Sometimes you’ve had your cold brew and feel that familiar caffeine rush, but you still aren’t feeling the inspiration. And sadly, “more coffee” is not always the solution. Sometimes you need to get energized some other way. Enter motivational quotes. They’re the reason we have cheesy classroom posters and Pinterest boards, and somehow they actually work.
Normally I don’t think quotes are helpful at all, but lately I’ve needed them. At work, I keep a list of quotes in a note on my Macbook desktop, for times when I just can’t get myself moving. You just aren’t going to be on fire 100% of the time, even in a job like PR, where it feels like you have to bring your A-game every second of the day. And I myself hate to admit it, but coffee just isn’t great for you when you’re trying to guzzle it down from 2-4 p.m. in desperate hopes that inspiration will strike and you’ll go back to killing it. So here are some of the quotes I keep on file for when I need a boost:
“If you hear a voice within you says, ‘I cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent van Gogh
Replace “I cannot paint” with “I cannot spreadsheet” and you’ve got the voice inside my head. I also cannot paint, but I don’t think that one can be fixed by a motivational quote.
“To be in the 1%, you have to do what 99% won’t do.”
This is the definition of grit right here. To be the best, you have to act like the best, and the best are the best because they do things most people won’t do. Next time you’re wondering if you should go the extra mile on a project or come up with an original idea, think of this quote and do it (because 99% won’t).
“You don’t succeed by avoiding punches; you succeed by being able to pick yourself back up.” – Unknown
This is a good one for when I’m feeling down- maybe I got some negative feedback from a manager, or I’m not having any luck with my pitches. This quote is about knowing that you’re going to have setbacks, and that they’re a part of putting yourself out there, and that those setbacks are only a problem if you let them get to you.
“If half marathons didn’t suck, we would all be running half marathons.” – Me, to my roommate
My roommate ran a half marathon and I wrote a master’s thesis. Both of these things are hard. I was in my living room bitching about how much it sucks that I’m finishing my master’s thesis while working full time, and then I stopped and realized that you probably feel a similar way when you’re finishing a long race. It really really sucks toward the finish line, and for a moment you wonder why you’re doing it and what would happen if you just quit. But I remembered that if a thesis was easy, everyone would be writing a thesis. If marathons were a breeze, everyone would be running them. Finish what you started and do things that are hard!
“The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol.” – Sophia Amoruso
Helpful for when you get stuck scrolling through Instagram for too long.
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln
Abe Lincoln was the original hustler and we all know it. And he is so right. You gotta hustle. Next time you see an Instagram post or one of those pink notebooks with some handwritten phrase like “Respect the hustle” on the cover, remember that it came from Honest Abe first.
“Just focus on making the next right move. You don’t need to know where you’ll end up.” – Oprah Winfrey
This is more like big-picture career path stuff than it is about getting through a workday, but that’s the thing: Sometimes you need to remember the big picture when you’re struggling with the little tasks. The next time you just really can’t focus on your grunt work and you’re tempted to daydream about skipping past it and doing something else, think of this quote to remind yourself that you just need to focus on one thing at a time.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso
The ultimate “quit slacking and make shit happen” quote. Don’t wait for inspiration to hit. Just get started and it will find you.
If all else fails, you can pop downstairs into Starbucks and grab another cold brew.