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Top 16 Stephen King Quotes To Inspire Everyone

Top 16 Stephen King Quotes To Inspire Everyone

I first became interested in Stephen King not by reading his novels, but by reading his book On Writing. I was in my late 20s and finishing up my bachelor’s degree in education. I had an English minor with one more composition class to take. To fulfill this requirement, I found myself in a creative writing class.

I wrote to my heart’s content in that class, until I finally confessed in my journal that I had always wanted to be a writer but was talked out of it. That was when my professor gave me Stephen King’s book to read and I eagerly devoured it. I learned then that King has a lot of wisdom for aspiring writers, but the truth is that he also has a lot of relevant quotes for everyone.

The quotes that I am about to share can be found—with many other words of wisdom from Stephen King—on the Chris Jones Blog, Positive Writer, and Brainy Quote. Here are some of my favorite Stephen King quotes:

1. “I have spent a good many years since―too many, I think―being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”

This quote speaks about writing, but it also says a great deal about the lack value that society sees in escapism. Reading fiction is an escape. It can be a much more vibrant escape than watching television or movies, and a much healthier escape than drugs or alcohol. There are times when all of us need a break from the world, to give our minds a rest. A great novel can do just that.

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2. “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

This is an excellent quote, because, again, it speaks to the value of fiction. We often think of fiction as “just stories,” but every story tells a lesson about life. Often, the messages behind the stories that we read are more powerful truths than anything we read in the newspaper.

3. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”

Stephen King said some wonderful things about writing, and this quote is especially powerful. Writing is first and foremost about the writer. It is a need that a person has, and it is a passion that enriches the writer’s life. Of course, this has the fringe benefit of bringing growth and happiness that is contagious. When we read something that is written from the heart, we can’t help but be changed by it.

4. “Let me say it again: You must not come lightly to the blank page.”

This quote is about writing, but it applies to all of life. It is about acting with intention.  We should think about what we are doing at all times and move with a purpose. So often we travel through life mindlessly, and in doing so we miss out on the opportunity to create something amazing.

5. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Many times in life, we find ourselves standing on the diving board, ready to jump into the pool. This moment before we jump is terrifying. Once we begin, once we start taking steps toward our goal, it is much less scary.

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6. “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Again, starting is half the battle. Being willing to take that leap is the move that takes the most courage. After doing that, persevering through obstacles is nothing. If you are willing to take the leap and willing to never give up, you will eventually experience success.

7. “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”

Failure is such an arbitrary and meaningless concept. Who decides what constitutes a failure or a mere setback? We are ultimately the ones who declare “failure,” and we definitely have the option see things differently. If we view failure as yet another obstacle to overcome, learn from whatever went wrong, then get back up and try, we will be once more on the road to success.

8.  “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”

The only monsters that exist live inside us. They are those voices in our minds that tell us we can’t do it, that we aren’t good enough. They are the voices that compare us to others, the voices that become jealous. But, what we don’t understand is that these voices are saying what they do in misunderstanding. If we clear up the misunderstandings that our minds have, then the monsters will never win.

9. “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

Art exists because of life, but art also influences and enriches life. The goal of anyone who creates is to make something that will challenge the views of the person seeing it. Sometimes, this is a comfortable experience, and sometimes it is not. If something that has been created causes you to feel anything—joy, happiness, sadness, or even anger—then the creator has done their job.

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10. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

When you want to do something, the key is to just get up and do it. So many people have great ideas for starting businesses, writing books, creating websites, and more. And so many of these people have not even taken the first step toward making their vision a reality. The perfect moment will never come. The key is to just get started anyway.

11. “Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

Persevering is key in life. There will be days when you don’t want to get out of bed, when you are in the mood to just walk away from it all. But to be successful, you have to keep moving. On these days, the answer is to focus deeply on what needs to be done and just keep taking one step after another.

12. “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”

There is a danger in being too trusting, in not questioning all that you see and hear. Not everything that is published is gospel truth, and not every word that is spoken on television should be believed. The most vulnerable people are those who are easily misled. Take the time to check the facts, and question everything that does not seem right to you.

13. “Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.”

We all want to protect those we love. Sometimes, that means telling white lies, or even larger lies, in an effort to keep them from getting upset. This is how relationships work, and it is our expectation. Sometimes, it takes an “enemy”—someone who senses no duty to protect your feelings—to tell the cold, hard truth. Hearing the truth can be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes it is what we need to hear. Sometimes that wake-up call comes from the most unlikely of sources.

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14. “The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings — words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.”

Words are powerful, but there are so many experiences that defy explanation. Explaining to someone how much you love them, expressing condolences, or advocating for a cause you believe in can be extremely difficult, because finding the right words to convey the passion that is in your heart is nearly impossible. As incredible a tool as language is, it can’t come close to expressing the experiences that make up this thing that we call life.

15. “We make up horrors to help us deal with the real ones.”

Fiction is escapism. We read and we create in order to help us escape from the challenges in life, and sometimes we choose to read and write tragic and horrific stories to help us deal with the horrible events that occur in reality. It doesn’t matter how difficult or easy our lives may seem on the outside, the truth is that each one of us has lived through the worst experience that we have even seen. All we have is our experience, and sometimes taking our mind off it can help us to cope and to process.

16.  “A lot of us grow up and we grow out of the literal interpretation that we get when we’re children, but we bear the scars all our life. Whether they’re scars of beauty or scars of ugliness, it’s pretty much in the eye of the beholder.”

Nobody gets through life unscathed. We are all affected by our experiences, and we develop vulnerabilities and misunderstandings as a result. We can choose to see ourselves as “damaged,” or we can choose to see ourselves as survivors who are learning and growing everyday. Whether our scars are physical or emotional, we can choose to see them as scars of beauty, rather than as scars of ugliness.

Everybody has a great deal to teach about life, if we are willing to learn the lessons. Stephen King teaches not only through his stories, but also through the wisdom that he shares directly. I am grateful that I read that book in college, and that I chose to learn the lessons found within.

Featured photo credit: Public Domain Pictures via publicdomainpictures.net

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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