The Right Words

Finding inspiration in a good motivational quote

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Quotes, mantras, meditations – call them what you will, the potential joy that can be attained from a few simple inspirational words are totally where it’s at. My naturally cynical mind used to scoff at the thought that someone else’s thoughts and ideas could have such a profound impact, but as I age and become a little less jaded about the world, I am learning to embrace the sometimes momentary, sometimes lasting effect of those few simples words or phrases.

‘A good quote can change your outlook – if only for a second. It can give you hope, inspire change, make you laugh and remind you of the richness of life, all in a single sentence.’ – Mike Medaglia

A couple of years ago I was gifted a beautiful little book book called ‘One Year Wiser‘ by Mike Medaglia – a beautiful series of illustrations, one for each day of the year, set to a quote from lots of different people, artists, writers, spiritual leaders – some unknown, some household names. This book had a profound effect on me. I got into the habit of leaving it by my bed and making sure it was the first thing I picked up each morning to read the quote for that particular day. The words and the pictures were and are so uplifting that two years later I am still using this book and reading the same daily quotations in a bid to start each day feeling positive and grateful – it seems to be working.

(Illustration by Mike Medaglia)

Here are a few of my favourite quotations:

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step

– Martin Luther King Jnr –

I love this quote as it resonates with me so much. For many years (and I’m still working on it) I needed extreme routine. Planning and predictability were my best friends and there was little room for surprises. This however, stopped me from taking on any exciting opportunities or challenging myself within my work or home life. I consider myself quite a ‘safe’ person in terms of the choices that I make, but these simple words from Martin Luther King Jnr remind me to embrace the unknown and not fear situations that don’t always fully present themselves.

Dwell in Possibility

– Emily Dickinson –

I have this quote by Emily Dickinson written on a postcard pinned up in my kitchen. A daily reminder to consider, think, dream and dwell in all of the possibilities that life has to offer. It has so many potential meanings in just three little words, but they are powerful words.

(Illustration by Mike Medaglia)

Often, in the chaos of a busy, modern life, dominated by headlines of death and destruction, words such as these by Joanna Macy can help to quieten the mind and act as a gentle reminder of the beauty of life and of what really matters…

To be alive in this beautiful, self organising universe – to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs to breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it – is a wonder beyond words

– Joanna Macy –

Another favourite comes from the master wordsmith himself, Walt Whitman – encouraging self acceptance:

I exist as I am, that is enough.

I actually can’t imagine my life now without the daily inspirational impact of the wise words of other humans!

(Illustration by Mike Medaglia)

What are your favourite quotes and what do they mean to you?


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  • Some corkers in here!! Really nice selection. The one which has pulled me through some difficult times is ‘grief is just love, with nowhere to go’ <3

  • Some great quotes there!

    ‘Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try’ is one of my favourites.

  • I have a book of quotes and song lyrics that have struck a chord at different points in my life. My favourite piece of writing is the Desiderata and my favourite line in it is “whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”

    “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is another good reminder for me to spend some time looking after number one sometimes x

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