It’s also no secret that I’m not a fan of the whole “college student” part of my life. There are things I enjoy about being in college and people I will miss when I don’t live near them anymore…but, I’m ready for this chapter to close. I am working to try and make the most of my time in undergrad, but, again, this chapter’s closing cannot come soon enough. Senioritis is alive and flourishing in my neck of the woods. My excitement for things to come is overwhelming. That’s all still a few months off, though, so in the mean time, I’m stuck with the sensation of spinning my wheels, wasting valuable educational dollars on those last few classes that I “need” to graduate.
If anything, the classes I’m taking now are only a life lesson in biting the bullet and forcing oneself to be patient.
So, to “keep on keepin’ on” at times like this, I turn to the words of wiser, more experienced (and famous) people. Some of these may be repeats from past posts, but they are so prevalent in my arsenal of survival weapons…er, tools that I have to include them.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
This is “my” quote. I turn to it for inspiration and “stick-to-it-ness.” In fact, I featured it in an animation assignment in early 2012.
“So be sure when you step,
Step with care and great tact.
And remember that life’s
A Great Balancing Act.
And will you succeed? Yes!
You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)”
— Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Who says inspirational quotes have to be serious? Some of the most valuable life lessons were summed up quite playfully by Dr. Seuss.
“The best way out is always through.”
— Robert Frost
I could have taken the indirect path through the difficulties life has handed me in the last few years. The major realization I’ve come to is that I would have had to deal with the hardships regardless, and that postponing life to deal with them might have made them last longer. Plus, coming through what I have has made me a better, stronger person.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
— Henry Ford
Don’t let your life be a self-fulfilling prophecy of mediocrity. Get out there and chase your dreams.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s all about the journey, yo.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
We can overcome the obstacles life hands us; we just have to have faith that we can. (And sometimes we have to have a friend to light the fire for us.)
“If you are going to go through hell, keep going.”
— Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt are two of my favorite historical characters. Both led fascinating lives and shaped history in remarkable ways. They also both had a way with words which appeals to the rougher-edged side of myself.
“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”
— Maya Angelou
Amen, sister. That’s a lesson that everyone needs to keep in mind every now and then.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
A very different Roosevelt than the one I quoted above, but no less influential or inspirational!
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
— Milton Berle
You heard the man. Pick up a hammer and knock a hole in that wall.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
— John Wooden
I’m not big on basketball, but man does that man know how to toss out some good memorable quotes.
My last two are by Steve Jobs. It isn’t because I love my Apple computer, it isn’t because I am still mourning the loss of two iPods within two months of each other. It’s because he led an extraordinary life. He dropped out of college because of finances, snuck into classes, and ended up building a brand that shaped culture. He made an undeniable impact on the world. He often relied on soup kitchens and the goodwill of friends just to have food and shelter in college. Years later, he captured inspiration and put it into a plastic box full of wires and circuits. He took imagination and made it tangible. My degree track and career might have never have existed without the contributions he made to society.
He lived life, man. Lived the hell out of. I like to think that, despite some major setbacks, I can leave a positive impact on the world that is even one one-hundred-thousandth of that which he left.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
— Steve Jobs
Don’t let others steer the direction of your life. Don’t demean yourself to the position of becoming what someone else wants. Don’t let the risk of failure stop you from pursuing your dreams. Don’t give up on the “foolish” ideas in life, because every great world-changing concept was considered foolish once. As the great Garth Brooks once said, “If Columbus had complied then this ol’ world might still be flat.”
So, go out there. Weather the storm. Roll with the punches. But don’t ever, ever lose your spirit. And don’t ever stop questioning how you can improve. How can you improve your happiness, your effectiveness, the lives of those around you? Never stop asking yourself, “What can we do better?” That’s become something of a mantra for me lately: what can we do better?
If we never questioned how we could improve, we never would have cultivated the first domestic plants, we never would have fashioned the first early tools, we never would have broken ground with horse-drawn plow, and we never would have heard of an Illinois blacksmith named John Deere. Let’s apply that mentality to the rest of life.
So, I ask you, now that you’re (hopefully) inspired by a bunch of great quotes…
“What can we do better?”
— Kelly M. Rivard
(Okay, maybe I’m not the first person to ask that question. I sure as hell won’t be the last. But, it’d be cool be quoted on one of the 9,000,000 inspirational quote websites out there someday…ALSO, if any great quotes come to mind for you, please share in the comments section! I’m always looking for new go-to’s to keep rolling through life with momentum! ALSO ALSO, don’t forget to check out my American Cancer Society fundraising page here. Every dollar is money toward furthering cancer research and patient care!)