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Great inspirational quotes are more than a mere selection of wise words strung together. It is a fusion of creativity, wisdom and emotion. There is something almost magical about some quotes, as they speak directly to our soul, change our state, bring a smile to our face and make us believe that anything is possible.

If you feel tired and sleepy, if you find self-doubt coming up, or if it just seems like the day is going to be tough to face, take 5 minutes to read 40 Best Quotes to Boost your Motivation, Productivity and Optimism and start your day GREAT:

Dream big! Imagine! Create!

“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can´t have it.” – Robert Anthony

“Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.” -Stuart Wilde

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” – J.M. Power

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars.” – Les Brown

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?'” – George Bernard Shaw

“We are what and where we are because we have first imagined it”– Donald Curtis

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” – Douglas Everett

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

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“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.”Cherie Carter-Scott
This is not one of my usual posts. As the title implies this post is dedicated to forgiveness and there is actually a reason why I am writing about it today.
Last Friday I witnessed something I had only seen before in action movies. I was “hacked”. Not just hacked – hacked in the worst possible way (or so it seemed to me).
I opened my email account just before going to bed, because I was expecting an important work email, and to my great surprise saw over 10 emails from Paypal (my on-line bank), each informing me that my debit card had been charged.
Shocked I logged onto my bank account and saw a long line of transactions from iTunes varying from $40 to $80. As I was trying to understand what had happened two more transactions were made. It felt like a bad dream. You sit in front of your computer and observe the amount of money left in your bank account getting smaller and smaller. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.
When I logged onto my iTunes account I realized that there was no way of cancelling it on-line. I had to wait until Monday to call customer support and explain to them the situation. By then, of course, my bank account would be completely empty.
Fortunately, the situation resolved quickly. One of my best friends had a Paypal account so I just transferred the remaining money there, until I could get hold of an Apple representative and explain to them what had happened.
Later when I searched online to see if anyone else had the same problem, I found loads of forum discussions, where hundreds of people were complaining about being hacked in the past 5-6 months the same way I had been. Many of them had lost all of their money and had had to wait 2-3 months to get it back. I guess this makes me the lucky one, because I had only $481 taken off my account (which is half of my rent).
Anyway, since this post is dedicated to forgiveness, I should probably get back to the topic.
Two years ago if something like this had happened to me, I would have got my consolation in the fact that “what goes around comes around”. And I might have even imagined those guys losing money or breaking their hands 🙂 for stealing from other people (not because they have nothing to eat, but just for the fun of it).
But fortunately for me none of these thoughts crossed my mind. On the contrary, this incident reminded me that nothing that I thought I owned was ever truly mine. It could be taken away from me in no time, just as it had been given to me. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it – except to choose how to respond to the situation I am facing.
I had no problem forgiving my “hackers”. I struggled to wish them all the best and to hope that they would enjoy all the music and books that they had downloaded at my expense.
You have probably noticed yourself that it is relatively easy to forgive people, who have wronged us. It is much harder to forget about it and wish with all our heart that they will not be punished for their actions.
But I believe that this is what true forgiveness is all about.
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I have a weird question for you, one you have probably been asked ten times before, – Do you see a glass as half-full or half-empty? My friend’s daughter asked me the same question yesterday and when I said, “half full” without even thinking she laughed and said, “No!” I was puzzled. . . “Why not?”. . . “Because it is both!”
What?! I was not expecting this from an 8-year old!
But later when I got home I thought about it. And she was right! It is both. . . and neither. . . because objectively the glass just is and water in it just is. And only our busy mind, feels the need to make distinctions and evaluate everything.
There is an old Indian story that demonstrates the same point:
One day a rajah’s son came to him and asked “Father, what is the truth of things?”
“A wonderful question!” the rajah said, “Let me show you the answer.”
He commanded his royal elephant and 3 blind men to be brought forth into the palace. As soon as his order was completed, he asked 3 men to examine the elephant and describe it to his son.
The blind men had never known an elephant before and were excited to feel one for the first time in their lives. One found his way to the elephant’s tusk and said, “It is like a spear”, another examined the leg and declared, “Oh noble Rajah, he is quite wrong, it is like a tree”. The third man touched the tail and exclaimed, “Most noble Rajah, they are both wrong, the elephant is like a rope!”
While three blind were bickering amongst themselves, each telling the others why he alone was right, the rajah asked his son, “Do you understand it now? The elephant is like the truth of all things and we are like the blind men.”
Similar, most of us struggle every day to make sense out of situations, to explain our own and other people’s decisions and actions, stumbling blindly, touching only small parts of the reality, and coming away with a narrow and fragmented understanding of what it all means.
Here are 3 Little Golden Rules of Understanding that you can apply immediately to find inner balance and get a more objective understanding of life:

