What’s in a quote?

I love quotes.  You might even say I’m obsessed with them.  I love hearing some profound thought that is summed up into one sentence and causes me to think about it for the rest of the day.  Sometimes it even provokes me to change my life.  I’ve begun what I hope will be an influential business venture, shaped around my desire to get us to start critically thinking again and talking to each other.  We can’t be afraid to share and have our ideas challenged.  How confident can we really be in them if we’re afraid to share them with others?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Those words are from Mahatma Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader in India.  He was assassinated in 1948 for his views and influence.  This is my all-time favorite quote and is what has inspired me to try and do just as his words say. 

You don’t like liars?  Stop lying.  You don’t like laziness?  Get off the couch.  You don’t like immorality?  Be an example to your children.  You want to be prosperous so that you can help others and contribute to causes that align with your values?  Me too.  And although I don’t have a formula (as if one existed) for how exactly to make that happen, I’m working on it every day. 

I have a sterling silver bracelet with the Serenity Prayer on it that I wear every day.  It reminds me that some things are out of my control and some things are fully in my control.  When I really feel I need a kick in the pants, I turn to folks like Larry Winget.  He’s the author of books like “You’re Broke Because You Want to Be” and “Shut Up, Stop Whining, & Get a Life”.  Who is he?  Why, he’s known as “The Pitbull of Personal Development” if that tells you anything.  Sometimes I need a little sugar-coating and sometimes I don’t. 

Many of my favorite quotes come from our Founding Fathers.  When you look back on what they faced against Great Britain, their “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” really is evidence of how we got to be the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  Unfortunately, many of us don’t see the Founders as anything more than white, racist slave owners.  This could not be further from the truth.  (Please see here for the real story.  Their actual words offer a contextual perspective you may not have ever heard.) 

Also, hearing tidbits from history kindle my desire to seek out how we got to where we are today.  One of the greatest and most relevant quotes to today is from George Santayana who said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  What we have to learn from the words of those who came before us, cannot be taken for granted.  Although much has changed, values and principles do not.  We can and should learn as much as we can from the lessons of history.  God forbid we forget our past.  It’s much more painless to gain wisdom by learning from the mistakes of others, rather than having to make them ourselves…again.

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