Just a Thought - Inspirational quotes

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We live in interesting times. Times that mankind has never experienced before. Do you ever wonder why you were born into this time?

It seems like every day I receive numerous e-mails in my “Inbox” and I have no idea why I am receiving them. Although most of them are “nonsense,” sometime a few months ago I must have clicked a button somewhere that causes me to regularly receive “Inspirational Quotes.” One day they just started coming in and they have continued to be sent to me ever since.

I like some of the quotes better than others. Today I thought I would share with you some of the quotes that I find to be more inspirational.

One quote is by Abraham Lincoln, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” A related quote of President Lincoln’s that I like is “God must love the common man, he made so many of them.” I put these two quotes together as the phrase “common man” extends across all walks of life. Abraham Lincoln is telling us that it doesn’t matter so much what you do in this world, but choose to do it well.

I like a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that ties in the same concept, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep the streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” A challenge to each of us regardless of what our contribution is in this world.

We just passed the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, so I thought I would share another of his quotes, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” I think the Rev. King is telling us that if we take the right first step and then follow it with the right second step, and third step, the unknown staircase ahead will take care of itself. If we wait until we know the entire staircase, it may be to late to take the first step.

A Judy Garland inspirational quote was “Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” If I live my life seeking to be anyone else, I will fail. My job is to take the gift set that only I have and develop it fully. Be the best I can be, not the second best of someone else.

Our experience in this life is tied to what we expect. Maurice Setter is quoted with “So much of how we experience life is tied to what we expect from it. Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.” You can be happy because of what you have or unhappy because of what you don’t have, but either way you have the same things.
Kathleen Norris said, “Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine.” What you pray for reveals what is in your heart.

The most important part of each of our bodies is the six or seven inches between our ears. What happens in our minds determines our view of the world. Alain-Rene Lesage said “I am happy and content because I think I am.” An anonymous quote was “What happens in our happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Continuing on attitude, Martha Washington is quoted as saying “The greater part of our happiness depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” In other words, happiness is not based upon circumstances, but on attitude. Storm Jameson is quoted with “Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.”

Charlie Chaplin added a new element to attitude when he said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Margaret Thatcher is quoted with “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”

On the issue of success, Bob Dylan had his own unique definition, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” An unattributed quote is “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Albert Schwitzer shared, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”                

To obtain success one must be able to overcome failure. Winston Churchill said, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” A related quote by Henry David Thoreau is, “In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”

A quote on tolerance to keep us from having tunnel vision is one by H. Jackson Brown Jr., “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

Quotes not tied to a source include “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” and “If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” Both of these contain words of wisdom.

My challenge to you is to be inspired and motivated ... however that looks to you. Whether it is inspirational quotes from the outside or self-motivation from within you, you only have so many trips around the sun. Spend them wisely.

As I wind up this column, a quote I like is attributed to Anne Lamott, “Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’” One that I just received last week that is anonymous is “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.”

Elbert Hubbard said, “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” Be extraordinary in the life you live.

Finally, I will close with a Christopher Morley quote, “Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age.” Those who are blessed with many years need such a cushion.

Just a series of inspirational thoughts...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftandhunter.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202-0850.