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In one of my posts How To Resolve Internal Conflicts and Live In Peace With Yourself I said that a conflict between values and anti-values can be the main reason why we lose peace of mind and feel stuck or unsatisfied with our life.

We have all been there:

You really need to finish your project in time, but some part of you intentionally procrastinates. You work hard at your personal relationships, but another part of you wants to leave. You want to pursue your goals, but a little voice inside your head is telling you that you will fail. Most of us are not immune to the inner arguments, self-doubts and worries.

But what if we could resolve 90% of our inner conflicts? What if we could stop the stream of negative thoughts that often take over our mind? What if we could finally feel at peace with ourselves and the world around us?

It is not impossible! Inner harmony, joyful existence and unshakable belief that you can be successful start with your peace of mind. And peace of mind starts with getting to know your core values and anti-values and settling inner conflicts.

If you are still unconvinced here are 5 Sound Reasons why it is so important to learn your personal values and anti-values:

• It empowers you to make better decisions. If you know your values, it becomes much easier to align your choices accordingly.

• It becomes easier to find compatible places, lifestyle and people that support your way of living.

• It allows you to identify your main priorities in life and choose goals that are right for you.

• It makes you live with integrity. It does not mean that anyone who discovers their values will instantly become an honest and honorable person. I wish things could be that easy. “Living with integrity” in this case, means being true to yourself, becoming a “whole” person.

• It improves your communication with other people, because you understand their way of thinking and actions better.

What are values and anti-values?

What I am about to share with you is serious psychology stuff that is the basis of most coaching sessions, so bear with me.

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Usually, when we think of being in conflict, we think about our boss, who vented their frustration on us last week, about how our spouse has hurt our feelings, about our child, who is going through a difficult age or about an insolent shopping assistant, who has been plain rude to us.

But there is another type of conflict – one that is going on in our head. Inner conflicts may be less obvious than open confrontations with other people, but they are actually a lot more frequent and a lot more damaging for us in the long run.

Do you notice these inner daily contradictions about whether or not you should do or say something? Are you always sure about decisions that you have made or do you feel doubts afterwards? Have you been in a situation when your mind tells you to do one thing, while your heart ignores all the logic and tells you to do the opposite?

If yes, then you are not alone. We all sometimes feel torn between doing what we want to do and what we “ought” to be doing.

Psychologists say that there could be several different causes of our inner battles:

Preconceived Notions.

Sometimes we stubbornly hold onto our beliefs and judgments even though there is considerable evidence that they are wrong. In this case we feel torn between desire to defend our beliefs and accepting the necessity to face the facts.
It is easy, if not to avoid, then at least to minimize the number of inner conflicts caused by preconceived notions by keeping your mind open, which basically means not getting too attached to your opinions, ideas and predictions. Making a mistake or being wrong about someone or something does not make you ignorant. Being wrong and stubbornly looking for evidence that you are right – does!

Abstract social values.

It is not always easy to do the right thing. Especially when it is unclear what the right thing is. I wish that when we are taught to “be generous”, “compassionate”, “forgiving” there were specific instructions on how we should act in real life situations and detailed explanation of which moral and ethical values are more important and which ones can sometimes be “sacrificed”.

