Tag Archives: quote

Monday Motivation: Make a Difference

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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” -William James

 

Sometimes it’s hard to keep yourself motivated for another work day or the beginning of another long work week. You might ask yourself, “Why am I doing this again?” or “Is it really worth the money?” One way to not get bogged down by these thoughts is to adjust your attitude! I know sometimes I focus on the negative too much and find myself complaining and venting to my loved ones. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like about your job, focus on what you do like. You may not be able to change how your day is going, but you can choose how you react to it.

You may wonder if what you do for a living even matters. From the lowest position to the position of a CEO of a major company or corporation, what you do matters and makes a difference in this world. We all affect each other and contribute to our society whether in big or small ways. One of the most important ways is by spreading love and positivity into the world. It’s very easy to complain about what you think is going wrong concerning your position or that your day is terrible, because it’s another boring or stressful Monday. Choose to smile and spread joy.

 

Choose to have a positive attitude!

 

Monday Motivation: Just Try

 

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“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

 

This quote by Olympic medal-winning runner, Gail Devers, seems simple enough, but is actually profound. As a perfectionist, I sometimes feel paralyzed, fearing I’ll do something completely wrong or won’t finish a task perfectly. I quickly jump into worry-mode instead of simply taking the first step.

In order be successful, you must complete your work. Instead of letting fear of failure hinder your progress, just do your best. If you do fail, then you will learn how to do better next time. If you don’t try, you will be filled with regret.

 

Try, learn, and then you will succeed!

 

Monday Motivation: Make it Happen

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“Some people want it to happen. Some wish it would happen. Others make it happen” -Michael Jordan

 

Wishing and doing are two completely different things. Wishing is wonderful; it allows one to use his imagination to start planning goals for the future. But if that person doesn’t take action, he will be forever waiting around for something to happen instead of trying to actually achieve his goals.

It’s easy to look at successful athletes, singers, and entrepreneurs and wish we were like them. They worked hard, took risks, and took full of advantage of every opportunity that was placed in front of them. We may see an extraordinary lady’s end game and think she just got lucky, but the truth is that she got where she is today by taking action, working hard, and not giving up until she saw her dreams manifested.

 

Remember that whatever you do today will shape your tomorrows, so get started and keep going until you achieve greatness. Make it happen!

 

Monday Motivation: Successful People Don’t Mind Others

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“Successful people never worry about what others are doing.”

 

Those who succeed create their own path. They stay on track by ignoring what other people are doing and where they are going. Of course they encourage and help those around them, but they understand that every person is on their own unique journey. They don’t listen to naysayers who discourage them by saying that what they are trying to achieve is impossible or unrealistic. They charge full speed ahead, only focusing on their own path ahead of them.

Successful people don’t worry about looking stupid or silly. They might be doing something no one has done before or creating something that didn’t exist before. They don’t care what others think of it (unless, of course, they are creating a product for customers). They are wholly driven by their passion and not by the approval of others. They work for their own applause and not the accolades of the masses.

 

Monday Motivation: Plan and be Flexible

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“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” -John Lennon

 

Without dreams and goals we wouldn’t accomplish much. We might make carefully laid out plans for our lives, our years, our weeks, and even our days, but we never know what life will throw at us. I believe that to succeed, you have to make plans, but you also must learn to be flexible.

 
Life is full of surprises. Some are pleasant, such as an unplanned visit from a friend you haven’t seen in forever. Others are an unexpected burden like an illness that results in a mountain of medical bills. Those who succeed have learned to navigate through their unforeseen circumstances gracefully. This week, plan to be successful by working hard to achieve your goals, but don’t drown in disappointment if things don’t go your way. As you journey through each day, alter your plans to fit your life. If you want to accomplish much, you have to be flexible, and then you will truly succeed.

 

Monday Motivation: You’re Not Here to Make a Living.

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“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

 

You’re not here to make a living. You’re here to make a life.

 

Some days, or even weeks, I feel like all I do is work and then rest and regroup for work again. It can seem like a never-ending cycle. Am I just living to work? It’s easy for us to get in a routine of counting down the days of the week until the weekend (or until we’re off from work), but we should be appreciating every moment of our life. Whether we realize it or not, we make an impact at our workplace whenever we interact with coworkers, customers, or clients. What kind of impact are we leaving? Personally, I wouldn’t want to be remembered as the complainer or the person with a grimace on my face every day.

I want to attempt to live my life to the fullest wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. Instead of spending my days off checking social media or watching shows, I should be reading or writing to help me become a better writer. I shouldn’t be dreading or worrying about what will happen the next day. To truly live means to be fully present right where you are. It also means to be who you were created to be in order to have a positive influence on others. Life is more than just getting through the work day. To live means to inspire, to encourage, and to make the world better than it was before.

Monday Motivation: Just Get Started

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” -Mark Twain

 

I hate getting out of bed most mornings. I hate cleaning. I even hate the thought of writing on some rare occasions. Once I actually start a task, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. As a serial perfectionist and an avid procrastinator, sometimes it’s hard for me to get started on any work that I have to do for the day. I avoid whatever I have to do, because I think I won’t do a job well enough. Or I might get overwhelmed by all the projects I need to finish that I end up surrendering before I start. Instead of the focusing on the grain of sand, I see an entire mound; maybe even a steep mountain that I feel I must scale before my day is done.

