Here are some of the best quotes that have NOT only inspired my life for the better but also helped me question my negative beliefs, change my thought patterns and overcome my fears.
I hope you will find these helpful as well.
"The brain is like Velcro for negativity and Teflon for positivity."
- Rick Hanson
Why I love this quote:
This quote beautifully sums up negativity bias - our brain's tendency to be more attuned to negative things in life than positive things.
This is why a casual smirk or a sarcastic remark can have a bigger impact on us than a sincere compliment or praise.
Personally speaking, I have often struggled with my tendency to amplify the negative events and experiences in my life while minimizing and downplaying the positive happenings.
The key to overcoming negativity bias is mindfulness and deliberately choosing to focus our attention on both the positive and the negative and being aware of the resources and opportunities to solve our problems.
"You act based on what you expect NOT what you want."
- Jennice Vilhauer
Why I love this quote:
This quote just blew my mind when Dr. Jennice Vilhauer opened her Ted Talk asking the audience,
"Raise your hand if you would like to win the lottery"
Almost all the people in the audience raise their hands.
Then she said, "Keep your hand raised if in the past month, you actually bought a lottery ticket."
Just a few hands remain raised.
This perfectly explains why I have failed so many times in my attempts to make a change - whether it's eating healthy or losing weight or starting meditation or educating myself on personal finance.
The core reason for my repeated failure is because I didn't believe or expect any of my efforts to bring the results I wanted.
So I would either put in a half assed effort or come up with a list of excuses or give up on the first roadblock I faced so that I could safely return to my familiar bitter and frustrated state of mind.
When we act based on what we expect and NOT what we want, it makes us understand why we struggle to transform our lives for the better.
"When feelings become the means of thinking, or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change. To change is to think greater than how we feel. To change is to act greater than the familiar feelings of the memorized self."
- Joe Dispenza
Why I love this quote
As someone, who has been a chronic worrier, this quote highly resonates with me.
For a long time, I falsely believed that the only way I could get out of anxiety and depression is by waiting for my feelings to change. Unfortunately for me, days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years and I could never "feel my way out" of negativity.
That was because any mini wave of positivity was eventually eclipsed by a gigantic wave of negativity and my mind would revert to it's default mode.
At that time, I didn't realize that I had to do deliberately do things in order to feel different and NOT just wait for the right feelings to make changes in my life.
Now, when I feel stressed out or anxious, I don't wait till I feel good about myself, I just starting meditating even when I don't feel like doing it because I know that by meditating I will feel better.
In other words, I am now practicing my thinking to be greater than my feelings.
"That's what it takes to get what you want. Not big scary leaps once a year. It takes small, but irritating moves every single day."
- Mel Robbins
Why I love this quote
You know, in the past when I wanted to make a change like losing weight, I would try to make too many drastic changes at one time.
I would start eating salads, avoid salty/sugary snacks, do high intensity training etc.
What I found out was that I couldn't maintain my discipline for more than a week or two and before I knew it, I would berate myself for being such a lazy, weak guy.
I often thought if only I had better discipline and motivation, I would have got better results. It was only later that I realized motivation is in fact bullshit and you have a better chance of achieving your goals by making small, consistent changes.
To continue with my weight loss example, I slowly started making small daily changes which were a lot more effective in my weight loss journey.
Soon, I started my day with a green smoothie which I initially found tough to drink. However I was able to persist with it because I wasn't forcing myself to too many other changes at the same time.
Gradually, I started introducing other habits like having an early dinner and unplugging an hour before I went to bed which helped me lose and maintain my weight.
In short, I did the "small, but irritating moves every single day."
"Consider every thought you have as a suggestion, not an order."
- James Clear
Why I love this quote
What a fantastic perspective- considering your thoughts as suggestions instead of orders.
When you do this, you have the ability to see your thought as a piece of information or a data point rather than the absolute truth.
Let me give you a simple example.
For a long time, at the gym, apart from the elliptical and treadmill, I was pretty clueless about the other gym equipments and needless to say, I was often embarrassed at my lack of knowledge on how to use them.
So whenever I would nervously go to a new gym machine in an effort to understand how to use it, I would be inundated with thoughts like,
- "You are REALLY stupid, you can't even figure out how to use a simple gym machine, you cannot do this",
- "You are going to make a REAL fool of yourself when you try it and end up with a strained back or a pulled hamstring"
- "Why don't you just go back to your elliptical and treadmill and do what you know best" etc.
While I had the genuine curiosity and interest in learning how to use these different machines, my inner negative voice would always talk me out of it. My fearful thoughts made me feel as if all the eyes in the gym were solely focused on me and waiting for their opportunity to laugh at me.
Until one day, I decided to try again and be successful in learning to use at least one gym equipment.
Once again, I had the same judgmental thoughts rush through my mind, but this time, I chose to move forward.
I was trying to figure out how to use an ab bench and after a brief period of awkwardness, I was able to understand how to use it.
I felt good.
And from that moment, I started exploring other gym equipments- while I was able to figure out how to workout on some on my own, some needed to be looked up online and for some I was able to ask folks in the gym who were only glad to help.
Eventually, I was able to work on a number of machines without any fear or discomfort.
Once you view your thoughts as data points rather than absolute truths, you give yourself the freedom to analyze your thoughts with curiosity, kindness and compassion. And when you do that, the results are truly life-changing.
Now it's your turn, what are your favorite quotes and why. Share them in the comments below.