Let me explain myself…

Imagine that your friend is very upset and asks you if you can come over. The problem is that you have promised to have dinner with your family. What are you supposed to do? Tell your friend that you cannot be there for them? Cancel dinner with your family and hear the disappointment in your mother’s voice, because she has been cooking all day and was really looking forward to seeing you?

There you go! You have your inner conflict, because neither alternative is perfect.

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“Realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity”Will Smith

When a little boy says “I want to be an astronaut” – we smile at him and say, “Sure, honey, you can be anything you want to be!” When a twenty five year old man makes the same statement, we say, “Hey, be realistic!” Which basically means, “settle for something that brings you no satisfaction, just because you know you can get it”.

What happened in the 15 years that made a perfectly capable human-being turn into perfectly incapable grown-up, whose only choice in life is to get a degree in a highly- demanding field, find a regular job, work 30 + years and hopefully save enough money for retirement? It is as if in the course of our adulthood years instead of perfecting our skills, tripling our IQ, gaining valuable experience we are somehow getting dumber and less talented.

Common sense would suggest that if we could have accomplished everything we wanted at the age of 5, we are even more capable of doing it at the age of 25 or 50.

And since you and I are sensible people, let’s forget about the most depressing, demotivating, dream-killing cliché’s of our time to “be realistic” and go for something that we actually want and can accomplish!

Here are 9 ways to start achieving unrealistically realistic success:

1. Readjust your goals. When I first voiced my idea about quitting a regular job and starting my own website I got “worried” looks, ironic remarks and I was warned at least 700 times that it is a “crazy idea that is not going to work”. Now when I explain to people what I do I am told how lucky I am. 🙂

I honestly do not believe that success starts or is based on luck, intelligence, determination or some extraordinary talents. It starts with a big vision that is worth working for.

Take a look at your goal.

  • Is it motivating?
  • Is it inspiring?
  • Is it the greatest goal ever?

If not, than perhaps you have made it too realistic. Psychological research shows that challenging goals lead to increased motivation and improved performance. It makes sense – the bigger the goal is, the more strongly we want to achieve it.

2. Think differently. If you do whatever everyone else is doing you will get the same results as everyone else is getting. Which is fine if this is what you want, but if you feel that you could do more/ be more/ achieve more, why settling for less?

All of the greatest discoveries, multi-billion dollar companies and break through- accomplishments were done by people, who thought differently from the rest of the world and were not afraid to put their vision into action.

3. Ignore the “realistic dudes”. They say that you should not go to a doctor whose office plants have died. Just as you should not ask a person who has achieved very little, advice on success. Before listening to “kind-hearted” advice to give up on your goals or think smaller, consider this – most people who claim to “be realistic” spend 95% of their time worrying about things that will never happen.

There is a huge difference between having your feet firmly on the ground and making Murphy’s Law “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” your life credo. Do not let the “realistic dudes” dampen your self-confidence and prevent you from going after your goals. Listen to yourself! You already know all the right answers!

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“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”Robert Collier

Doubting yourself or your own abilities and skills, having to put up with derogatory remarks every day, spending most of your efforts on proving to everyone that you are worthy can be very frustrating (to put it mildly). Ironically, being aware about your lack of self-confidence, does not make you feel any better about yourself.

But it does not have to be this way!

Here is the second part of the 24 amazing tips that will help you boost your self-confidence, break free from the self-pity and self-doubt cycle, take control of your life back, and gain the respect and support of others:

13. Count your blessings

Self-doubts and worries attract negative events and failures into your life. The best way to stop the flow of self-destructive thoughts is to switch your focus from what you do not have – to everything that you have been blessed with. Believe me, there is always something to be grateful for: your health, your parents, your children, a roof over your head, your job. Many people do not have even that much!

14.  Contribute to others

Knowing that your experience, knowledge and skills can serve other people is an empowering thought. The momentyou start helping others, you stop viewing yourself as a victim of circumstances. You realize that you hold the power to make someone else’s life a little easier and a little better. Just make sure that you offer your help, because you want to, not because you expect gratitude or a favor in return!

