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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 January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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