These Are My 7 Favorite Quotes (and Why)

One quote for every child pictured here. Perfect! These are my seven favorite quotes.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis

This is my favorite quote about love, because while it clearly delivers a powerful lesson and message, in doing so, it also describes the beauty, risk, and nature of love. To truly love is to take down walls, take off your armor, and put yourself at risk of significant pain. That makes it all the more meaningful and fulfilling when it works out.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain

This one rings true, and it’s one of the main reasons I love to travel. The more I travel, the more I see that we are all the same (human), yet very different in culture, perspective, tradition, and lifestyle. Traveling humbles, inspires, and amazes me at the same time! Without experiencing cultures different from your own, it’s too easy to make your own perspective into a closed-minded feedback loop simply because you don’t know anything else.

“Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”
– Sun Tzu

I like this quote because it’s smart. A person’s instinctual response to success is often to repeat the steps that led to it. But it’s more valuable to understand the strategic framework and environmental factors that made success possible. When you understand those, you can then adapt your methods to the unique circumstances you face next time.

A crude example: Say you successfully grow a plant. You watered it every day and it blossomed beautifully. Then you get another plant, but this one requires very little watering. If you simply repeat your previous plant-watering tactics, you will drown the plant and kill it. But if you adapt your watering methods to the new plant’s needs, you can succeed once again!

It’s a very simple idea, but absolutely profound and applicable to everyone’s life.

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
– William James

I’m a big “action-first” guy. At this very moment, there are millions or billions of people trying to think themselves into happiness. It rarely works. Our actions define our lives; they speak louder than words, thoughts, and emotions.

Live a life that naturally makes you happy. Anything else is going to be a lot of effort with little return. There are no guarantees, of course, but action will always be the best path.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein

When it comes to things I am a fan of, curiosity is near the top of the list. Albert Einstein, the man synonymous with the word “genius,” was curious. His curiosity brought him to important discoveries for how we understand the world today. And his curiosity, as he suggests, absolutely increased his intelligence directly and indirectly.

When you’re curious, you ask more questions than a typical person would. In a real world example, when I go to a zoo or aquarium, I’m the guy asking the employees lots of questions about the animals. More questions means more answers. More answers means more knowledge. More knowledge means more dot-connecting brain fuel. Put it all together, and yes, curiosity definitely makes you smarter.

But it’s much more than that. Curiosity is a choice to be interested, a choice to engage with your surroundings. If you show me a bored person, I’ll guarantee you that a lack of curiosity plays a big part in that boredom. In conclusion, don’t be bored and dumb when you can be curious and smart(er)!

“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”
– Abraham Lincoln

I wish Mr. Lincoln could have written the foreword for one of my books with this quote included. This lesson has been life-changing for me. Some people call it “no zero days.” I call it “mini habits.” Whatever you call it, the idea is that forward motion is the essential ingredient to a good, productive, fulfilling, and meaningful life. If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backward. There is no neutral in life.

While many people focus on speed, that’s not actually the point. We will never achieve all we hope to achieve, and by going too fast, we risk burning ourselves out and sliding back. Instead, we can methodically march forward at a pace we can sustain, keeping in mind the priority—never go back. By always moving forward, you actively protect yourself against the negative downward spirals that can ruin lives, and continually improve your life instead!

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
– Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson punched a few mouths in his day. And oh, how true it is! This quote pairs very well with another boxing quote from Rocky Balboa: “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Life is a lot like boxing, isn’t it? Hitting power doesn’t make you unbeatable. Boxing’s hardest hitters (Tyson) have also been knocked out themselves. The only way to be unbeatable is through resilience and skilled defending (Floyd Mayweather). Power is flashy. Resilience and defense is how to win in boxing and life.

Yes, life will punch us in the mouth unexpectedly; it will ruin plans and even knock us down. But just like in boxing, being knocked down doesn’t end the fight. Get on your feet, wipe the blood off of your lip, put your gloves up, and move forward once again. It’s better to be an average person who can take a punch than a glass cannon who will shatter at the first sign of resistance.

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