You’re driving to work on a cold, rainy Monday, frowning into your nearly-drained Starbucks latte and wishing that it would magically refill itself with one of those handy Harry Potter replenishing spells, or wondering whether or not it’s too early for a bloody Mary.
The pile of paperwork you know you’ll find on your desk is already making your eyes twitch and your head ache. How are you going to drag yourself toward the 5 O’clock finish line?
We’ve all had days like this, and sometimes when we reach into the well of inspiration inside us and find it dry, we turn to other sources—nature, music, or, in my case, books. I’ve always loved the powerful punch that a good quote can deliver to give me a shove forward into productivity.
The right quote can, at any given moment, encapsulate just what I’m feeling and help me to focus on whatever task is at hand. If you’re running low on motivation juice, here are 5 book quotes to fuel your day faster than caffeine.
1. “Congratulations! Today is your day! You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! You’ve got brains in your head and feet in your shoes, and you can go wherever you choose.”- Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go
If the fact that this book is quoted exhaustively at graduation ceremonies isn’t enough of a motivator, the sheer number of exclamation marks should get you moving. The truth is, every day is your day, to do with as you choose, and Dr. Seuss is reminding us never to waste that potential.
2.“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Even if we follow the doctor’s advice, we first have to make a conscious choice to tackle life’s to-do lists. When I teach students to write resumes, I remind them of the basic principle of selling their skill sets: list your abilities in short, action verb-packed bullet points that leap off the page and make your potential employer feel like you’ve gotten the job they want done even before you’ve set foot in the office. Knowing your abilities is one thing. Showing the world what you can do with those abilities separates the wheat from the chaff.
3. “Waking up begins with saying am and now.”- Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man
The opening line of this novel hooks me every time I read it; hardly surprising when the entire novel strikes at the white hot center of life. Isherwood has packed this beautifully simple sentence with three active verbs that communicate one thing, and one thing only: live. Now.
Isherwood reminds us of the importance of just being, of embracing the moment and telling ourselves that where we are is where we’re meant to be, because unlike Doctor Who, we can’t mess with the time space continuum, and whatever we need to do we can only do in the here and now.
4. “I will not: drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week. Smoke…Get upset over men but instead be poised and cool ice-queen…I will: Stop smoking…reduce circumference of thighs by 3 inches (i.e. ½ inches each)…purge flat of all extraneous matter.” – Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary
OK, so anyone who knows Bridget Jones knows she’s better at making to-do lists than accomplishing them, but I always turn to her for motivation, because if nothing else, she reminds me never to bite off more than I can chew, and that life is a work in progress.
Part of making change in your life, whether minuscule or monumental, involves establishing a plan of attack. Sometimes nothing motivates you to jump into the day more than writing down your goals, large and small, because it focuses you and demands accountability.
5. “I have only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Four words: preach it, Lizzie Bennet! Sometimes no one dishes out a dollop of life advice better than Jane Austen, and she’s made herself pretty clear here: keep your eye on the prize, no matter what anyone tells you.
And if that prize happens to come bundled with 10 thousand pounds and an estate in Derbyshire, lucky you. Whether the prize is a raise, or a new job, or two-for-one margaritas at happy hour, the promise of a reward is a tried-and-true motivational method. .
What quotes motivate you? Share your thoughts!
Featured photo credit: Determination via pixabay.com