I love inspirational quotes. “Believe it, and you can achieve it.” “Do all things with love.” “Be awesome today.” Pithy little messages of motivation, hope, faith, and love that inspire us to try a little harder, reach a little further, and love a little more.
For many years, from the late 70s through the early 90s, I was a motivational speaker and sales trainer. I could quote Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and Billy Graham without hesitation, and my office was swathed in Post-It notes exclaiming “You can if you think you can!” “You’re an amazing person. You deserve success!” and “The more one judges, the less one loves.” They would keep me focused and positive, if not downright Katie Couric perky on most days.
But even Katie has the occasional bad day, and while freely admitting it’s usually more my fault than theirs, every once in a while, I’d find myself feeling not quite so at-one with humanity. Days when I’d look at the world around me, then look at my notes and think “Oh, shut up. What do you know?”
On one of those days, I found myself searching through my inspiration library, looking for memorable quotes that might help me resist the urge to smack the next person who chirped “Have a nice day!” To my delighted surprise, I found myself laughing out loud as I sat alone in my office, discovering a bounty of hilarious wisdom out there to reassure me that I’m not alone in my occasional lapse of zen with all mankind.
A few I couldn’t resist sharing with those of you who’ve ever contemplated moving to an unnamed island where no one could find you, even if just for a day:
“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.” Groucho Marx
“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” Groucho Marx
“Sometimes I need what only you can provide: your absence.” Ashleigh Brilliant
“I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.” Stephen Bishop
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Mark Twain
“The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation, but not the power of speech.” George Bernard Shaw
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” Oscar Wilde
“He was happily married. But his wife wasn’t.” Victor Borge
“You have delighted us long enough.” Jane Austen
“A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” Winston Churchill
“I believe in luck. How else could you explain the success of people you don’t like?” Jean Cocteau
“A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.” Steven Wright
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” William Faulkner
“Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.” Golda Meir
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw
“Why should we take advice on sex from the Pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn’t!” George Bernard Shaw
“I sometimes think that God, in creating man. somewhat overestimated his ability.” Oscar Wilde
“Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” Mark Twain
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Mark Twain
“I have been complimented many times, and they always embarrass me. I always feel they have not said enough.” Mark Twain
“Even if you ever do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?” Clarence Darrow
“Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.” Robert Benchley
“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.” PJ O’Rourke
“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” Hedy Lamar
“What’s on your mind, if you will allow the overstatement?” Fred Allen
“He has no enemies, but he is intensely disliked by his friends.” Oscar Wilde
“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” Clarence Darrow
One day, Hubs and I were “tiffing,” as he calls it, where nothing was really wrong, but everything either of us did inexplicably irritated the other one just the tiniest bit. Finally, he suggested we part ways for the day, before anyone said something really stupid, and let the universe naturally return us to our usual state of marital feng shui. “We’re not feeling it today,” he grinned, “but we’ll be back in love tomorrow.” He was right.
So if you ever call, and I don’t pick up, I’m in my office, laughing at my new Post-It note wall and rechanneling my inner Katie. I’ll call you back tomorrow. I promise.
Oh, and have a nice day!