Feel stuck? Most of us do from time to time. If you’re trying to get your new year in gear, we’ve gathered some of the best bits of wisdom we could find. Whether you need a little inspiration – or a major kick in the pants – read on for encouragement and motivation.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
The full quote by this ancient Chinese philosopher reads: “A tree as big as a man’s embrace grows from a tiny shoot. A tower of nine stories begins with a heap of earth. The journey of a thousand miles starts from where one stands.” This is a gentle reminder for those overwhelmed by a large task or project.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
And he should know. Often referred to as “the Great One,” Gretzky is the National Hockey League’s all-time leader in goals and is considered by many to be the best in the history of the game. It’s excellent advice to always take the shot.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
– ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
Eleanor Roosevelt was a controversial figure during her lifetime. Known for speaking her mind, the first lady fought for women in the workplace, the civil rights movement, and other important causes. She even publicly disagreed with her husband, FDR, on occasion. Yet, her courage and conviction are the lessons here.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
An American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur, Walt Disney’s career is legendary. From creating Mickey Mouse and his many films, to his international theme parks, Disney dramatically impacted the world. His advice seems simple: roll up your sleeves and get to work.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.”
An aviation pioneer and author, Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Thanks to her courage and grit, she set several other records as well. She’s a great example of the power of determination.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
He was a founding father, the third president of the United States, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. And here, Jefferson seems to be an early thinker in the now-popular notion of stepping outside your comfort zone.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something… unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
This best-selling author of the beloved “Harry Potter” series is quite the success story. While living in relative poverty, Rowling’s Harry Potter characters first came to life while she waited for a delayed train. Although many publishers rejected her, and she experienced rough times – financially and otherwise – she persevered and prospered.
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”
The Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Eliot, had a massive influence on the direction of modern poetry. His philosophy about the ability to start over is a good reminder for all of us.
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
Maya Angelou inspired generations with her words. This author, poet, and activist clearly states that fitting in is overrated. Be your authentic self.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
King was perhaps the most prominent leader in the civil rights movement. His famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” shared his vision of the United States being free of segregation and racism. His quote above speaks to having faith that we can accomplish big dreams and ideas one step at a time.
“The future depends on what you do today.”
Gandhi played a crucial role in India’s gaining independence from British rule. His nonviolent civil disobedience and his work for social justice made him a national hero. His actions indeed changed the future for many.
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Widely considered one of the greatest American writers of all time, Mark Twain is perhaps best known for his classic novel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Twain reminds us not to let life pass us by.
“Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.”
Turner was an American singer-songwriter known for his bold guitar. His message is simple: Don’t give up on your dreams.
“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
— Anne Frank, German diarist
Anne Frank lived in hiding under Nazi persecution and documented daily life in her diary. During this horrific period, she wrote this famous quote – along with many other positive thoughts. Under such dire circumstances, her attitude remained optimistic.
“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”
It’s unknown who initially said this, but the intent is clear: hard work pays off. It may take time and a lot of effort, but there is no greater reward than accomplishing something big.