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Who doesn’t love a good Abraham Lincoln quote (and Cal Ripken’s face can be pretty inspirational, too!)


What is it about this time of year that triggers introspection? Maybe it’s the “out with the old year, and in with the new” mindset. Maybe it’s the resolutions bombarding us on every front. Maybe we have more spare time over the holidays to examine our lives. Who knows, but I’m one of those who approaches each new year with at least one goal for the coming 12 months. Now, whether or not I meet that goal is a different subject.

As a wordsmith, I often turn to the words of others for inspiration. As such, I’m kind of a geeky collector of quotes. I have computer files labeled, “change quotes,” “motivational quotes,” “more quotes,” “sports quotes,” and, yes, one called “still more quotes.” I have a tiny sticker of an Abraham Lincoln quote on an ancient Rolodex (pictured above): “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” (Of course, that Rolodex photo will also show I also find inspiration from Cal Ripken’s visage…)

Then, taped on my tape dispenser, there’s the writer’s mantra championed by veteran journalist and educator Chip Scanlon: “Nulla Dies Sine Linea” (translation: “Never a day without a line”), reminding me to write a little every day.

In early December, I spied this one: “The only way to succeed is to not worry about what anyone else is doing.” Agree? Disagree? But it reminded me of another quote by singer/songwriter Janis Joplin: “Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.”

It seemed natural when I was searching for motivation for 2013, that I turn to favorite quotes from friends, too.

Janice Person, who is a great observer of people, posted this response to my query on Google+:
“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”


A college friend, and one of the smartest women I know, Darlene Laguna, shared this quote: “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.” — Franz Kafka (And, of course, I love it because it emphasizes the importance of reading and books.)

Dar also shared this great quote from author Agatha Christie, and I’d like to think I’m embarking on my ‘second blooming’:

“I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find — at the age of fifty, say — that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about… It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.” — Agatha Christie

Beth Vanderkooi, who, until recently, was a lobbyist with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and is now executive director of the Greater Columbus Right to Life organization, shared these words of wisdom from Mother Teresa:

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Chip Nelson, a communications specialist with Ohio Farm Bureau, offers this quote: “A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” — Harvey Mackay. And Katey Lora, farm girl from Mahoning County and teacher, shared this quote: “10% will think you are the best, 10% will think you are the worst. The rest fall somewhere in between.”

Via Twitter, Penn State senior Jeanette Blank (@jmbpsu13 on Twitter) reminded us of this scripture from Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I’ll end with perhaps the best motivational words I’ve read recently, and they come from an article by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale published in the January 1988 Guideposts:

“I’m convinced this upcoming year will be a great one for you if you’ll make one simple New Year’s resolution and stick to it in every one of the 365 days this year has to offer. That resolution consists of just two short words.

Each has only two letters. But they’re packed with power. They can generate enormous energy. They can sweep away discouragement and failure. They can make it possible for a person to accomplish just about any worthwhile goal. And what are those two dynamic words? Do it!

Have you got a promising idea? Do it! Do you have a cherished dream? Do it! Do you have a hidden ambition? Do it! Have you some great impulse, some burning desire? Do it!”

I say this is perhaps the best motivation because it bridges the gap between my words on a page, or this computer screen, and action. Those two words can turn our good intentions into reality. If we just Do It.

Are there any quotes or other words of wisdom that inspire you? Share them in the comments below.

“You have to take action, or succumb to inaction.” That one’s tucked into one of my leather folders.

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University.
Susan Crowell
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