Stop the Quote-Porn! Here Are 7 Quotes That Actually Changed My Life

Stop the Quote-Porn! Here Are 7 Quotes That Actually Changed My Life

How long can you spend on the computer without bumping into a great quote?

Not very long.

That’s because our social media feeds are overflowing with them — especially the beautifully designed kind on Instagram.

Quotes are wonderful. They’re bite-sized pieces of wisdom that, when set on a beautiful background, leave us reaching for the Share button.

This is what I call quote-porn.

I’m guilty of this, too. I post them, I read them, I love them. Because nothing feels better than reading a quote that makes me think or, even better, reframes how badly I should feel about something I’m struggling with.

Reading about Abraham Lincoln’s constant failures sure makes me feel good when I’m failing at something myself.

It buoys my spirit, if even for a moment.

But there are hundreds of thousands upon millions of quotes out there on the internet for anyone to find. What separates a good quote from a bad quote?

To me, a good quote is the kind that actually impacts my life. A bad quote isn’t necessary terrible — it’s just a quote I enjoyed reading and then moved on to the next item on my social feed.

But the good quotes … They’re magical, aren’t they?

There are a few quotes that changed my life forever. There are a few that took a deep dive inside my heart and shook its very core.

These few quotes, the one that actually made a difference in my life, are the ones I’m going to share with you below. I hope you enjoy them — and I hope you’ll share the quotes that have changed your life in the comments.

Here you go, the seven quotes that changed my life, for real:

1. On Rainy Days

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
— Dr. Maya Angelou

When I first came across this quote, I wasn’t the kind of person you want to spend a bad day with. Getting angry or cranky was always available to me. If you asked my family, they might even say it was my modus operandi.

But this quote really made me rethink my attitude.

Because Dr. Angelou is right, isn’t she? You can tell a lot about a person in how they deal with the small annoyances in life. (And big annoyances, too.)

After I read this quote, I wanted to change — and change I did. Now, I try to deal with things as they come and enjoy even the smallest opportunities to exercise my newfound serenity.

Am I perfect? No, but I’m always trying. And I feel much better for it.

One of my favorite activities, for example, is letting angry drivers pass me on the road. If they need to get where they’re going so badly, I’ll help them out. Why get road rage? Instead, I’d rather do them a favor.

Pro tip: Keeping a gratitude journal sped this process up by leaps and bounds. I now am hard-wired to look at the bright side of annoying events, even when I’m not even aware I’m doing it.

2. On Friendship

“Home is not pretentious. You don’t get dressed up or put on airs to be home.”
— Danny Meyer

While the quote is about home life, it impacted me in another way. This is the bar to which I hold all of my friendships.

Over the years, I’ve gained and lost friends, as is normal. This quote, though, guides me in that process.

I started out 2014 with this mindset: if someone doesn’t make me feel good after hanging out with them, they’re not for me.

That may sound cut-throat, but it’s actually the opposite. It’s what allows me to live a life that is plentiful in love, comfort, and peace.

If I feel I have to try when I’m around someone, they don’t fit in with this quote. This quote showed me that the people I should have around me are the ones that make me feel like I’m home.

I don’t put on airs to be around the people I love. And the people I love don’t put on airs to be around me, either.

3. On Our Highlight Reels

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
— Steve Furtick

Oh, our constant comparisons… This quote truly changed my view of people and how they present themselves.

I firmly believe that most people exaggerate their successes and play themselves up more than we imagine. So, while I’m sitting here wondering why my product isn’t moving as quickly as someone else’s, they’re actually lying through their teeth about how well they’re doing.

Recently, I asked someone I respect about speaking with her. She pointed me to a website where I could get in touch, noting that this service keeps her “super busy.” When I visited the link, though, her “counter” said she had taken less than 15 calls.

It’s disappointing, but it’s also very helpful.

Whenever I feel myself being pulled toward comparison, I remember this quote. It relieves me of my insecurity every time.

And you know what? My behind-the-scenes is pretty badass.

4. On the Unlived Life

“The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the unlived life is not worth examining. ”
— Guy Kawasaki

I went through an intense Guy Kawasaki phase when I lived in Spain. I read almost everything he’s ever written and followed his every move online. He’s a marketing genius, right?

He’s also a pretty inspiring guy, if you look closely enough.

His remix on a famous quote made me think about how I was living my life. I remember thinking,

“Am I living a life that people would enjoy hearing about?”

After reading this quote, I upped the ante on how I filled my days. I started running 7 miles through downtown Madrid, instead of running on the treadmill. I went for walks alone, instead of sitting at home on the computer. I booked a ticket home for three days just so I could be with JJ for his brother’s wedding.

Small tweaks, right? But they’re actually the highlights of my year in Spain.

5. On Time

“The time I feel most deprived is when I wake up and remember that it’s Monday, and that my day will not be mine today.”
– David Cain

You probably agree with this quote if you’re reading this site on living a “perpetual vacation,” but it’s still worth noting.

