My Top 7 (Non-Abe) Inspirational Quotes


What’s your favorite inspirational quote? Do you have one (or several) that you find yourself thinking about again and again?

Although I’ve been inspired by countless quotes, there are about a dozen that I regularly reflect on — words that I find myself coming back to again and again for guidance, solace, and inspiration. In my previous post, I shared my seven favorites from the Abraham-Hicks teachings. Now, I’d like to share my seven “non-Abe” favorites, along with some thoughts about them.

You may have already seen some of these (perhaps numerous times) making the rounds on Facebook or elsewhere, while others might be new to you; but, in either case, I hope that you enjoy reading and reflecting on these words as much as I do — and that, like me, you find them to be an ongoing source of inspiration for your own life. 🙂

In no particular order, here are my top 7 (non-Abe) quotes to live by:

1. The Serenity Prayer (“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr)

Although I’m not Christian and have never been in a recovery program, I find myself returning to these simple-yet-powerful words almost daily. It might be for something as mundane as reminding myself not to get bent out of shape over bad weather (or negative news or countless other beyond-my-controllables) and reminding myself that I can change my reaction to the situation (and what I choose to focus on and how I choose to respond to that).

Perhaps my favorite (and most concise) take on this prayer came to me from Lisa Hutchison (in the book 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul). She says, regarding the prayer’s first line (“…things I cannot change”), “this means other people,” and regarding the prayer’s second line (“…things I can”), “this means me.” Keeping this in mind makes it a whole lot easier “to know the difference”!

2. “The one you feed.” (from the Cherokee legend of the two wolves)

In this story, a man tells his grandson that two wolves are fighting within him. “Which one will win?” the boy asks. The grandfather tells him, “The one you feed.”

I’ve returned to this idea countless times, often summarizing the message with the two words, “focus feeds.” I think of this message when I find myself dwelling on something negative. “No,” I think. “This is not the ‘wolf’ I want to feed!” And then I make a conscious decision to “feed the other wolf” — to give my attention to positive thoughts, things I appreciate, or anything that shifts me in a better-feeling direction.

I also think of this message when I notice myself focusing on something positive — and feeling better and better as I do — and I think, “Yes! This IS the ‘wolf’ I want to feed!” And I keep on feeding it…and keep on feeling better!

3. “Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” ~ Guillaume Apollinaire

This falls into the same general category as another one of my favorites (which certainly could have made this list — or at least gotten an honorable mention): “The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.” ~ Frank Herbert

Both of these quotes, to me, have the same underlying message: We can spend so much time striving to reach goals, practice self-improvement, or “figure it all out” that we forget to actually LIVE — to experience the life we have!

Just as Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” others have added, “The unlived life is not worth examining!”

By all means, continue to explore, to question, to learn, and to grow — but remember to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. Therein lies the joy in life.

4. Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I find this quote coming to mind more than ever these days, in the age of flippant tweets, snarky blog comments, and other ways to critique others’ performances (often anonymously and not always positively). Yes, it’s easier to hide in the “bleachers” than to get in the “arena” and give life your best shot, but there’s no glory on the sidelines. (In many ways, this echoes the central theme of The Bhagavad Gita. Or, to paraphrase another of my favorite sayings, “No kid ever dreams of growing up to become a critic.”)

To put a modern spin on Roosevelt’s words: Haters, step off!

To put a more positive spin on Roosevelt’s words: Get out there and LIVE!

5. “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle

(Or, for a slightly more in-your-face variation: “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the [b.s.] story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” ~ Jordan Belfort)

I admit, I “reverse-engineered” this one. What really comes to my mind frequently is the idea that it’s not so much the facts of our experiences that matter, but the story we tell about them — this is what determines our worldview, our beliefs, and our LIVES. (With this in mind, I went searching for quotes that sum up this idea, as Tolle’s words [and, in more of a motivational context, Belfort’s] seem to do.)

In my last post, I highlighted the Abraham-Hicks teaching question, “Is this belief serving me?” You could also substitute “story” for “belief” and see if your stories about your life and the world are serving you — i.e., leading you toward happiness. And then, if need be, you can “edit” your story to lead you to a happier ending. No, this doesn’t mean lying; it simply means viewing the facts in a way that is most uplifting and helpful to you (and, most likely, to others as well).

(This is the short version of this idea — for 4 weeks’ worth of exploration, engagement, and implementation, you can check out my ecourse, Rewrite Your Story: A Soulful Path to Becoming the Empowered Author of Your Own Life.)

6. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

(Not sure if there’s anything I can add to this one — that’s how good a quote it is!)

7. “Go back to bed.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

You may have heard Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) tell the story of the first time she spoke directly to God…and got a response! She was sobbing on her bathroom floor at 3:00 a.m. when she first heard what she describes as an omniscient interior voice conveying a critical message to her: “Go back to bed.”

What an anticlimax, right? How banal! Certainly not the spiritual thunderbolt most of us would expect (or want) from a wise, omniscient voice. But it was exactly what she needed to hear in that moment. And it’s exactly what so many of us need to hear much of the time.

