[Mark Twain said a lot of what we need to hear with humor. Here are some more of my favorites.]
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
When you are young, your mom and dad may give a lot of things. As you grow older, you may have a sort of entitlement. You may feel like the world should just give you what you want or that it owes you something. This belief can cause a lot of anger and frustration in your life. Because the world may not give you what expect it to. On the other hand, this can be liberating too. You realize that it is up to you to shape your own life and for you to work towards what you want. You are not a kid anymore, waiting for your parents or the world to give you something. You are in the driver’s seat now. And you can go pretty much wherever you want.
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
I think this has quite a bit of relevance to self-improvement. If you start to change or do something different than you usually do then people may react in different ways. Some may be happy for you. Some may be indifferent. Some may be puzzled or react in negative and discouraging ways. Much of these reactions are probably not so much about you but about the person who said it and his/her life. How they feel about themselves is coming through in the words they use and judgments they make. And that’s OK. I think it’s pretty likely that they won’t react as negatively as you may imagine. Or they will probably at least go back to focusing on their own challenges pretty soon. So what other people may say and think and letting that hold you back is probably just fantasy and barrier you build in your mind.
You may find that when you finally cross that inner threshold you created then people around you may not shun you or go chasing after you with pitchforks. They might just go: “OK”.
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”
What you focus your mind on greatly determines how things play out. You can focus on your problems and dwell in suffering and a victim mentality. Or you can focus on the positive in situation, what you can learn from that situation or just focus your mind on something entirely else.
It may be “normal” to dwell on problems and swim around in a sea of negativity. But that is a choice. And a thought habit. You may reflexively start to dwell on problems instead of refocusing your mind on something more useful. But you can also start to build a habit of learning to gain more and more control of where you put your focus.
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
This may be a bit of a counter-intuitive tip. But one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to make someone else feel good or to help them in some way. This is a great way to look at things to create an upward spiral of positivity and exchange of value between people. You help someone and both of you feel good. The person you helped feels inclined to give you a hand later on since people tend to want to reciprocate. And so the both of you are feeling good and helping each other. Those positive feelings are contagious to other people and so you may end up making them feel good too. And the help you received from your friend may inspire you to go and help another friend. And so the upward spiral grows and continues.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Awesome quote. And I really don’t have much to add to that one. Well, maybe to write it down and keep it as a daily reminder – on your fridge or bathroom door – at your desk – of what you can actually do with your life.
“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”