Nine years ago, just as my father declared bankruptcy, I went through a sort of mid-mid-life crisis; the kind you often have to fight against when you’re twenty-something and lost.
Nothing made sense. I struggled with depression and feelings of insecurity. I was a bunch of good intentions held back by a set of limiting self-beliefs, anxieties, addictions, all stitched together with a lot of hope.
I was so desperate for a way out of hell that I couldn’t see the fact that hell was something I had built for myself, hell was something I was carrying with me wherever I went.
During these years, as I slowly descended into darkness, I’d often stumble upon quotes that I’d deeply resonate with. They’d offer a bit of comfort, a bit of clarity, and I’d ponder and ponder about them.
The ones I never forgot about are the ones that defined my mindset and allowed me to escape the hell of my existence.
Here are five quotes that defined my mindset and allowed me to fight for my dreams.
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”William Goldman
As someone who has struggled with high-functioning depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, this quote offered me a bit of comfort.
I was consuming a lot of content, always searching for that one guru who could make the pain go away.
Guess what? The pain never goes away.
Suffering, on the other hand, is a conscious decision you make by trying to avoid pain.
It’s all painful. Doing the best you can for the people you love. Trying to be yourself in a world that constantly tells you to be someone else. Working on becoming the best version of yourself possible.
If someone tells you that there’s a hack for your pain, a ten-minute routine, they are probably trying to sell you something.
Once you realize that, you will choose your gurus much more carefully. You will begin to realize that there’s no elevator to success and that taking the stairs is the only available option.
“If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.”Will Rogers
I have often failed in life because I wasn’t brave enough to assume responsibility.
You hit rock bottom because you dig yourself a deep enough hole without ever thinking about the consequences of your actions.
We are the ones who dig ourselves a hole so deep we often reach hell.
This quote made me realize that I was the one who had to change, that I was in charge of my life, and that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere, it was entirely up to me to find my way back towards success and happiness.
“There is freedom waiting for you,Erin Hanson
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
For most of my twenties, I’d often hear the voice of doubt whisper all sorts of scenarios of failure into my ears.
What if I fail? What if this happens? What if I lose it all? What if she doesn’t like me back?
It took me an entire decade to realize that it’s not the fall that breaks us, but rather our fear of falling.
I was so afraid to fail, to make a fool out of myself, that I wouldn’t even try. After reading this quote, however, I’d choose to reframe my situation by asking myself one question, “ What I fly? What if I actually do it?”
This allowed me to create a compelling vision that would inspire and motivate me to take action. Rather than think of all the ways something could go wrong, I’d think of how great it would feel if I succeeded in whatever it was that I was trying to do.
A powerful vision can often drown out the critic within because we find that vision so inspiring that we reframe the usual symptoms of fear as symptoms of enthusiasm.
“To progress again, man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor. In order to uncover his true visage he must shatter his own substance with heavy blows of his hammer.”Alexis Carrel
Understandably, as I went through a decade-long dark night of the soul, I was desperate to change myself.
Change oneself is often portrayed as a spectacular event, but that’s a romanticized and quite harmful interpretation of a backbreaking and painful process.
We prefer known hells over unknown heavens, we prefer the quiet desperation that echoes alongside our desire for the comfort of staying the same over the struggle to establish a new identity.
If I wanted to become more, I had to be willing to suffer for it. To sacrifice for it. To let go of those who weren’t willing to understand my journey.
We are both the marble and the sculptor. We cannot remake ourselves without suffering, without pain and sacrifice.
“Life is a storm, my young friend, you will bask in the sunlight one moment and be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into the storm as you shout as you did in Rome — Do your worst for I will do mine.”Alexandre Dumas
When life gets tough we often wish to retreat to the safety nets that are often provided to us by those around us.
We are not willing to shout at the darkness that surrounds us that we will not be diminished by our apparent lack of strength.
I read this post and knew that I had to become the type of person who not only does not fear the storm but also welcomes it as the perfect catalyst for change.
I knew that adversity would reveal who I truly was and that I feared adversity because, deep down, I wasn’t who I wanted to be.
We often fear life’s storms because we know we’re not who we should be. We do not want to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders because we feel we are too weak. We do not want to know this, so we prefer to avoid life’s storms and what they tell us about our true nature.
Reading these quotes, over and over again, thinking about them, writing them down, discussing them, all of that slowly inspired me to take massive action, to change my mindset, and to believe in myself.
The truth is that life’s not easy. It’s quite painful. Change is painful. Having the courage to face adversity or the inner fortitude to build a compelling enough vision of the future that overcomes our fear of failure, all of these are the type of mindset tricks that take years to master.
It took years to internalize these quotes, to understand their emotional truth, to apply them in my day to day life. And, to be honest, some days I still struggle to welcome life’s storms as a way to do my best, some days I fail to recognize that changing myself is a painful process.
But that’s what makes these quotes so powerful. They are lessons that are worth remembering, over and over again, as I go through life.