Thoughts on Inspiration

Author: Samantha Thuesen

Inspirational quotes help to guide us through life. There’s essentially a quote for every situation and emotion: loss, happiness, confusion, love. It’s comforting to know that someone else has at one point felt the same as you. I was curious to see what some of the most popular inspirational quotes are so I could evaluate my own personal growth as well as provide additional thoughts.

Here are the “Top Ten Inspirational Quotes,” provided by BrainyQuote.

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

When I read this quote, I think about procrastination. Personally, I always leave things until the last minute, a habit I’m trying to break. That’s more of a literal interpretation. I also like to see this quote as a motivation to change. We all want to change something about ourselves for the better. If we want to be more generous, the best way is to be kind today.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” –Joseph Campbell

It’s difficult to not plan your life out in your head. We all aspire, and we’re all worried about achieving our goals. Something I’ve been trying to do more of lately is follow life rather than lead it. Of course, it’s necessary to lead your life at times – to be a good person and to make decisions – but sometimes you must be a follower. Whether it’s finding a relationship or being unsure about a career path, it’s alright to see where life takes you.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller

This is a beautifully constructed statement we can all learn from every day. Helen Keller, being blind and deaf, knew what beautiful was just through touch. In the end, love is what matters, not possessions, money, or your job. In the craziness of your busy life, don’t forget to pause and look around for love.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” –Jimmy Dean

This is one of my favorites because I love metaphors, especially ones about the ocean. For me, it simplifies conflict. On a boat, (for someone who knows how to sail at least) it’d be common sense to adjust your sails, and to do it immediately (I don’t sail, so I could be wrong). We should treat our problems like this, too. Adjust to the change. Don’t let your ship sink.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” –Jim Rohn

Like Helen Keller’s quote, this can be applied to your life every day. We’re designed to be happy, so if something is hindering that for you, you need to reevaluate. I will say, however, that I believe in some situations things need to get worse before they get better. As long as you know you’re going to come out of something happier than you were before, you’re doing just fine.

“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” –Swami Sivananda

I’d say this is a difficult concept to fulfill. We’re not going to love everything we do, but it is true that success comes from hard work, and that work is not always going to be enjoyable. We need to remind ourselves regularly that everything we do is for our future. A teacher once told me something that continues to stick with me. I’ll alter it slightly to avoid profanity: don’t put your name on garbage. You’re representing yourself with everything you do, so do something to make yourself and others proud. Make a good impression.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” –Steve Jobs

I think this quote says everything to the point. It’s been said many different ways, but “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” –Marc Anthony. It’s easier said than done of course, but as long as you’re determined to “keep looking,” there’s no way you’ll fail.

“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

Breathing is different than living. It’s important to survive, but it’s more important to be happy, and that means being good to people, laughing, and feeling confident.

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” –Kevyn Aucoin

This is another one of my favorites. Being happy is important, but it’s not the only thing. We’re human, and we’re going to feel a plethora of emotions in our lifetime. “Every morning when [we] wake up [we] can choose joy, happiness, negativity, [or] pain,” but why not choose all of them? It’s what makes us human; it’s how we learn and grow. Embrace all your emotions, all your experiences, and you’ll feel whole.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” –Rabindranath Tagore

Another metaphor! Automatically I’m in love. It brings such comfort to compare ourselves to nature. The sky is always so beautiful, whether it’s clear or cloudy, light or dark, pink or blue. Our lives can carry that same principle; we just need a new perspective.

Find your own form of inspiration through these quotes; maybe they mean something different for you. We motivate each other through our experiences, so share knowledge, and we can all succeed.

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