“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
—Howard Thurman

“All of man’s troubles come from not knowing how to sit still, alone in a room.”
—Blaise Pascal

“However little television you watch, watch less.”
—David McCullough

“Focusing is about saying no.”
—Steve Jobs

“One of the most powerful motivations is the desire to be better than other people at something. Another one: The desire to know, or do, things you’re not supposed to. Another one closely related: The desire to do something audacious.”
—Paul Graham

“A really intelligent man feels what other men only know.”
—Baron de Montesquieu

“Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.”
—Jim Collins

“People find it very difficult to recognize what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognize what’s new.”
—Rolf Dobelli

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
—Oscar Wilde

“Change breaks the brittle.”
—Jan Houtema

“When the Lord puts us in certain circumstances He doesn’t mean for us to imagine them away.”
—Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
—Samuel Beckett

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
—Dr. Seuss

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“If you write for God, you will reach many people and bring them joy. If you write for people, you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted you will wish you were dead.”
—Thomas Merton

“Do not spend your life searching for a place to call home. Make the bones in your skeleton the only structure you need.”
—Haley Hendrick

“There’s something really powerful about single-author sites that you don’t get anywhere else.”
—Ben Thompson

“Space we can recover, time never.”
—Napoleon Bonaparte

“An intellectual man in complete solitude has excellent entertainment in his own thoughts and fancies, while no amount of diversity or social pleasure, theatres, excursions and amusements, can ward off boredom from a dullard.”
—Arthur Schopenhauer

“Life is like going the wrong way on a moving walkway. Stand still and you go backwards. Walk and you stay put. Gotta hustle to get ahead.”
—Farrelly Brothers

“The real risk is in not changing. I have to feel that I’m after something. If I make money, fine. But I’d rather be striving. It’s the striving, man, it’s that I want.”
—John Coltrane

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”
—Alain de Botton

“There is no adversity capable of stopping you once the choice to persevere is made.”
—Jason Kilar

“Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”
—Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

“Procrastination is your body telling you that you need to back off a bit and think more about what you are doing.”
—James Altucher, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre People

“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
—Jim Carrey

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”
—Earl Nightingale

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.”
—Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“If you don’t have discipline, you don’t deserve to dream.”

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.”
—Søren Kierkegaard

“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.”
—Paul Graham

“The best design is the simplest one that works.”
—Albert Einstein

“Always have ambition, and keep working step by step with no hurry or rest.”

“If you keep waiting until it feels comfortable, you will never work. It never feels comfortable.”

“A good boxer never let his opponent know how much the hit may have hurt. Every boxer needs to know how to take a hit because all boxers get hit. There is no way to avoid getting hit. The same is true in life; there is no way to avoid life’s hits. In taking a hit, the important thing is not whether you fall down, but whether you get up and come back strong.”
—J. J. Thomas

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

“It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”

“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.”
—Luke 6:26

“Would I rather take the pain now or take it later?”

“Do not assume anything Obi-Wan. Clear your mind must be if you are to discover the real villains behind this plot.”

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
—Earl Nightingale

“In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest. All that is set forth in books, all that seems so terribly vital and significant, is but an iota of that from which it stems and which it is within everyone’s power to tap. Our whole theory of education is based on the absurd notion that we must learn to swim on land before tackling the water. It applies to the pursuit of the arts as well as to the pursuit of knowledge. Men are still being taught to create by studying other men’s works or by making plans and sketches never intended to materialize. The art of writing is taught in the classroom instead of in the thick of life. Students are still being handed models which are supposed to fit all temperaments, all kinds of intelligence. No wonder we produce better engineers than writers, better industrial experts than painters.

My encounters with books I regard very much as my encounters with other phenomena of life or thought. All encounters are configurate, not isolate. In this sense, and in this sense only, books are as much a part of life as trees, stars or dung. I have no reverence for them per se. Nor do I put authors in any special, privileged category. They are like other men, no better, no worse. They exploit the powers given them, just as any other order of human being. If I defend them now and then—as a class—it is because I believe that, in our society at least, they have never achieved the status and the consideration they merit. The great ones, especially, have almost always been treated as scapegoats.”
—Henry Miller

“Talk doesn’t cook rice.”
—Chinese Proverb

“I’ve spent 40 years screwing with gear. I was using my parent’s cameras or using the Instamatics they bought for me ever since I was 5 years old. If I had spent this time concentrating on photography instead of on cameras, I’d be a much better photographer.”
—Ken Rockwell

“Work insane or remain the same.”

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”
—Arnold Bennett

“If you would have anything good, receive it from yourself.”

“How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it’s so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics…I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That’s dangerous. It’s extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent.
In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes.

You do not read a book for the book’s sake, but for your own.

You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind.

You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life.

You may read because you did go to college.

You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too.

You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people.

Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise.

Books are a source of pleasure—the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight.

Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.

Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: ‘Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.’”
—Earl Nightingale

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
—Albert Einstein

“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing—that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
—Richard Feynman

“If I’d listened to customers, I’d have given them a faster horse.”
—Henry Ford

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“Plan to invest in blogging for a long time before you see a return. The web is a big, noisy place and unless you’re willing to invest more over a greater period of time than others, you’ll find success nearly impossible. If you’re seeking short-term ROI, or a quick path to recognition, blogging is the wrong path. But if you can stick it out for years without results and constantly learn, iterate, and improve, you can achieve something remarkable.”
—Rand Fishkin

“A blog post is like a miniskirt. It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.”
—Henry (Joe Pulizzi’s friend)

“A depression is a blessing of God. I mean, in the individual it’s the greatest blessing somebody can have.”
—Carl Jung

“I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live.”
—Françoise Sagan

“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”
—Franz Kafka

“Most people go to their grave with their music inside them.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
—Rudyard Kipling

“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
—Stephen Hawking

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
—Pablo Picasso

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”
—Pablo Picasso

“To trudge: The slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in his life except the impulse to simply soldier on.”
—Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany), A Knight’s Tale

“Sometimes learning a fact is enough to make an entire series of corroborating details, previously unrecognized, fall into place.”
—Jorge Luis Borges

“So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”
—Jorge Luis Borges

“You can’t think your way into right action, but you can act your way into right thinking.”
—Bill Wilson

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
—Napoleon Hill

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
—Ansel Adams

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

“It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.”
—Gaius Julius Caesar

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”
—Orson Welles

“Nothing happens until something moves.”
—Albert Einstein

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
—Margaret Mead

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.”
—Albert Einstein

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born. That is why many of the earthly miracles have had their genesis in humble surroundings.”
—Nikola Tesla

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
—Samuel Beckett

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
—Warren Buffett

“A man is born alone and dies alone, and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone, and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.”

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
—Christopher Markus

“The only thing that hurts harder than a failure is not trying.”
—Apoorve Dubey

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
—Karen Lamb

“A writer is someone who pays attention to the world — a writer is a professional observer.”
—Susan Sontag

“You have to be odd to be number one.”
—Dr. Seuss

“‘Perhaps they were right in putting love into books,’ he thought quietly. ‘Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.’”
—William Faulkner

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
—Charles Bukowski

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
—Charles William Eliot

“They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.”
—Kurt Cobain

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
—Anne Lamott

“I’ve been stabbed in the back by those I needed the most. I’ve been lied to by those I love. And I have felt alone when I couldn’t afford to be. But, at the end of the day, I had to learn to be my own best friend because there’s going to be days when no one is going to be there for me but myself.”

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”
—Albert Einstein

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
—Anne Rice

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
—Gustave Flaubert

“Live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else.”
—Dave Ramsey

“We must act out passion before we can feel it.”
—Jean-Paul Sartre