Since I started this blog, there has been one thing that I’ve tried to avoid: Inspirational content. I wanted to stay focused on content that had actions you could take away from it. I tried to extend this to my Facebook and Twitter accounts as well; I didn’t want to be another blogger blinding you with inspirational quotes on scenic backgrounds to get an easy “like” or re-tweet.
However, when I look back at some of the most challenging times in my life, I’ve always found myself gravitating towards inspirational content to help me power through those times or to provide a bump of courage needed to make hard decisions.
I thought it was about time I did a roundup of some of my favorite quotes and inspirational videos that have helped me throughout my life. The quotes and videos below all have an important message in them that has motivated me to make an important decision in my life. We all have different things that motivate us, but I hope that maybe some of these quotes or videos will speak to you the way they have to me.
Attitude is everything. It took me a long time to realize that but you can dramatically and instantly change any situation you find yourself in just by changing your attitude. While you won’t have control over every situation every time, you will have control of your attitude, every time. The following quote was introduced to me in my final year of college by a professor and it helped transform the way I see situations:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes. ― Charles R. Swindoll
No More Zero Days
Back in college, in just one summer, I added over 25lbs of muscle to my 150lbs frame. My secret? Every single day I worked out. Without fail. There was nothing that would hold me back. Sometimes, I would be sick, exhausted or hungover but I forced myself to drive to the gym. Many times I would be so tired or sick that I would do one pull-up and leave the gym and drive all the way home. It was kinda silly but it worked. It forced me to keep moving forward and never lose momentum.
This method was summarized really well by the user “Ryans01” on Reddit when he was giving advice to a fellow entrepreneur. He listed several rules but the most important one, and the one that blew up on Reddit, was called “No More Zero Days.” It has become so popular it now has a subreddit dedicated to it and a cult-like following.
Here’s Ryans01 rule:
Rule numero uno – There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros.
I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system.
Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero. You feel me? When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behavior is keeping the vortex goin, that’s what you’re used to.
Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON ZEROS. That’s rule number one. Do not forget. ― Ryans01
I Hope You Live A Life You’re Proud Of
The next quote comes from the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Being proud of what you do, the company you keep, and your purpose in life is vital to your success. The next quote and video speaks to that:
I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not. I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
Rise & Grind
Next up is a motivational video from Nike and it’s pure poetry. There are a few quotes in this monologue that I feel are pretty powerful and re-energize me every time I start to feel lazy.
Never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress, She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake. She is ever searching for that weak place in your armor , that one tiny thing you forgot to prepare for .
You’re a lion in a field of lions, all hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says VICTORY is the only thing that can keep you alive .
Luck is the last dying wish of those who wanna believe that winning can happen by accident, sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice.
Talent vs. Greatness
In the next video, Will Smith talks about talent vs. skill and his thoughts on them. Again, the theme is really about working hard and hustling. He explains how talent — while great and all — can fail you. It’s hard work and never giving up that will stand the test of time and make you truly great at your craft.
The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things, you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.
I Am a Champion
This is a popular speech a coach gave to his football team before a big game that has made its rounds on the internet. The intensity and word choices he uses are powerful and there are several really great quotes in this video that I feel stand out.
Some of my favorites are:
No one will deny me. No one will defy me. And no one will tell me who and what I am and what I can be. Belief will change my world. It has moved continents, it has moved countries. It has put man on the moon.
My heart and my mind will carry my body when my limbs are too weak.
History will remember me. I will not have to worry about him being kind. I will define myself. I will write my own praises.
Who Do You Want To Be In Life?
There’s no denying Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success. The guy moved from Austria to America with nothing, became one of the most famous bodybuilders of all time, ran several successful businesses, went on to become one of the most successful movie stars of all time with one of the most successful quotes in movie history (“I’ll be back”), went on to become the Governor of California and married a Kennedy. Like he says in the video below, “If I had listened to the naysayers, I’d still be in the Austrian Alps yodeling.”
Here are some of the quotes from the video below, which I believe originally came from a University commencement speech):
Don’t be afraid to fail. Anything I ever attempted I was always willing to fail. Don’t be afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself.
Too many people are afraid to start their first ecommerce business because they aren’t sure if they have chosen the right product or niche or they don’t know which ecommerce platform to use. I searched for months for my first ecommerce product. When I felt like I was going to give up on the dream of starting my own ecommerce business I randomly choose a product to sell just so I could keep going instead of letting the dream die. I wasn’t afraid to fail, in fact, I was sure I probably would fail but I knew I had to take a shot.
You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision. And you know it’s the right thing to do. Success will come.
Your vision may change over time but you should always have a vision of where you want to be and your path to get there. Stay steadfast on that path and every day take one step forward.
You never want to fail because you didn’t work hard enough.
I don’t work a 4-hour workweek. My weeks are closer to 80-100 hours. When I take trips and vacations I work. In fact, I am writing this post from Paris right now. At the end of the day even if I fail, no one — but most importantly, me — will be able to say I didn’t work hard enough.
Arnold also breaks down his 6 rules for success which are noteworthy:
1. Trust yourself
2. Break some rules
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
4. Ignore the naysayers
5. Work like hell
6. Give something back
I use to blame other people for not being where I wanted to be in life. It sounds weird, right? Well, growing up — and working part-time jobs and, right up until a few years ago, working corporate — I would blame the company for not paying me more. I’d blame my manager for not recognizing my talents, abilities, and efforts and rewarding me more. It was always their fault.
The next quote from the Rocky movie is a popular one but hit me especially hard (no pun intended).
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!
The key line here that impacted me was, “If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth.” You can’t blame anyone else for not being where you want or expected to be in life. If you are worth more money or respect, then go and get it.
There you have it: My favorite quotes that have all—at some point in time—inspired or motivated me to make a big decision or take action. Do any of these inspirational quotes speak to you?