into the depths of my mind.
"What is the one thing I could do, that by doing such, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?"
- The One Thing, Jay Papsan and Gary Keller
'The One Thing' is still one of the best time management and productivity books I've ever read.
This quote summarises the main point of the book. Each day, you must find the one, most important thing to do, then do it before anything else.
How can you strip back on all the unnecessary things on your to-do list? What's the One Thing which will make life easier?
Every morning I sit down and ask myself this question. Within minutes I have a goal for the day and know what my MITs (most important tasks) are.
Clarity is a blessing. This quote (and book) is a life changer.
"If more information was the answer, then we'd all be billionaires with perfect abs."
- Derek Sivers
I like this quote because it highlights the futility of constantly searching for more information. Always searching for more advice and mindlessly consuming more podcast, blogs and Facebook feeds gets you nowhere.
Instead of looking for more, do something with what you have.
It's not about information anymore. We are in the Information Age, with every bit of information imaginable in the world available at our fingertips. It's about implementation. Actually doing. Creating. Writing. Curating the information into easily digestible chunks for others to consume.
Stop looking for more information. You have enough. Take the next step and do something with it.
"Show up every day."
- Dan Meredith
Profound? Not at all. But when it's drilled into your head daily, it starts to seep in.
I first remember coming across this in Dan Meredith's book, 'How To Be F#cking Awesome', although, I'm sure it's been said by many before him.
The premise is to show up every day. Rain or shine. Happy as a clam or brooding miserably. Make the commitment to serve your audience every, single day whether you want to or not.
This is deeply related to consistency being more important for success than anything else. Knowledge is important. Personality is important. But, showing up and doing the work every day is the unsexy secret to success.
"Be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon."
- The One Thing, Jay Papsan and Gary Keller
Another quote from 'The One Thing'? Yeah, I like that book.
The second I heard this, my whole perceptions on effective work flipped, and it completely changed the way I organise my day.
It's a summarised version of an article written by Paul Graham called 'Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule' which I highly recommend reading if your goal is to create anything.
I was having trouble making content until I understood how my brain is so much more creative and productive in the morning.
The morning also allows for undistracted work because nothing has happened yet that needs to be managed. This simple idea has split my day into two parts and improved my work quality significantly.
Later in the day I can answer emails, have meetings and manage social media. The morning is my time.
"Do or do not, there is no try."
Star Wars now? Yep. Yoda is the wisest little thing in the universe, so it makes sense to take some of his wisdom and make him proud.
Do you want something? Go and get it. Simple as that.
Further to this, it presents a binary approach to life. Go all in or don't bother. In any aspect of life where a high level of success is desired, a high level of commitment is required. If you want something badly enough you have to 'do' with everything you have.
There are no half-assed attempts. No 'trying'. Do it or don't do it.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
We are the sum of our combined habits.
The foods we eat most will determine our body composition.
The people we hang out with most will determine our perceptions.
The books we read will form our values.
The amount we strength train will determine our muscle mass.
We become what we repeatedly do, so if you want to achieve excellence, you have to 'be' excellent.
Tim Ferriss does a good job of breaking down the habits and routines of the most successful people in the world. This allows us to form a framework of how to 'act' successful, make success a 'habit', then finally, become successful.
A few of the key habits he has discovered (in his book 'Tools of Titans') include:
More than 80% of the 200+ people he has interviewed have some sort of meditation practice.
Journalling, reflecting and appreciating daily gratitudes.
Listening to songs over and over again to get into 'flow states'.
Many of the males over 45 skip (or have little) breakfast.
Getting up early.
Some sort of physical practice that they enjoy
For me, getting up early, writing down daily gratitudes and listening to my 'flow' playlist on Spotify (plus, of course, the gym) seems to be working wonders on my happiness and productivity.
This, in turn, puts me on a path to success.
"Control your own destiny, or someone else will."
- Jack Welch
The basis of all entrepreneurship. The single reason I love being my own boss is the control I have over my own destiny.
The return on my work and time investment is directly correlated to the quality, consistency and hard work I put in. There is no-one else who will do it for me.
I'm not working to make someone else's dreams come true (unless they are a client!). I'm working on my own destiny.
Quotes can be meaningless. Instagram is a hive of cute looking words which are supposed to inspire people. The truth is, the motivation which quotes provide is fleeting at best.
Finding your own personal quotes is a whole different story.
Having single phrases which provide enough internal meaning to guide your life can change it for the better.
In them, you have something to test daily actions against. You have reminders or what the ultimate goal is. And finally, you have a first-class ticket to whatever 'success' is, to you.
What quotes drive you?
Let me know. I'm curious.