I’ve always been a lover of a good motivational quote. From Dr Seuss to Paulo Coelho, I’ve collected quotes along the years that I still bring out when I feel a little lost, a little defeated, a little so-so. I find it often helps when I’m feeling this way to hear what others have to say, and see things from a different perspective. With this in mind, I’ve put together my top 12 quotes (I couldn’t stop at 10!). These are the thoughts and feelings put into words that have helped me through tough periods of my life and given me hope. Here goes…
 Make things happen
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. – Ernest Hemingway

Good advice, Mr Hemingway. In the past few years I have consciously tried to do this. Listening to most conversations that happen between people, it is obvious that people love to talk about themselves.. Some conversations can feel like a battle to be heard, so I have often let people just talk, and held back from saying anything about myself. Of course the best conversations are the ones with back-and-forth dailogue, where both parties feel heard. But it’s amazing what you find out when you just listen. I’m training to be a counsellor and let me tell you as a counsellor all you do is listen, so I am practising this as much as I can.


A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can’t think of anything else to do. – W. H. Auden

This one really hit home when I first read it. In every role I’ve ever taken I find myself thinking ‘will I like to do this, day in, day out?’ and then also weighing up the financials. Now I’m currently a stay-at-home mum for the short-term, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what exactly will make me happy at the end of the day. And I can tell you it’s not working in an office 5 days a week, working on something that doesn’t make a difference to someone’s life. I will work to live now, not live to work. I am re-training to be a counsellor down the track, but also freelancing as a social media manager and doing quite a bit of writing. These things all make me far happier than turning up to a job I feel apathetic about.


It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end. – Leonardo da Vinci

Yes, it sure is. When you find yourself attracted to someone that you sense or even know will be bad for you – remember this quote. In fact when you’re thinking of doing ANYTHING that may not be best for you in the long run, remember this quote!


My land is bare of chattering folk;
the clouds are low along the ridges,
and sweet’s the air with curly smoke
from all my burning bridges.

Dorothy Parker, Sanctuary

I love this poem so much. Short and sweet. For me it conjures the Australian bush landscape so well, while also packing a subtle punch in the last line. I’ve burnt a couple of bridges in my time, and the sense of freedom and open space in this poem is truly what it feels like.


Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Winnie-the-Pooh was a wise soul. He’s spouted many a brilliant line in A.A. Milne’s work, but this is a favourite of mine. I am often impatient, often living my life for the future and not being mindful of the present, and this reminds me to stay in the now.


You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room. – Dr. Seuss

Sitting in a room trying to learn something by yourself is under-rated. It forces you to look at many things – your personality, your learning style, your patience, your motivation. But mainly it really is the best way to learn something. Teachers are great, but they bring their own personality and their own experience, and you have to go it alone sometimes.


A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires. ― Paulo Coelho

My son can be made happy by the sight of a piece of toast, by a bird flying through the sky, even by a leaf on the grass (he bloody loves leaves, mainly loves to eat them). The things he finds joy in are without a doubt never the big things – not the present, but the wrapping paper; not the food, but the funny face of the person feeding him. We can all learn from that.
And coming from someone who ALWAYS likes to be busy, I can vouch for the happiness that comes from leading a full, busy life. Of course burning the candle at both ends is never a good idea long-term, but do as much as you can I say.
Demanding that which I desire comes less easy to me. I’m working on it…


Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier. ― Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Amy Poehler, of Saturday Night Live fame (among many other things), is not just an incredibly funny woman, she is also very wise. Change happens to everyone, and sometimes it can be difficult, it can be painful, it can feel awkward. But it will happen regardless of how it feels. So best to ‘surf your life’ rather than plant your feet. You might feel a little less stable but that’s also kind of a fun feeling.


When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings. ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I know, I know. You’re now thinking “Oh here we go, a quote from Eat, Pray, Love – Lisa has just lost ALL credibility”. But hear me out.
I don’t have a lot of opportunity to be lonely right now (an 11 month-old baby who wants to pull your hair, smear Vegemite on your face and kiss you all at the same time basically puts paid to that), but I’ve had lonely times in the past. I think this applies to more than just loneliness though – I think if we sit with our feelings of anger, jealous, fear, or whatever the emotion is, and just feel it, it often makes it much easier to process it and then to move on. Life was never guaranteed to be one series of amazing feelings one after the other. If you learn how to deal with the shit feelings, it makes life a whole lot easier. But wine also helps… 🙂


MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice. ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

We need to listen to this woman. How many times have you heard someone make a statement sound like a question and think “Your opinion would have carried so much more weight if you’d just been decisive”. When confronted with strong personalities, usually of the male variety (e.g. my mechanic), it’s hard to make statements and be firm, but man we’ve got to try. Far better that someone thinks you’re a ball-breaker than a walk-over.


Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. – Joseph Addison

I don’t feel like this needs much explanation. I exercise to feel healthier, to feel better, just as I read. Reading is as much second nature to me as walking, and I hope it keeps my senses sharp until old age takes me.


Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. – Charles M. Schulz

The gears we never use are the ones I like to refer to as our ‘reach’ gears. We reach for them only in times of need. These can be the worse times of our lives, but are also the times when we learn something about ourselves. I ought to try reaching for a higher gear more often. Who knows what the results might be?


What are your favourite motivational and inspirational quotes? I’d love to hear them.

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

  1. Love these! So many good ones. My favourite quote is completely clichéd, but I adore it anyway: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Good old Dr Seuss!


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