The incredible value of an outside perspective
What is it about a quote that possesses so much power? A random thought by a person no different than you or me. Yet, the right quote can inspire someone to do incredible things.
Why should you listen to that random person? What makes their words so valuable? When I lived a life of stagnancy, I would have asked the same questions.
The answer is perspective. It doesn’t matter if the quote is from the Dalai Lama himself or a barista at Starbucks. Everyone has a unique outlook on life. An incredible gift if approached with the right mindset.
We could all use a little influence outside of our own bubble.
I keep a whiteboard in my bedroom full of quotes and phrases that speak to me. Ironic, considering my previous cynicism. The board serves as a “to-do list” but has become so much more.
I use it to keep myself honest, an insurance policy on my intention for each day. It shows my weekly schedule, long and short-term goals, and finally, those quotes. I usually rotate them in and out; these three have remained through all the turnover.
They have greatly impacted my life and will hopefully add some value to yours as well.
1. “Be Impeccable With Your Word”
I picked this one up from a mentor of mine(Louis Giordano), and I apply it to almost every aspect of my life. Being impeccable with your word is more than just an action. I view it as a lifestyle.
Your word is everything. When you break promises and rarely follow up on your intentions, you lose all respect and credibility.
It interferes with relationships, friendships, and professional opportunities. You become “that guy,” the person no one can count on. More than anything else, it affects your self-image and self-talk. No one wants to be unreliable.
It all starts with you. When you break promises with yourself, skip workouts, blow off responsibilities, it’s easier to start breaking obligations with other people. The result is a deterioration of self-worth and confidence — leading to more of the same behavior and running from problems. It’s a vicious cycle, one I know all too well.
When you don’t respect yourself, you can’t possibly expect anyone else to either.
These days I try to go the complete opposite direction. I used to be late for everything. Now things like punctuality and preparedness are essential to me.
If I give someone my word, make an appointment, or set plans, you can guarantee I’ll be there. When I plan a workout, I don’t leave the gym until I finish. The same applies to work, writing, daily routines, waking up earlier, etc.
You’d be surprised how much your self-image improves by simply holding yourself accountable and being brutally honest. That accountability transfers over to your relationships and interactions with others.
Be Impeccable with your word, and give your confidence a boost.
2. “Discipline Equals Freedom”
Ah, the infinite wisdom that is Jocko Willink. I plan on writing an article about my different sources of inspiration/motivation. You better believe this man will be on the top of the list.
I once envisioned freedom to be a life with no responsibilities. Winning the lottery and being able to just coast. Yet, the periods in my life where I had the least going on were my most anxious and depressed. Coincidence? Doubtful.
On top of having more time to let thoughts run wild, there seems to be an innate correlation between productivity and feel-good endorphins.
The freedom depicted in this quote depends on your interpretation. For me, it’s freedom from myself. Much of my anxiety was a direct result of my laziness and lack of drive. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t living up to my potential.
I view my anxiety as a mental alarm system. I usually get anxious when I’m putting something off, my brains’ way of telling me to get my act together. As soon as I accomplish what I had been procrastinating on, the anxiety vanishes.
When I stay honest with myself, remain disciplined, and try to get the most out of each day, my mental health issues are almost nonexistent. Life is 100% momentum-based. When you do the small things right, that foundation transfers over to more significant tasks.
Meditation, journaling, and cold showers all have their unique benefits, but they also help train that discipline muscle. When I start my day off the right way, it makes it easier to hold myself accountable as it progresses.
Being disciplined isn’t living a rigid life void of all pleasure and enjoyment. It’s taking care of your responsibilities and putting rules in place to ensure you live up to your full potential.
It allows me to enjoy my free time without guilt.
3. “Anger Is Fear Manifested”
The origin of this one is unclear. I’m not even sure where I first heard it. My limited google searches left me without any answers. What I do know is how it affected me. One of those stops you in your tracks, messes your head up for a few days type of deals.
I have heard the “depression is anger turned inward” adage several times. When reflecting on my past, as I frequently do, it makes perfect sense as to why I was so anxious and depressed. Angry at my situation, uncertainty, and helplessness. Mostly mad at myself for letting things get to that point.
Think about any time you’ve received criticism for something. When you know there is no validity to said criticism, it usually slides right off your shoulders. Now think of the times you have gotten defensive or lashed out because of it. Deep down, you knew there was at least some truth to the critique.
My obsession with being the best version of myself has led to a curiosity about my negative tendencies. I am forever looking for the why to them all. So, when I uncover a gem of a quote like this, I try to make it stick with me.
Whenever I feel frustrated or angry, I try as hard as I can to detach from it. It helps me approach frustrating situations with more clarity.
I ask myself what I’m worried about; nine times out of ten, there’s underlying insecurity.
The more we can operate from rationality instead of emotion, the better we can all become.
I use quotes as a reminder of how I want to live my life. A quick shot of clarity and guidance when I feel myself start to slip.
Despite what we may think, we don’t have it all figured out. Nobel prize-winning scientists and engineers all have room to grow, something to be gained from an outside perspective.
No one is asking you to hit Walmart and buy a whiteboard as soon as you’re done reading this. But if you need some direction, finding a few quotes from individuals you look up to is a great place to start.
There is a world of inspiration out there just waiting to be tapped into.