Category Archives: Quotations

HOW AM I DOING?

Everyone with a business needs to know how it’s measuring up. The conventional measurements are expressed in numbers, of course, but what really charges my batteries is to hear or experience the reaction of people who receive a spontaneous gift of a Happiness Card, (little cards with my photography and an inspiring quote.)

I got a message from a friend who offered a card to an 8 year-old boy who’d been waiting for his mother in her waiting room. He chose one that had this quote on the back:. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” He was delighted as he’d been read stories about Pooh and Piglet.

An interesting thing to do is to suggest someone choose a card by selecting the photograph that calls to them and then read the quotation. Often magic happens. “I needed to hear this,” or “This message was meant for me,” are comments that have been reported back to me over and over. When the quotation hits the mark like that people are visibly moved.

I had an experience earlier this week that illustrates the point. It was the birthday of a friend, and I’d been invited to celebrate the event with him and his friends at a local restaurant. I tucked a Happiness Card in his birthday card, and the card I selected for him was the peach-colored iris with a quote by Anais Nin. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born, until they arrive.” I chose it because he’s someone who has opened up new worlds in me, but it also brought back a delightful childhood memory for him.

                He remembered being out in the country with his family when he was 5 years old. He found an iris, a flower he hadn’t seen before, sat down by it and got completely lost in the blossom. It reminded me of a quote by Lao Tzu that I shared it with him: “Flowers are love embodied. Look deeply at the color. Feel the vibrancy. Put your nose a little closer. Look deeply. Fall inside. Start your life over right here, right now, inside a flower.” I love how a chain of memories and events got triggered by one small card.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born, until they arrive. Anais Nin

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born, until they arrive. Anais Nin

I began making Happiness Cards as a way to use my photography to spread some happiness. Maybe it doesn’t work every time, but it has been working enough of the time for me to feel I’m doing okay.

http://www.happinesscards.net

 

LEARNING FROM THE WISDOM OF OTHERS

We in the 21st century have no corner on wisdom, despite all our amazing progress in the scientific field. I have been collecting quotations for over a year to use on my Happiness Cards, and I use only words from those no longer living to avoid infringing on copyright protection. Choosing what to include and what to leave out has been an interesting process, and I imagine one could glean a fairly accurate psychological picture of me from the choices I have made.

I am particularly drawn to quotes by people who have had some relevance in my life. John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach and wise man, was coaching when I was a grad student there. He led the team to 10 national championships in 12 years, a record that still stands.  He became world-renown without losing his humility. Many of his instructions to his players have become words that guide lives far removed from the basketball court, and have become known as “Woodenisms

He was born and raised in Indiana, and his quotes are down-to-earth, practical and very Mid-western. “Things turn out best for the people that make the best of the way things turn out,” is a quote that displays his gift with words as well as his practical philosophy. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” That’s one I need to tape to my computer!

Someone else who touched my life and whom I quote is Peace Pilgrim. She’s not as well known as John Wooden, but just as wise in her own way. She began walking for peace at the 1953 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, and crossed the country on foot several times. I felt as if I was walking in her footsteps when I was part of the Great Peace March and walked from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

Her quotation from one of my Happiness Cards is: “When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” Her philosophy can be summed up with the following words: “This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth and hatred with love.”

The internet is a treasure trove of quotations. Spending time culling through the hundreds available on line continues to be one of my favorite activities.

MUSINGS ON HAPPINESS

When I started looking for quotes for my Happiness Cards, I began a Google search with the most obvious word, “happiness.”  From the quotations I found, it was apparent that we humans have been looking for, and doling out advice about happiness since the ancient Greeks. Epictetus wrote, “There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things that are beyond the power of the will.” Easier said than done, Epictetus!

One can hardly pick up a popular magazine these days without seeing an article on happiness. Amazon lists more than 74,000 books with happiness in the title. I found 23 articles on the subject in the Huffington Post, everything from “Why Tens of Thousands of People Are Signing Up for This Online Course” (about happiness) by Carolyn Gregoire to a Tony Schwartz article, “Happiness Is Overrated.”

The New York Times ran an article by Arthur Brooks, “A Formula for Happiness,” that appeared in the December 14, 2013 issue. It sums up 40 years of research on the topic. About 50% of the determining factors of whether one is happy is something we can do nothing about – our genes. Another 40% or so is recent events, but the happiness acquired by getting that dream job or moving to California is short lived. The remaining 10 to 12%, made up of faith, family, community and work, is the one area where we have some control.

I have found that staying mindful of negative thoughts when they dominate my mind chatter, and replacing them with positive ones can do more to improve my mood than anything else I’ve tried. As Dale Carnegie said many years ago, “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s what you think about.” Amen to that!

 

WISE WORDS FROM COACHES?

I’m always on the lookout for good quotations for my Happiness Cards. It’s a fun and relaxing activity to read the wise, inspiring and sometimes hilarious words from all kinds of people. I haven’t been surprised that well-known authors and world leaders are often quoted. But coaches?

Ocean Scene

Some of the best quotes I’ve found come from the late John Wooden of UCLA basketball fame. He was a wise and humble man who warned his players, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” I could have saved myself hours of grief if I’d followed his admonition: “If you don’t have time to do it right when will you have time to do it over?”

Yogi Berra, coach of the NY Yankees, is almost as famous for his malapropisms as his coaching. His statement that, “Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical,” is pretty typical. I’m not a sports fan, but even I’ve heard quotes by Vince Lombardi.

Sports lends itself to humorous observations. It was Erma Bombeck who wrote: “If a man watches three football games in a row he should be declared legally dead.” I can only imagine what her Sunday afternoons must have been like. Humorist, Dave Barry observed that, ”Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.”

Perhaps it’s not that surprising after all, that quotations from the world of coaching and sports are plentiful. Many games can be fashioned into metaphors for life. Coaches and players are given plenty of opportunity to spout off about the latest game and are heard by millions. Probably you and I say something memorable every now and then too, but who hears us?

Here’s your chance! Share your wise words in the Comment box.