7 inspirational quotes to lift your flagging spirits
Photo: Aziz Acharki/Unsplash
You often need words of encouragement, a strong dose of motivation, a spark of inspiration—call it what you will—when you’re feeling down and lonely and anxious. Sometimes you need them to overcome hurdles or simply to help you through the day. While quotes and sayings of well-known personalities and thought leaders may not always relieve you of everyday stress and mental conflicts, the learnings from their experiences will give you renewed hope and influence you to lead a more meaningful and successful life.
Here is a collection of insightful passages that will lift your flagging spirits.
Serenity is more to be desired than gold
"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character, which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life—a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!"
— James Allen, English philosophical writer, in As a Man Thinketh
Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens
"Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness, possesses you. And in this materialistic age, a great many of us are possessed by our possessions. Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest."
— Peace Pilgrim (born Mildred Lisette Norman), American spiritual teacher, mystic and peace activist
How to be calm in the midst of a storm
"A mind that is racing over worries about the future or recycling resentments from the past is ill equipped to handle the challenges of the moment. By slowing down, we can train the mind to focus completely in the present. Then we will find that we can function well whatever the difficulties. That is what it means to be stress-proof: not avoiding stress but being at our best under pressure, calm, cool, and creative in the midst of the storm."
— Eknath Easwaran, India-born spiritual teacher and author, in Take Your Time: The Wisdom of Slowing Down
Focus every minute on doing the task in front of you
"Concentrate every minute on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can—if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you."
— Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and a Stoic philosopher, in Meditations
Fear is the cause of all our woes
"Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvellous work. It is fear that is the great cause of misery in the world. It is fear that is the greatest of all superstitions. It is fear that is the cause of all our woes, and it is fearlessness that brings heaven even in a moment. Therefore, arise, awake and stop not until the goal is reached."
— Swami Vivekananda, Indian monk, philosopher and religious teacher
Your future lies in living now
"Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune's control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately."
— Seneca, Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist
Live and be ever happy
"There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living."
"Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words—wait and hope."
— Alexander Dumas, French novelist and playwright, in The Count of Monte Cristo