Catalyst Quotes

Compiled by Alex Pena ~ ‘Catalyst’: “to spark, to ignite, energize, mobilize; something that accelerates a reaction (DDI)." Thought-provoking & motivational quotes and stories for you to read, reflect on and move forward in making creative and positive changes in your life.

“You’re the Author of Your Own Life”


“Those men and women who are always singing the blessings of life are not luckier than we are.  We may think they are if we are feeling sorry for ourselves, particularly if they got a raise at work and we got laid off.  But the only real difference between them and us is vision, and that doesn’t mean eyesight.

We create our world.  Every situation we confront is what we’ve ‘asked’ for.  Those we befriend, and even those we dread, are people we unconsciously need to know.  What we experience moment by moment, reflects the inner world of dreams or fears that consume our minds.  Our lives are personally engraved.  Since that’s how it works, why aren’t we always singing our blessings too?  Why have we chosen these painful situations?

We may find no satisfactory answer for how our lives have unfolded up to now.  They are what they are, and we are responsible, but today is a new day.  Tomorrow is too.  There is time to create a new vision.”   (Daily Meditations for Practicing The Course, Karen Casey)



“Commit to releasing your attachment to low-frequency thoughts and experiences, trust that the Universe loves the crap out of you.  Kick fear in the face, and head bravely into the unknown.

You’re the author of your own life – not your parents, not society, not your partner, not your friends, not the bullies who called you Fatzilla in junior high – and the sooner you decide to write yourself a better script, the sooner you get to live a more awesome life.”   (You Are a Bad Ass, How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, Jen Sincero)



“To change one’s life:  

  • Start immediately,
  • Do it flamboyantly,
  • No exceptions.”   (William James)


“Truth Be Told”


“Truth be told, no matter how logical or intuitive you are, neither of these virtues, no matter how greatly you were endowed, will ever enable you to peer into the future and reasonably predict the twists and turns your life may take, nor the circumstances, fortunes, and friends that might someday be your own.  It is, in fact, impossible.

That’s what imagination is for. 

Thoughts become things.   (signed)    The Universe”   (Notes from The Universe, Mike Dooley, 12.23.15)




Lower the expectations that you’ll find an easy way out.

Raise your expectations for what you can contribute.

Lower your expectations for how effective that next shortcut is going to be. 

Raise your expectations about what technology can do for you if you patiently push it.

Lower your expectations about how an angry fight can help you win something you care about.

Raise your expectations for how much consistent daily action can transform your status quo.

Lower your expectations of finding a fairy godmother.

But raise them about the power of concrete goals that keep you from hiding.

Level up.  Everything I write about hinges on the idea that we are capable beings. Capable of making decisions, of taking responsibility, of raising and lowering our expectations.

As we move into a new year, today’s a perfect day (in many countries, a legal holiday) dedicated to thinking about leveling up, about what it means to make new choices about what we will do next.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, 01.01.16)



“Keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it.  Lord let your laughter ring forth.  Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cat, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.  And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”   (Molly Ivins)



“Herzog’s Rules

  1. Be on time.
  2. Bust your butt.
  3. Play smart.
  4. Have some laughs while you’re at it.”   (Whitey Herzog, Baseball Manager)



“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”   (Katherine Hepburn)


“And Therein Lies Their Test / A Test of Perceptions”


“Here we are in a month named after the Roman god Janus, an appropriate personification of the start of a new year.  This particular Roman god had two faces so that he could look ahead toward the future and back at the past at the same time.  As we get rid of an old year and look forward to a new one, we all try to be a little like Janus.  We know through experience what we did wrong and what we did right, and hope to do better this year.

Some people make ambitious new year’s resolutions:  others just take a deep breath and hope for the best.”   (What’s in a Name, Complete Speaker’s Almanac)



“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”   (Joseph Campbell)



“Courageous is the soul who adventures into time and space to learn of their divinity.  For while they cannot lose, they can think they have, and the loss will seem intolerable.  And while they cannot fail, they can think they have, and the pain will seem unbearable.  And while they cannot ever be less than they truly are – powerful, eternal, and loved – they can think they are, and all hope will seem lost.

And therein lies their test.  A test of perceptions: of what to focus on, of what to believe in, in spite of appearances.

YOU are divine.    (signed)    The Universe.”     (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley,  12.28.15)



“I think there’s an invisible principle of living too.  If we believe we’re guided through every step of our lives, we are.  It’s a lovely sight, watching it work.”   (Richard Bach)


2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

“Possibility is Where You Decide it Is”


“Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child.

Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example.

All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined—those dead, those living, those generations yet to come—that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands. Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength—to the very survival of the human tapestry. Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day.”   (Dean Koontz, From the Corner of His Eye)



“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts.  Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossible, the won’ts.  Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me … anything can happen child.  Anything can  be.”   (Shel Silverstein)



“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won.  It exists..  it is real..  it is possible..  it’s yours.”   (Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged)



“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.”   (Bill Watterson)



“Two hundred years ago, we had great-great-greats who lived in the dark, without much in the way of healthcare, commerce or opportunity.

Today, we complain that the MRI was chilly, or that the wifi on the transatlantic plane wasn’t fast enough or that there’s nothing new going on at the mall.