Although it might not seem as profound or inspirational as the quotes mentioned above — or as deep and “spiritual” as yoga, meditation, or various mystical practices — taking care of your physical body can have a HUGE impact on every aspect of your life. Yes, this includes a healthy diet and joyful movement, but the first step is to get a good night’s sleep.

The next step is to wake up and LIVE! 🙂

What are some of YOUR favorite inspirational quotes? I’d love to hear your thoughts about the ones above or any others that have inspired you!


My Top 7 Abraham-Hicks Teachings

I love surrounding myself with inspiring words. I’ve spent countless hours reading everything from ancient scriptures to blogs and Facebook posts intended to uplift and enlighten.

While I’m glad to have been exposed to a wide range of teachings, I’ve realized that I could probably live a fairly happy, fulfilling life with just a handful of basic premises, teachings, and quotes.

With this in mind, I recently created a personal “best-of” list of about a dozen such teachings, about half of which came from Abraham-Hicks (who coined the phrase Law of Attraction and teach this concept, which has since been popularized in the movie The Secret […] Continue Reading…

The Mundane Side of Karma

What comes to mind when you hear the word karma?

Do you think of mystical forces such as vibration, energy, or cosmic retribution? Do you think of karma in terms of reincarnation and rebirth? Or maybe (if you share my internal jukebox) you hear an inner medley of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma,” Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon,” and Ratt’s “Round and Round” (featuring the head-banging chorus of “What comes around goes around”).

Whatever words you use (or songs you hear) when describing karma, it’s generally considered a profound, esoteric principle. And yes, I have no doubt that mysterious forces beyond my comprehension are involved in this […] Continue Reading…

Cancel Your Insurance (Mentality)

Insurance is built on an interesting premise: the more you suffer, the more you gain.

If someone leaves a tiny scratch on your car while parallel parking, insurance might cover enough for a paint touch-up…but not a brand-new car. If a doctor accidentally scratches your finger, you probably won’t be able to sue them for as much as if they had transplanted the wrong organ.

In this way, insurance seems very fair. The compensation is (in theory) commensurate with the amount of suffering, loss, or hardship endured. Insurance also provides peace of mind that, if worse comes to worst, you can still hope to […] Continue Reading…

365 Moments of Grace

I’m so excited to announce the launch of 365 Moments of Grace!

This is volume 2 of the 365 Book Series, which my wife and I created in 2015 with the intention to inspire, uplift, and remind you of just how magical our world is and how connected we truly are.

This latest book contains true-life stories of grace, miracles, and transformations from beautiful souls all around the world. There’s one grace-filled story for each day of the year from over 250 authors, including Jodi Chapman, Kristine Carlson, Arielle Ford…and me! 🙂

You can learn all about the book, pick up your own copy, and […] Continue Reading…

99 Pounds of Bricks

I was recently talking with a friend who was weighed down by some pretty serious challenges with her family, her business, and her health. “I feel like I’m carrying around 100 pounds of bricks,” she told me.

My first inclination was to try to fix it — to make her feel all better. I wanted her to feel free and weightless — as if she were walking on air, bursting with joy!

So I started suggesting that she focus on joy — thinking about all the things she loved, felt grateful for, and filled her with vitality and zest for life. Approximately three […] Continue Reading…

I’ve Got Your Back

If you’ve already read my previous post, you know how much I’m enjoying my new house and town near the beach. It’s been an incredibly positive, life-changing move, for which I’m immensely grateful.

What I didn’t mention in that post, however, was how this dream-come-true move was almost a nightmare — and how avoiding it strengthened my faith and taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.

The dodging of the proverbial bullet came exactly one year before we actually moved: December 23, 2014. After months of fruitlessly searching for our dream house on the Oregon coast, my wife and I found one that […] Continue Reading…

This Stuff Really Works

For the past several years, my wife has regularly posted inspiring word art on Facebook. But of all the hundreds of posts she’s shared — others’ and her own — I’m most inspired by the ones she’s put up in the last two months. It’s not because her previous words weren’t inspiring (they were) or that the art wasn’t beautiful (it was); it’s because these latest posts are more than just words to me — they’re my own real-life experiences.

I’m living them.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an experience is worth a million!

For instance, I love the words she put […] Continue Reading…

The Anne Lamott Lighthouse

Do you have a word of the year for 2016?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced the power that comes from setting an intention (for a year, a day, or even the next few minutes) — whether it’s a specific goal or just a general theme. One of my favorite ways to set a general intention for the coming year is to pick a word of the year.

This year, my word is “lighthouse.”

Unlike my words for the past few years — finish, here, and flow — this one may require a bit of explanation. It’s inspired by one of my favorite […] Continue Reading…

A New Year’s Eve Ritual (for ANY day)

What’s your favorite New Year’s Eve ritual?

Do you watch the ball drop at Times Square? Do you wear silly hats and blow noisemakers? Do you kiss your sweetie and sing “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight? There are so many wonderful ways to ring in the new year — and no one way is right or wrong (although certain rituals may be regretted the following morning).

This year, my wife and I are going to celebrate with a new ritual (which you can feel free to try for yourself, adapting it in any way you’d like to fit your personal style). Throughout the day, we’re […] Continue Reading…