As Mark Twain stated, it truly is easier to get a head start on work by simply beginning. As you start to conquer this week, whether you’re heading off to work or school, don’t let your duties and responsibilities overwhelm you. Take one day at a time or even one moment at a time, putting one step in front of the other as you follow your dreams and aspirations. If you’re writing a book, take on one chapter or one page at a time. If you’re trying to get promoted at work, do what you can for today, but don’t worry about tomorrow. If you’re trying to ace a final, study hard and do your best, but do not linger over one wrong answer. God has provided you with the energy, talent, and resources that you need for today. Make use of these, but do not labor ahead into the future. Simply begin today’s work, and you’ll be one step ahead of those who don’t take that first step.

The Empty Room: A Short Story

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“For me, the short story is the depth of a novel, the breadth of a poem, and, as you come to the last few paragraphs, the experience of surprise.” -Amy Bloom

 

I won’t tell you what I know now, but I’ll tell you what I didn’t know then. When I moved into this small Victorian cottage, no one warned me. They didn’t tell me of the legendary tales of a haunted house. They didn’t utter a word of the mystery surrounding an ancient building. Not one of my new neighbors told me stories of the house’s former tenants disappearing; of their warm coffee cups still sitting on the table and their laundry left in the washing machine. They welcomed me to their small town, greeting me at the door with homemade casseroles and pound cakes. They stared at me with lying eyes, knowing that it might happen to me, too.

Who am I, you ask? I’d tell you, but I don’t even know. Perhaps I was a doctor or a lawyer, moving into town to start my practice or even a curious journalist or an illustrious businessman. I’m not sure. All the details are blurred, faded quietly from memory.

On that first day, I arrived at Beryville, a small community in South Carolina, in the early morning hours. I unloaded my boxes from the truck and set to work cleaning my new home. It appeared that no one had lived there for some time. Dust covered every surface and hung in the air like an unanswered question.

Through the front door was the great room. The master bedroom and guest bedrooms were down the hallway to the right. To the left, there was the parlor, the kitchen, and the library.
In the library, wall to ceiling shelves were unoccupied. As I dusted them, I could smell the aroma of old books and tobacco smoke. There was an indentation on the worn rug where a chair had been sitting by the fireplace. I pictured a former owner perusing through history books, smoking on his pipe, and being warmed by the fire during a long winter. Above the mantel, there was a portrait of just such a man. He stood tall, looking distinguished with a gray beard on his chin and a top hat gracing his head. He looked the epitome of an elegant Victorian male, with a vest and ascot peeking out beneath a long coat. But what stood out to me most were his eyes. The color wasn’t extraordinary, as they were only a muddy brown hidden beneath bushy gray eyebrows, but they were piercing. Almost wild, they stared right back at me, seeming to give this warning: “Leave. Leave while you can.”

I blinked, willing the sight away. “I’ve been in here too long. The dust must be getting to me,” I thought and left the room to do some unpacking. As I emptied every box, it was like opening up my memory bank: old papers I’d written in college, the heavy bedspread my grandmother gave me for colder nights, and the t-shirts I’d earned from running in charity races. These were all items I hadn’t mulled over in a long time.

Gradually, I set up each room, so it began to feel more like a home. Every room was filled with treasured pieces, but my favorite room was still the library. The shelves weren’t entirely full of books yet, but some of them were filled with my books and that’s all that mattered.

One evening, I considered starting a fire for the first time. The nights were getting cooler and this night was especially freezing. I stood in front of the fireplace and found myself staring at the portrait of the man again. I wonder who he was. I peered at his penetrating eyes and, for a moment I swore they moved. It seemed as if he looked down quickly and then back up again. I looked down also and saw the fireplace. Scratching my chin, I moved as close as I could to it without burning myself, laughing at what I was doing. I stuck my head inside the mantel and looked all around. As I turned my head to the right, I saw that the fireplace was a lot deeper than I had imagined. The marble of the bottom stopped after a few inches and the wooden floor of a hallway began. It continued to the right inside the fireplace, enticing me to travel down it. I looked back at the library as if someone was watching and then shrugged as I went all the way into the fireplace and started down the hallway.

At the end, there was only one room. There was no door; only an opening for one. The floors inside were made of the same antique wood as the hallway. There were windows on two of the walls. The moon shone through one of them, eerily. There was nothing in the room. It was completely empty other than the layer of dust covering the entire area and dancing in the air. What was truly odd was that it was completely silent. The walls in this room didn’t creak like the others. I could feel a cool wind, but it didn’t make a sound. The only thing I could hear was my beating heart. There was something mysterious about this room, but I wasn’t sure what it was.

As I walked closer to the room, I could hear my footsteps, but they sounded like an echo; like a sound bouncing back from a black hole. I paused for a moment in confusion, but continued as my curiosity was piqued.

