5 Inspirational Quotes that get me Through the Bad Times

5 Inspirational Quotes that get me Through the Bad Times

After a rough bout with the universe recently, I shared a conversation with a friend about quotes that keep us going. I’ve never considered myself a huge inspirational quote person. I don’t really collect them. My walls aren’t plastered with inspirational posters. I used to put quotes in my digital day planner every month. But when it got to be too much work to find and arrange quotes that resonated with me, I stopped.

Still, every now and then I find a quote that resonates heavily with me. And no matter what’s going on in my life, it keeps drifting back to the surface of my mind, reminding me of the simple power in words.

I think we all need a little nudge every now and then. Most of the time when I need a to remember why I’m doing something and how I got this far, I turn to my family and friends. They’re more than happy to remind me of the trials and tribulations I’ve over come on the road to where I am (not to mention the road to where I want to be). But there is something nice about capturing a little piece of inspiration to keep on your desktop for an emergency.

If you Google ‘inspirational quotes,’ you’ll get tons of results. Including some images people have spent a lot of time making nice. I’m not here to rate the top ten inspirational quotes of all time or anything like that. I think inspiration is one of those highly individual things. But these are the quotes that keep me going when I’m low. Certainly, they’ve helped me dust off and keep focused on the road ahead.

Maybe if I share them, they’ll help some of you as well!

You have the same number of hours in your day as Lady Gaga

This is an odd one. And I’m not sure where I first encountered it. I feel like it was a random thing I saw while scrolling the Internet and it stuck with me. ‘Lady Gaga’ could be replaced with any celebrity in any genre. The point would be the same.

Recently, my husband related a conversation between his co-workers about the difference in daylight hours leading up to the longest day of the year. One of the conversation’s participants joked, “They all have 24 hours, don’t they?”

Indeed, we all get the same 24 hours in a day. Likewise, we get the same 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year. People who are wildly successful don’t somehow manage to squeeze more time out of their lives. They have the same framework to work with as everyone else. It’s their priorities that allow them to succeed.

Pursuing your dreams while also making ends meet can be extremely difficult. The path involves a lot of hard choices and usually sacrifices. To rub salt in the wound, radical success is like a lightning bolt – no one knows where or when it might strike, and there’s a lot of luck involved.

But this quote has always reminded me to prioritize my dreams. Whenever possible, I try to make choices that draw me closer to my ultimate goal, even if it’s the tiniest of steps. Sometimes that meant staying up late to write after a hard day at work. Sometimes it meant getting up early to work before leaving for a family trip. And sometimes it meant not buying something nice or travelling because I needed every cent for living to make space for writing.

Turns out inspiration isn’t always glorious. But the realistic perspective helps me keep mine.

The boat is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what it’s built for

There are a lot of variations of this one. Another version I really like is: the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. Back when I put inspirational quotes in my day planner, this one repeated more than most.

I don’t deal with change well. The people in my life have learned this about me and gotten in the habit of helping me acclimate whenever they can to big things. But creativity doesn’t thrive in a static place. And I realized a long time ago that if I ever wanted to achieve success as an author, I needed to strike out well beyond my comfort zone and never look back. No easy task for a person who is scared of even little changes.

So I keep this quote close to my chest. It reminds me that there’s a reason why the sheltered harbor of the familiar feels safe. It’s filled with all the things I’ve already established work well and easily for me. It’s not wrong to feel secure in familiar territory.

BUT if I ever want to find my success, I need to keep moving beyond the harbor, trying new things and seeing what’s out there. For me, it’s important to remember this just not as a publisher and marketer, but also as a creator. If I only ever create from the comfort of the same tried and true characters or formula, my work will stagnate. If I want to keep things new and fresh, I need to keep moving beyond my limits to try new things.

The good thing, though, is that I can always bring what I learn back to my comfort zone and expand it. That always makes me feel better when it’s time to strike out again.

If Frodo can get the ring to Mordor, you can get out of bed

I found this one on Tumblr several years ago. I think the target of the quote was dealing with depression, but it serves the nerd in me. Here again, the subject can be versatile. Replace Frodo and his quest to destroy the ring with whatever challenging feat you’ve encountered in your favorite book. (Like say, Bastian saving Fantastica from the Nothing.)

Get ready for the nerdiest confession ever. Back when I first started working a regular 9-5 job, I was insanely nervous before all of my shifts. I kept thinking I would somehow mess up. So I would give myself a pep-talk involving whatever book series I was reading. I would imagine myself as a wizard trying to look after a village or helping the heroes with their epic quests.

It was silly, since I worked in IT. But it got me out the door and through the day. It even gave me a hint of pride in what I was doing on the rough days.

I still use this quote to motivate me on bad days. When I’m in the dumps about a project or I just don’t feel like doing anything, I remind myself that my favorite heroes always rose to the occasion. These days I’m even able to replace the focus of the quote with characters from my own books, which adds that extra little tickle of fire to get to my keyboard.

I think it’s important to remember that we can’t eliminate bad days. Even with a schedule and a plan, most days are far from ideal. The key is not to let the rough times hold us back. Take care of yourself, obviously. Do what you need to in order to get through. But give your best to your goals whenever you can.

The universe tests us

This quote comes from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. In the book, it is explained to the main character that when we truly desire something the whole universe conspires in order to help you achieve it. BUT the main character is also warned that the universe tests us. Most people give up when they reach the first test. (So says the book.)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve almost given up on my journey to be a writer. Sometimes because I didn’t think my work was worth the time and energy I spent on it. Sometimes because I couldn’t figure out how to market or because I believed no one would ever be interested in reading what I wrote. The list of reasons and the number of tears I’ve cried goes on and on. Many times I asked myself whether or not I should give up and move on to a normal job in a normal field.

Until I read The Alchemist. That book really resonated with me. Especially the part about how the universe both assists and tests us.

My experience has been that there are many wonderful people out there who are willing to help me on my journey. And I am extremely grateful for each and every one of them I’ve met and the knowledge they have imparted to me along the way. Incidentally, I also strive to be one of those people for others on a parallel journey.

But now when I encounter those rough patches and begin to question my motivations, I remind myself that the universe tests us. It’s become something of a mantra for me. It keeps me from giving up until I either regain my confidence or find another of those convenient little helpers lurking in the road.

My all time favorite inspirational quote….

Only as High as I Reach can I Grow
Only as Far as I Seek can I Go
Only as Deep as I Look can I See
Only as Much as I Dream can I Be

I found this quote on a journal in a bookstore. Unfortunately, at the time I was about to move and I had no extra money for a notebook when I had several I had yet to use. So the journal slipped through my fingers and out of my life, but the quote remained.

Today, this quote adorns the cover page of every single one of my digital bullet journals, and I often write it somewhere in my physical day planners.

More than just the rhyme, which has a nice synergy, this quote reminds me that my fate is all in my hands. If I want to find something, then I must search for it. If I want to grow as a person, then I must take action.

Things rarely fall into our laps. You’re much more likely to find an opportunity if you’re actively searching for it. Life is a transformative process. Experience changes us whether we are looking for it or ready for it. Sometimes the best we can do is guide our path toward the kind of change and experience we hope to incorporate into our lives.

If we’re always seeking, if we’re always looking, if we’re always dreaming, then we are more likely to grow into the people we ultimately hope to be.

These are the quotes that have always helped me stay focused on my goals even through the roughest patches. If you find something in one of them that helps you, then I’m glad to have shared them!

Please share the quotes that get you through the bad days!

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