04 Mar 2016

Best Quotes I've Come Across

A running list of epic quotes and ideas.

Below is a list of quotes I’ve read or picked up along the way that I’ve especially enjoyed. If you have some quotes that are particularly meaningful for you, share them in the comments below 😊.

On Emotions

“It is important to maintain your equanimity. You cannot let yourself get too ‘up’ or too ‘down’ based on your circumstances.”

“Too ‘down’ I understand. But why not too ‘up?’

“Because the higher your mountains are, the deeper your valleys will seem. You should not react to the world. You should respond, but not react. A response is an action based on logic. A reaction is an emotional state. Your reaction will not change the world. Your reaction only changes you. Your response will change the world.”


“Take a deep breath and realize how small this moment is in the vast scheme of you life. It will all come to pass, and you will be successful, as long as you keep your head on straight.”

— Article I read but couldn’t track down

“Long ago in Japan, two monks, one older and one younger, were walking down the road when they came to the edge of a river. A recent storm had washed away the bridge, and a young woman was standing by the side of the river. The current was rather strong, and she was unable to cross.

The older of the two monks stopped and offered to carry the woman across. The woman gladly accepted and the monk did so.

The younger monk watched in silence, aghast. He knew that it was against the rules of their order to have any physical contact with women. As the monks continued on with their journey, the younger monk stewed in the memory of his elder breaking one of the rules of the order.

Finally, he could stand it no longer. “How could you?!?” the younger monk cried out.

Startled, the older monk replied, “How could I? How could I what?” “How could you carry that woman across the river when the rules of our order tell us otherwise?” said the younger monk.

“Ah” said the older monk gently, “I left that woman back on the other side of the river. I see you are still carrying her.””


On Purpose

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

– Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

“What you cannot stand to see done badly is exactly where you ought to work. Other people might not even be bothered by these things, but your inability to put up with anything less than excellence means that you have an interest there. You need to recognize, “This is an area I have passion about.”


On Career

“The other big lesson of success (in life, not just recruiting) is to do the things that others do not do, do not know how to do, or choose not to do.”


“He’d observed that audacity was often the only thing that separated two equally talented men and their job titles. Dad had taught me that there is genius, even kindness, in being bold. Nothing in my life has created opportunity like a willingness to ask, whatever the situation.

From the amazing book, Never Eat Alone

“Our achievements grow according to the size of our dreams and the degree to which we are in touch with our mission.”

From the amazing book, Never Eat Alone

“Almost every day, some ambitious young man or woman sends me an e-mail that states all too directly, “I want a job.” Or, “I think you can help me. Take me on as your mentee.” I shudder at how deeply these young folks misunderstand the process. If they’re going to get my help, and they haven’t even offered their help in return, then at minimum they should attempt to endear themselves to me. Tell me why you’re special. Tell me what we have in common. Express gratitude, excitement, and passion.”

From the amazing book, Never Eat Alone

“Disciplined dreamers all have one thing in common: a mission. The mission is often risky, unconventional, and most likely tough as hell to achieve. But it is possible.””

From the amazing book, Never Eat Alone

On Ideas

The notion that ideas are most vulnerable in their infancy.

“I kept it [the idea of Spanx] a secret for 1 year. I was very careful right away to keep it to myself because I believe ideas are most vulnerable in their infancy. It’s instinct to turn to your right or left and tell a friend and when you do that, ego is invited into the mix and then you spend all your time defending the idea and explaining it and not pursuing it. I needed to be at the place where I knew I wouldn’t turn back no matter what I heard. I had invested enough of my time and sweat equity into the idea that I told people and the things I heard were “if it’s such a good idea why hasn’t someone done it already?” and “if it’s a good idea then you’re gonna spend your savings on this and in 6 months, the big guys are gonna knock you out of the water”. And these things were all coming from a place of love but I feel like if I heard all of that at the beginning, I’d probably still be selling fax machines.”

an interview with the Spanx founder, Sara Blakely

## On Life Perspective

Every season ends so that something more beautiful can bloom.

– Old Proverb

On Making the Most of Youth

“As we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. In fact, in many cases it is really good. It means you’re influencing people, leaving a legacy.

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.”


On Discrimination

“So my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this: when faced with sexism, ageism, lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better spent used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people that were jerky to you.”

From Tina Fey’s amazing book, Bossypants

On Love

“You will miss out on some near soul mates. This goes for friendships, too. There will be unforgettable people with whom you have shared an excellent evening or a few days. Now they live in Hong Kong, and you will never see them again. That’s just how life is.”


“For me, I’ve found that when I become obsessed with someone, it’s usually because I seem to have found a beauty in them that isn’t found in everyone else I meet and that captures me.”

– A random discussion thread

“But human happiness doesn’t function in sweeping strokes, because we don’t live in broad summations—we’re stuck in the tiny unglamorous folds of the fabric of life, and that’s where our happiness is determined. So if we want to find a happy marriage, we need to think small—we need to look at marriage up close and see that it’s built not out of anything poetic, but out of 20,000 mundane Wednesdays.”


On Kindness

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

– Hebrews 13:2

Other Advice

For more life perspective pieces check out the life perspective post, and What Part of Aging Do You Wish Someone Had Warned You About?.