It’s human nature to recalibrate.  But maybe it’s worth fighting that off, for an hour or even a day.

The world around us is uneven, unfair and yes, absolutely, over-the-top amazing. 

Boring is an attitude, not the truth.

Possibility is where you decide it is.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, 12.19.15)



“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”   (Thomas Edison)


“Nothing That’s Worthwhile is Ever Easy”

“Love is the reason you were born.”  
(Dorothy Fields)



“Just really, really believe in what you’re trying to do.  Don’t let people alter that.  Let people advise you and lead you down paths to make smart business decisions.  But trust your instinct and trust that overwhelming drive that made you put all your dreams and everything on the line.”   (Luke Bryan)



“But the struggles make you stronger and the changes make you wise.  And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.”    (Gary Allen)



“If one suffers we all suffer.  Togetherness is strength.  Courage.”   (Jean-Bertrand Aristide)



“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.  Remember that.”   (Nicholas Sparks)



“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”   (Neil Gaiman)



“Ali on how he’d like to be remembered:  “One who took a few cups of love, one teaspoon of patience, one tablespoon of generosity, one pint of kindness.  Then you mix it up and stir it well.  Then you spread it over the span of a lifetime and you served it to each and every deserving person you met.”   (Unknown)


“You’re Only Given One Little Spark of Madness”


“Life is not what it’s supposed to be.  It’s what it is.  The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”   (Virginia Satir)



“You’re only given one little spark of madness.  You mustn’t lose it.”   (Robin Williams)



“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be.  I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.”   (F. Scott Fitzgerald)



“Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs.  Our faith gives us knowledge of something much better:  that we can become oak trees.”   (E. F. Schumacher)



“Dream big and dare to fail.”   (Norman Vaughan)



“Trust yourself.  You know more than you think you do.”   (Benjamin Spock)


“Your Soul is Oftentimes a Battlefield”


“This is the beginning of a new day.

God has given me this day to use as I will.

I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it.

I want it to be gain and not loss; good and not evil; success and not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I have paid for it.”   (Unknown Author)



“Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.”   (Kahlil Gibran)



“Essentially there are two actions in life:  Performance and Excuses.

Make a decision as to which you will accept from yourself.”   (Stephen Brown)



“What is in one is in the whole, and therefore, ultimately, each soul is responsible for the whole world.”   (‘Thoughts from the Seat of Soul’, Gary Zukav)



“We are what we believe we are.”   (C.S. Lewis)


“Accept Who You Are”

“On feeling like a failure …

Feeling like a failure has little correlation with actually failing.

There are people who have failed more times than you and I can count, who are happily continuing in their work.

There are others who have achieved more than most of us can imagine, who go to work each day feeling inadequate, behind, and yes, like failures and frauds.

These are not cases of extraordinary outliers.  In fact, external data is almost useless in figuring out whether or not someone is going to adopt the narrative of being a failure.

Failure (as seen from the outside) is an event. It’s a moment when the spec isn’t met, when a project isn’t completed as planned.

Feelings, on the other hand, are often persistent, and they are based on stories.  Stories we tell ourselves as much as stories the world tells us. 

As a result, if you want to have a feeling, you’ll have it.  If you want to seek a thread to ravel, you will, you’ll pull at it and focus on it until, in fact, you’re proven right, you are a failure.

Here’s the essential first step: Stop engaging with the false theory that the best way to stop feeling like a failure is to succeed.

Thinking of one’s self as a failure is not the same as failing.  And thus, succeeding (on this particular task) is not the antidote.  In fact, if you act on this misconception, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of new evidence that you are, in fact, correct in your feelings, because you will ignore the wins and remind yourself daily of the losses.

Instead, begin with the idea that the best way to deal with a feeling is to realize that it’s yours.”   (Seth’s Blog, Seth Godin, 10.2.15)



You cannot live your life looking at yourself from someone else’s point of view.”   (Penelope Cruz)



“Ironically, had it not been for every disappointment, setback, and detour in the road of your life, you wouldn’t have come so far.

Nice strategy.

Of course, had you not been everywhere you’ve been, you couldn’t now go everywhere you will go.

Love, love –     (signed)  The Universe.”   (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, 6.22.15)



“Accept who you are and revel in it.”   (Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie)


“I Will Spark the Brain That Will Change the World”


“Anything worth shouting about is worth shouting into the wind.

Because if enough people care, often enough, the word spreads, the standards change, the wind dies down. If enough people care, the culture changes.

It’s easy to persuade ourselves that the right time to make change happen is when it’s time. But that’s never true. The right time to make it happen is before it’s time. Because this is what ‘making’ means.

The most devastating thing we can learn about our power is how much of it we have. How much change we could make if we would only speak up first, not last. How much influence we can have if we’re willing to to look someone in the eye and say, “yes.” Or, “this is our problem, too.” Or, “this must stop.”

Yes, there’s wind, there’s always been wind. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop shouting.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, September 14, 2014)



“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it.  The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”   (Franz Kafka, The Trial)



When the wind of change blows, some build walls while others build windmills.”   (Chinese Proverb)



“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”   (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life:  What on Earth Am I Here For?


“I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”   (Tupac Shakur)



“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  (Mahatma Gandhi)


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