15. Refrain from judging

Judging someone is nothing else than a subconscious attempt to boost your self-esteem by putting other people down. Your own lack of self-confidence and self doubts could be the direct result of someone judging you in the past. You know how terrible it feels when another person tries to compensate for their hurt ego by making other people feel miserable. So why be that person?

16. Do not jump to conclusions

Neurological studies show that we rarely make decisions completely rationally and objectively. 90% of the time the conclusions that we make are based on bits and pieces of information that we can interpret differently depending on our mood, our past experiences, our background and our self-esteem. Keep that in mind and base your judgments on facts, rather than presentiments! If someone is frowning, it does not necessarily mean that they dislike you or that YOU did something wrong. Similar, if the last time you did not follow through with your goal, it does not mean that you are hopeless and will fail every goal that you set.

17. Stop comparing yourself with others

They say that a troubled mind tends to compare two entirely different things. You might be doing the same thing… If you take the strengths of others and compare them to your weaknesses – the result will always be unsatisfactory. Do not intentionally put yourself down. The only relevant parameter of your growth and progress is the difference between how you were last week and how you are today!

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“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”Malcolm S. Forbes

Have you ever been at a friend’s party, where you did not know anyone except for the person who invited you? How did it go?

I usually end up having a great time and meeting interesting people. The only thing I do not enjoy about these kinds of parties is the first 15-20 minutes of awkwardness. Do you know what I am talking about? You enter the room full of people you do not know. Your friend disappears, because they have to greet someone else and you just stand there, wondering if anyone will talk to you or if you should engage another person in conversation.

If you are lucky some good soul comes over to you and says “Hi!”, if not you have three choices: 1) look for the friend who invited you there, 2) search the crowd and see if there is anyone else in the room who is standing by them self and seems to be tortured by the same dilemma as you are: to talk or not to talk, or 3) choose the group of people who seem to be having fun and walk up to them.

My point is that no matter how self-confident or outgoing we are, there will be situations when we will doubt our abilities or feel shy or inadequate around other people.

But the true question is not “Why do we feel that way?”, but “What can we do about it?”

Here is the first part of 24 Golden Nuggets that have helped me to fight occasional self-doubts and become more confident in myself:

1. Love Yourself

Loving yourself does not mean that you should completely ignore your weaknesses or sit for hours in front of a mirror, admiring your beauty. Love is about acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. Yes, you can mess up and get yourself into embarrassing situations. But guess what? So can everyone else! Learn to forgive yourself for past failures and accept your shortcoming. No one is perfect. But everyone is unique! This is what makes relationships so interesting and exciting!

2. Watch your language!

People’s feelings and negatives beliefs are reflected in their words. Become aware of how you frame your sentences. Think of the message that you are sending to other people when you say, “I can never get it right”, “It’s so easy, even I could have done it”, “You would not want to go out with me, would you?” Do not generalize or catastrophize the situation! Try to be specific and objective. There is a huge difference between saying, “No one loves me! I will never get married and I will die alone” and saying, “They do not want to go out with me, but that does not mean no one does. I just need to keep looking.”

3. Look good to feel good

When you look nice you feel good. And when you feel good, you start to talk and act more confidently. Nothing helps you to regain your self-confidence and optimism faster than an elegant outfit, a great new haircut or accessories that radiate power and professionalism.

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Let me tell you a story…

In 1904 Claude Monet exhibited one of his remarkable paintings called “Houses of Parliament”. Monet had tried to capture an image of the Palace of Westminster overlooking the Thames in the early morning. If you look at it, the detail that will catch your eye right away is the color of the fog. It is purple!

When Monet showed his painting to the world, many art critics talked about the interesting vision of the artist or about the original choice of colors that he had used. But the true shock came a few days later when the people of London left their houses early in the morning and to their great surprise saw what they had never noticed before – the sun rays coming through fog had, indeed, made it look purple!

Before Monet’s painting, people looked at the same fog almost every day as they went to work, but most of them only now saw truly it for the first time. Their perception of reality had changed overnight, because of one single person who painted ‘by impression’, not by what he had been taught.