When I read this quote, I was already writing this website, but it still rocked my world — because it had never occurred to me in those words:

“Do I own my days?”

It seems to me (and a lot of people lately) that it’s no way to live.

My friend Barrett Brooks gave a talk on this exact movement, which he titled “Thank goodness it’s Monday.” The amount of people who are abandoning the traditional career approach in order to own their days is staggering.

Whenever I feel the pull to get a traditional job (which does happen from time to time), I remind myself of this:

No matter what, I want to be the owner of my every single day.

6. On the Weight of Worry

“A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.”
— Michael de Montaigne

Every time I worry or imagine negative outcomes, I think of this quote.

So many quotes seem so simple, so straight-forward, that we wonder why we didn’t come up with them ourselves. And the concept is so simple, isn’t it?

What’s the point of fearing some kind of pain in the future? It’s only creating more pain in the present.

Knowing there is a possibility of pain in the future is one thing, but anticipating that pain and suffering from it prematurely is another. Instead, I’d rather use that knowledge to try to minimize that future pain.

Wouldn’t you?

7. On Our Minds

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
— Shakespeare

This is similar to the quote above, but it’s effect on me has been different.

When I read this quote, I realized one thing: it’s all up to me. When something happens to me (or doesn’t), my reaction is something I control.

Shakespeare had it all figured out all along. Who knew?

* * *

There you have it. These are the seven quotes that made a direct impact on my life. Because, to me, that’s all that matters.

There are so many important quotes out there, but what good are they if they don’t change our lives or help us in some way?

I’m curious what your take is on this:

Which quotes have made actual impact on your life?
Do you save your favorite quotes in a safe place?
Do you journal about quotes that mean something to you?

Wishing you awesomeness from Managua!

— Marcella

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  • earl veale

    Hi Marcella. My name is Earl, and I’m a quote-porn addict. I use Evernote to keep track of the quotes I like. Excluding the Dr. Maya Angelou quote from above, the most recent quote I saved was, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

    • Marcella Chamorro

      That’s a great quote, Earl! I also save mine in a document — definitely saving that one you just posted, too. :)

  • Eric Ungs

    I too love quotes. Evernote is my repository. But, the one that has literally changed my life, isn’t so much a quote, but a simple word: the In-Between. This is actually a book written by Jeff Goins, but the premise is to slow down and embrace the in-between moments. I was always thinking about what was next. I was always looking to the next big moment in my life. The in-between pointed out that the small, tiny, mundane, in-between moments are the exact moments that define our lives, they write our story. This was the flip of a switch that went off for me. I slowed down, I embraced the in-between moments and I was more present and focused on the present moment. Resulting in everything around me becoming enhanced.

    Wonderful post – all great quotes – 2 and 3 I struggled a lot with, but am growing. 5 just hit me really hard. Something I think about a lot, but never through words like that. Thanks for sharing!

    • Marcella Chamorro

      Eric, the “in-between” is a great reminder of the present moment. Thanks for sharing it — time for me to look up that book!

  • melissa gallo

    Marcella, you are so wonderful! I am Melissa, from D.C. and always read your blogs. I have several favorite quotes that I wish I remembered off the top of my head, but I think most recently, the quote I heard that resonated most with me is “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” by Nelson Mandela. I found it to be a reminder that we are all capable of so much more than what we actually think and the only way to realize that, is to dare greatly and try.

    • Marcella Chamorro

      You’re the bestest, best friend of mine.

      • melissa gallo

        how did you figure it out!

  • Gareth Willett

    Top quotes Marcella… it’s always nice to be blessed with a few I haven’t come across before! A personal favourite of mine is “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders” :)

    • Marcella Chamorro

      That’s a great one, Gareth! Jotting that one down in my notebook. Any idea who I should credit for it?

      • Gareth Willett

        I’m pretty sure it’s Lao Tzu

    • melissa gallo

      That’s beautiful!

      • Gareth Willett

        It is indeed Melissa :)

  • Nikko

    Very influential quotes indeed Marcella. The Maya Angelou quote is what resonated with me the most, I believe I encountered that at the time when I was struggling to find my sense of identity, it was stuck in my head ever since. I usually collect my quotes via my personal journal or at Pinterest when I’m online. But my favorite quote so far is from you in one of your articles. You said “The only difference between or desires and realities are our actions”. I wanted to move on after quitting my day job and wanted to be a freelancer and become my own boss. That quote motivated me to act after waiting and procrastinating for a year or so. Now I pursue my dreams with enthusiasm. What a difference a change in the mental approach makes. Thanks!

    • Marcella Chamorro

      That’s wonderful to hear, Nikko. You made my day more than you know!

      How’s the process looking now?

      • Nikko

        It’s been going very well, I always make it a point to come back to your quotes and articles whenever I start to doubt myself. You have inspired me to make changes beyond my favorite quotes, and I am thankful for your influence. Looking forward to learn more about what you know. You’re the best! :)

        • Marcella Chamorro

          So glad to be a positive resource for you, Nikko!

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