The Lure of Quotes

In helping people reshape their lives one of the things I promote over all others is a positive atmosphere.  I urge people to absolutely cocoon themselves with nothing but positive people, images and sounds. 

As a writer I truly understand that the pen is profoundly mightier than the sword.  Words can heal or hurt, motivate or immobilize. Words are the energy of great ideas, inventions and movements.  It is no wonder then that quotes from influential leaders and thinkers hold sway over our emotions.  Quotes are often used to motivate us.  They lift us out of our way and help us see what we need to experience in the moment.

Yet as wonderfully inspirational as they are there are two possible downsides to enjoying quotes.  It is the hope that when we read something from a noted source we feel moved to believe our own worth.  Quotes resonate with us because we are able to associate our feelings with those who are more blessed with being able to articulate how they are feeling.  But that very ability of authors might not be well received by all readers.  A distance and not a bond may develop between the two.  Some readers may instead put the writer on a pedestal, in essence denigrating themselves.  Instead of feeling empowered to believe they are capable they might end up feeling the exact opposite, unworthy and inarticulate.  They may feel uneducated in not being able to express themselves so clearly.  They see an author succinctly express a thought that they themselves are struggling to articulate.

The second point to be aware if is often times more common.  It is the complacency of the words over actions.  So many times we turn to quotes to help us understand how others have handled similar situations.  We look to gain power from noted thinkers who may have traveled a similar path to our own.  Once we find that inspiration, the understanding that famous people have thoughts such as ourselves, we simply stop.  It is a “quick hit” to feeling better.  We may be wrestling with a need for courage, hope or empowerment and once we find it in the words we simply cease to act.  There is the most un-serving aspect of quotes; they inspire us to think and dream but at times not to act.

There is limited power in simply dreaming or wishing alone.  The power of dreaming and wishing comes from seeing our dreams realized.  It is absolutely imperative to act on our dreams.  The lack of action is what has so many people feeling unfulfilled.  I believe it was Mark Twain who was quoted as saying

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you didn’t do than by the things you did”

So use quotes to inspire not just thought, but action.  Those who are quoted are absolutely like you and I; they have failed and picked themselves up.  They have faced adversity and still chose to push forward, powered by their dreams.   Each of us has a quote within us.  The only thing that needs to be done to evoke it is to act upon and reach our most heartfelt dreams.

Thom WaltersComment