I used to write down inspirational quotes in a little red, pocket-sized Moleskine. There are hundreds of them. You've heard them all.
You've seen them all on Instagram posts, on tweets, on posters, t-shirts, memes, GoodReads. I collected these quotes religiously, thousands of them. I guess my assumption was that someday I would memorize them all, or that eventually they would collectively amount to something bigger -- an encyclopedic well of inspiration that I could draw from.
I would use them to motivate myself to work harder, be better and believe.
And then just recently, without the aid of one of these quotations, I came to understand that I liked the idea of being inspired, and being told what I could become, but I didn't have the patience or force of will to put in the effort that it took to achieve something important and impressive. I think a lot of us "quote people" have this problem.
The men who said things like "good work takes hard work" -- would never have believed that hand letterers and artists would sketch out their words onto posters and screen-savers. The men who said these sorts of things probably said them while chopping down trees to keep the furnace burning after putting in a full day of work at the mill. After a full day of hard work, not after a full day of thinking about how hard they were going to work tomorrow.
I used to curate and collect inspirational clichés, but after you do that for long enough you either get tired of the "idea of inspiration" or you leave the clichés aside and put your nose down and work. So I'm done looking around for inspiration, done placing pressure on quotations to light my fire.
I went through the little red, pocket-sized Moleskine for the last time this morning. To see if there were any last things that I should keep in mind before I go about the business of working hard.
I found three.
These are the three best of the many, many thousands of bite-sized quotes that I've procured over time. These are the only three you need, really. One about gratitude, one about procrastination, and one about wonderment. Read these three inspirational quotes, write them down somewhere if you'd like, and then stop bothering with "ideas about inspiration" and inspire.
- Comparison is the thief of joy.
- The longer you wait for the future the shorter it will be.
- It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Author Matt Richardson is the co-founder of Gramr Gratitude Co. Gramr makes beautiful and original thank-you notes and they believe in the power of the handwritten note. Their goal is to start a movement for gratitude and grateful living -- learn more about their vision of a more grateful world here.