If you think about it, our reality is not something that objectively exists. It is woven from thousands of perceptions. We believe certain things, because at some point in our lives we have accepted them as true. NOT because they ARE a true reflection of reality.

I have a question for you… Have you ever talked to a person and just had a gut feeling that they were lying to you? Or when you were telling yourself a story, you could not get rid of the feeling that you are not being honest with yourself? What did it feel like?

I know that when I hear a lie I feel uneasy, upset, embarrassed or even angry. I believe that we all have a built-in lie detector that stirs up a whole range of negative emotions when we hear something that is not true.

Now let me ask you another question… How did you feel when someone put you down or told you that you could not do something? I am going to take a guess and say that you felt uneasy, upset, embarrassed or angry. Do you know why? Because your intuition was signaling to you that you had been told a LIE.

There are no Universal beauty or ugliness standards. There are no set limits for the amount of wealth and material possessions that a person should have, to be considered “rich” or “poor”. There are no IQ test or intelligence levels that make one person superior to another in the eyes of God.

We, ourselves, create these standards and put labels on ourselves and those around us. And we often ignore the fact that every single judgment that is made is just someone else’s point of view. Not the absolute truth.

When we are born, we do not have an opinion about who we are, what an ideal body should look like and what is possible or impossible for us to achieve. We learn all these opinions later in life and we accept them as truths.

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“After God created the world, He made man and woman. Then, to keep the whole thing from collapsing, He invented humor”Bill Kelly

When was the last time you laughed so hard that you were in tears? Yesterday? Last week? You cannot remember?

For some reason being a responsible and trust-worthy adult is often associated with “getting serious” and walking around with a solemn, slightly preoccupied look on your face (like you are on the verge of resolving one of humanity’s biggest problems, but too busy to share it with the rest of the world)

If you cannot remember a time when you were not worrying about something, were not frustrated with someone or rushing somewhere, you might want to consider bringing laughter and fun back into your life and here is why:

• Laughter releases stress, decreases blood pressure, and boosts the immune system
• It enhances memory, improves learning skills and creativity
• It improves mood and helps us to look at a situation from a new perspective
• It is a great pain-free alternative to a tiresome workout! The physical effects that a good laugh has on our body are comparable with the effects of a serious work-out. And as unbelievable as it may sound, a few minutes of heart bellying laughter can burn as many calories as one hour of brisk walking!
• It strengthens relationships, lowers emotional guards and increases the feeling of intimacy and trust
• It is a perfect solution for taking the strain off a situation and defusing conflict
• It attracts other people to us and makes them want to be in our company

To put it simply, laughter is a cheap, efficient, organic, sugar and fat-free, environmentally safe solution to your work, health and relationships problems.

If you can use some more fun and humor here is what you can do to incorporate it into your daily life:

1. Smile. Vast neurological research shows that just changing your facial expression can change the direction of your thoughts and influence your mood. Whenever you smile even if it is just a polite smile, your body starts to produce feel-good hormones and your mood improves. Therefore, smile! Even if you do not feel like it, even if it is raining outside, even if you have a difficult day at work ahead of you! Smile and everything will seem better!

2. Count your blessings. Normally our mind is busy thinking about: 1) all the things that we would like to receive, but do not have at the moment or 2) worrying about losing things that we already have. This leaves us no time to enjoy and appreciate all the blessings that we have been given. Set aside 5 minutes a day to think of everything wonderful that you have in your life and add another 2 seconds to say “Thank you!”!

3. Become a cheerleader for others! The secret to attracting more fun and positivity into your life is simple. All you have to do is exude fun and positivity! It does not mean that you have to be hyper-excited or act as a clown. You can always do something that makes other people feel more inspired and more relaxed in your company. Give a reassuring smile to your colleague if they are having a bad day. Wink at your spouse and compliment them on their good looks. Tell a joke during the lunch break to make everyone laugh. Positivity is contagious! So spread it around as much as you can!

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