Timeless Words to Live By: Influential Books, Poems and Inspiring Quotes

Ideas for the draft

  • The Road Less Taken by Robert Frost
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Quotes saved on Pinterest
  • Reading log
  • Business specific books

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The Present

“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

― Professor Harold Hill


“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson


“In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”
― Lao Tzu


“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh


a39bd28c529d1e25735e0a3537a1a848A familiar message from “The Alchemist”…

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future, I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man…Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”

― camel driver, speaking to the boy in “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho


“Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh


“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things–that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.”

― Steve Jobs


“Enjoy life now. This is not a rehearsal.”

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
― Dr. Seuss


“If you presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.”

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
― Albert Einstein


“One has to live in the present. Whatever is past is gone beyond recall; whatever is future remains beyond one’s reach, until it becomes present. Remembering the past and giving thought to the future are important, but only to the extent that they help one deal with the present.”

― S.N. Goenka


“Enjoy the little things in life…for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
― Robert Brault


“Wherever you are, make sure you’re there.”
― Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach


“Don’t look for the next opportunity. The one you have in hand is the opportunity.” 
— Paul Arden


“Live Like You Were Dying”
― James 4:13-17


Excerpt from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (p.54 in chapter “Week 2: Recovering a Sense of Identity”:

Writing about attention, I see that I have written a good deal about pain. This is no coincidence. It may be different for others, but pain is what it took to teach me to pay attention. In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always, all right. Yesterday the marriage may have ended. Tomorrow the cat may die. The phone call from the lover, for all my waiting, may not ever come, but just at the moment, just now, that’s all right. I am breathing in and out. Realizing this, I began to notice that each moment was not without its beauty.


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In Praise of Slowness

“The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal”

— Jim Lore and Tony Schwartz

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle thingsthat’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.”

Steve Jobs

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
(Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

“Speed can be fun, productive and powerful, and we would be poorer without it. What the world needs, and what the slow movement offers, is a middle path, a recipe for marrying la dolce vita with the dynamism of the information age. The secret is balance: instead of doing everything faster, do everything at the right speed. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. Sometimes in between.”

Carl Honoré, the author of “In Praise of Slowness”


“Like a bee in a flower bed, the human brain naturally flits from one thought to the next. In the high-speed workplace, where data and headlines come thick and fast, we are all under pressure to think quickly. Reaction, rather than reflection, is the order of the day. To make the most of our time, and to avoid boredom, we fill up every spare moment with mental stimulation…Keeping the mind active makes poor use of our most precious resource. True, the brain can work wonders in high gear. But it will do so much more if given the chance to slow down from time to time. Shifting the mind into lower gear can bring better health, inner calm, enhanced concentration and the ability to think more creatively.”

Carl Honoré, Canadian journalist based in London

Carl mentions this on page 120 of his book, “In Praise of Slowness”


“Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there some day”

From “Pooh’s Little Instruction Book”, a gift from my friend Jake Jakobson while we were still living in Japan


“Direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast.”


“I don’t have time to be in a hurry”


“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast―you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
Eddie Cantor

Now all you can do is wait. It must be hard for you, but there is a right time for everything. Like the ebb and flow of tides. No one can do anything to change them. When it is time to wait, you must wait.

Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/ebb-and-flow.html

“Life is full of ebbs and flows. Trust that when things are slow or not going the way you’d like, there’s something positive coming your way. Things are in the works, the universe is shifting, and all the seeds you plant will come to bloom in their right time. Take care of yourself, trust in the process and stop trying to force things.”
Stephenie Zamora

In his book, The Happiness Equation, author Neil Pasricha mentions a quote by Tim Kreider in his New York Times article, “The ‘Busy’ Trap”:

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspirationit is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

“It is in this space of the unknown where all possibilities appear, this space where magic can happen. The space from the end of something to the beginning of something new that brings forth a new lease of life, a new energy.”
— parth_é, Life is Flux

“We are often foolish in that we let our obsession with creation, following the force of sizzling anxiety and adrenaline to put the intangible into a product, take over the bare materials we need to do it well: living. Taking stock and thinking. Reading, watching, crying, eating.

Our brains don’t just stop because we’re not wrist deep in paint or late night loomed in stanzas.

They’re preparing for the next project.

They’re recuperating, tidying tiny pieces into their boxes to make enough room to lay out the new ones.”

— Charly Cox

Leisure” by W. H. Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

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Be Grateful

“At the end of the day, it’s not happiness that makes us thankful, but thankfulness that makes us happy…”

In her book, “The How of Happiness”, Sonja Lyubomirsky writes,

“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present oriented.”


“A simple THANK YOU has magic…it warms the heart and creates a moment of connection and peace between two people.”

“Someone is happy with less than what you have.”

“Live simply. Dream big. Be grateful. Give love. Laugh lots.”

― Paulo Coelho


“Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.”

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

― Albert Schweitzer


“Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.”

― 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18




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Live Simply

2da0f4b0d74fce438143119e5145c7a6Henry David Thoreau

“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day;…so simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real.”

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”


“Out of all virtues simplicity is my most favorite virtue. So much so that I tend to believe that simplicity can solve most of the problems, personal as well as the world problems. If the life approach is simple one need not lie so frequently, nor quarrel nor steal, nor envy, anger, abuse, kill. Everyone will have enough and plenty so need not hoard, speculate, gamle, hate. When character is beautiful, you are beautiful. That is the beauty of simplicity.”

― Ela Bhatt


“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital.”

― Dalai Lama


The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word….
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

― T.S. Eliot

“On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day.”

― Rumi


“Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away”

“Live simply. Dream big. Be grateful. Give love. Laugh lots.”

― Paulo Coelho


“Make it simple, but significant.”

― Don Draper


“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

― Leonardo da Vinci


“Listening to the siren song of more, we are deaf to the still small voice waiting in our soul to whisper, ‘You’re enough.'”

― Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way


Check out other collections of quotes by theme: donndurante.com/category/media/quotes