With one foot inside the room, I stopped. It had vanished right before my eyes. I could feel my right foot on the cold floor, but couldn’t see it. Paralyzed with fear, I looked into the room as I slowly reached my right hand in. It disappeared as soon as it was inside. All I could do for the next five minutes was put it inside the room and then take it out slowly. Magic? Sorcery? An illusion? I had to know.

So, I immersed myself fully into the cold room and saw people. There were boys and girls and men and women of different ages and races moving slowly around the room like depressed zombies. They weren’t alive, but they weren’t dead either. Their innocent-looking eyes were blank as they shuffled across the floor. I wondered who they used to be. The blonde girl in the corner could have been a college student studying to be a nurse. The middle-aged male in faded overalls looked like a farmer. A young boy and girl held hands, looking straight ahead. Surely, they were best friends who chased each other around during recess. I mourned for these strangers. Their lives were cut short by death or a sort of eternal purgatory. They wandered this small room without genuinely seeing or feeling anything. It pricked my heart, but also made me yearn for their simple existence.

There’s something in my past I can’t remember. Was it unrequited love or a broken heart? Had I been running from the law or buried deeply in debt? Mistakes or burdens, I remember wanting to forget something. In that moment, I made a decision. I decided to join the serene dance of these lost people. I roamed around the room, trying to find my place in the somber choreography. With heavy steps, I beat out their rhythm with my feet. I kept their slow pace for a minute and then felt my brain go numb. Flashes from my past haunted me for a while, but then they were gone.

I am still here, unaware of what has gone before and unable to perceive any role for me in the future. I can’t tell you what I know now, because I don’t know anything. Sometimes I try to remember what I’ve forgotten, but my brain has been imprisoned or maybe it has been erased neatly with a magical delete button. I’ll never know. I will never remember what I meant to forget, but I will always know it was meant to be forgotten.

Find Peace Within

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“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else”- Marvin Gaye

 

It’s hard to find peace today.  Watch any news program and you’ll be reminded of the wars and violence that are so prevalent around the world, in each of our countries, our cities, and even in some of our own neighborhoods.  Greed, hatred, selfishness, and a love of power has seeped in and stolen others’ innocence, faith in humanity, and an outward peace that we wish was reigning in humanity today.  We’ve learned that we can’t find peace in the world and that has left some of us feeling despondent.

It’s difficult to find peace in our daily lives as well.  Money troubles, school or job stress, our personal hang-ups or struggles, family or relationship problems, and even social media drama.  The list seems endless as we deal with the messy details in our lives.  These dilemmas can leave us full of anxiety, worry, and fear.  Sometimes we can turn to friends and family, but they will eventually fail us at some point, because they are only human also.

If we can’t find true peace in the world or in other people, where can we find it?  We have to look inside ourselves.  But can we create peace on our own?  No, we have to look to God.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:5-7

This verse always challenges me.  As a person who gets social anxiety in a crowded room or when I’m meeting new people, it’s hard to overcome my feelings and be at peace.  I also worry about the distant future and even what might happen to me in a coming week.  I forget that God is in control of everything and that He has already taken care of my future.  I focus on my circumstances instead of talking to Him about them.

If we would learn to let go and change our mindset about our lives, we might just find the serenity we desire.  Instead of opening our souls to dread and worry, we should greet each day with eager optimism and unbridled hope.  We can’t depend on the world or other people to create a peaceful atmosphere around us, but we can learn to find inner peace through prayer and surrender.  We have to give up trying to orchestrate our lives and remember that He is in control already.

Be Yourself and Change the World

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It’s not about trying to change the world, it’s about trying to not be changed by it.”-LIGHTS

 

These words by the popular Canadian electropop artist ring true.  First of all, when we think about wanting to change the world, we don’t think about ourselves.  We think we have to cure world hunger and cancer, make every country peaceful, and get everyone on the planet employed.  These ideas are good but lofty.  It leaves us feeling overwhelmed that we can’t accomplish much as one person.  It makes us want to give up before we’ve even started.

As we go about our daily lives, we are bombarded by pressures from our peers, from media, and from society as a whole.  They tell us we should look a certain way, act a certain way, and hide what makes us unique.  What this quote by Lights expresses is that we shouldn’t let other people change us.  We shouldn’t try to fit into a mold created by those around us.  God created us to be different.  We came with a unique body and face, soul and heart, passions and dreams, goals and a purpose.  We shouldn’t do things because we think they will make us cool, appreciated, popular, or successful.  We should choose our words and actions based on what is right and what passions God has implanted within our hearts.

What we don’t understand most of the time is that if we are who we’re meant to be instead of being someone others’ want us to be, we will change the world.  If we become who we are created to be, we encourage others to be their true self.  Others’ opinions seem less important when you view a person shining their own light.  They make the right decisions, care for other people, and don’t live solely for the crowd’s approval.  Your appearance, popularity, and level of success will fade into the background when you see an individual with self-worth not dependent on any of those aspects.  When you see someone loving themselves just the way they are, including their flaws, it gives you the courage to do the same.  It inspires you to change the world by first loving yourself and then accepting others with all their imperfections.  Change the way you view yourself and you will change the way you view other people.  Be yourself and change the world.

 

(For more on Lights visit her website:  music.iamlights.com)