Motivational Quotes Ahead – Proceed With Caution

This video of inspirational quotes is from Simple Truths – which has many other short movies, books and other products:

Motivational aphorisms and anecdotes can do just that – motivate us. To grow, to feel inspired, to change our thinking and what we are doing.

Therese Borchard posted the video below on her Beyond Blue post titled Life = Risk: A Video to Motivate and Inspire, and commented, “I had goosebumps as I listened to it. I hope you do too!”

The original (larger size) is The Best Motivation Video, by KyaniHawaii.

It has some very inspiring anecdotes, such as one about Lucille Ball being dismissed from drama school with a note that said she was “wasting her time. She’s too shy to put her best foot forward.”

Good stuff. But even with a quote like that – of the type “They didn’t appreciate so-and-so’s real talent” – there can be another side.

Maybe Lucille Ball really was hanging back as a kid, or suffering from shyness or social anxiety. Just because criticism like that comes from a teacher or administrator who isn’t trained in psychology doesn’t mean the critique may not have some value.

Yes, of course, she went on to great things – that’s not the point.

Another story in the video is about Walt Disney being fired for having no imagination and lacking original ideas.

It can be inspiring to hear stories like that, giving us hope that not all people in authority over us really know what we have to offer to the world.

But what about a person who gets “downsized” for not making the effort to craft good ideas to benefit a company and present them effectively? Maybe they end up blaming “the man” for their lack of employment or advancement, rather than considering what they need to do differently themselves.

Another huge domain of motivational quotes is so-called wise sayings – many of which are inspiring, or instructive or otherwise helpful.

There is a collection of such quotes in A Must See Motivational Video!

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
—  Albert Einstein

That one has been around a long time – and it can be kind of comforting, perhaps especially for those who consider themselves intellectually superior, when their ideas are not embraced by other people as much as they “should be.”

But it may not even be a complete or accurate quote – here is another version:

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices, but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.” Albert Einstein, quoted in New York Times, March 19, 1940 [from]

Another quote:

“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, taking risks in the service of personal development and enhancing creativity is fine. I really like Sandra Bullock’s comment about choosing her movie roles: “I don’t do anything anymore that feels safe. If it doesn’t scare the crap out of you, then you’re not doing the right thing.”

But there are countless examples of people doing something fearful that are… well, risky – like teasing a gorilla by holding a banana near their cage, running with the bulls in Spain, or using a home-made ramp to skateboard over a parked car. Or at least trying to.

Is that the kind of stuff Emerson had in mind? Not likely.

In his post The Trap of Seeking Motivational Words (on the Change Your Thoughts blog), Eduard Ezeanu writes, “What is the role of motivational words? It is: To make you more aware of the benefits certain actions offer; To get you exited and motivated to act in that certain way.

“However, there is only so far motivational words which come from other people can sustain you in the process of acting.

“Eventually, you will need to be able to remind yourself of the benefits certain actions have, you will need to get yourself motivated and excited to act.

“In changing yourself or your life a certain way, motivational words can help to get the wheels moving, but they are not an effective way to keep them going. This has to come for the most part, from within.”

Good points. Words can stimulate our feelings to do more, be better as a person, upgrade our life – but we need to really think about sayings critically.

Science writer Ed Yong warns, “positive mantras like ‘I am a strong, powerful person,’ and, ‘Nothing can stop me from achieving my dreams’ have been championed at least as far back as Norman Vincent Peale’s infamous book The Power of Positive Thinking.

“But a new study suggests that despite its popularity, this particular brand of self-help may backfire badly… people with low self-esteem, who are most likely to rely on such statements, are most likely to feel worse because of them.”

From post Deal with your negative thinking, but be careful with affirmations.

You can also use quotes from others – or make up your own – and include them in a video that you create yourself using an online service –

Mind Movies – Create your own affirmations video

But again, it seems to me it is very important that you pick quotes carefully. Another one in the A Must See Motivational Video!, for example, is “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” -G. K. Chesterton.

Is he suggesting to always do the opposite of the “best” advice? Hopefully not.

[The image is from my post Sidewalk Psychiatry: personal growth for pedestrians.]

There are many inspirational quotes that can help stir our thinking and fuel motivation, when used consciously.

In addition to the ones above, here is one I just came across:

“We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~Ray Bradbury

From blog: The Psychology of Writing, Reading, and the Creative Process.

beliefs and personal growth development, motivational quotes, famous quotes, self-limiting beliefs


What do you think about these topics?