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.

“Dogs, Angels and Heaven”

“I heard somebody define heaven once,” she said, looking at Pearl, “as a place where, when you get there, all the dogs you ever loved run to greet you.”   (Robert B. Parker)



“Dogs are minor angels, and I don’t mean that facetiously.  They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, et cetera.  If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special.  If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic.  But because it’s “only” a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more.  However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being?  Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day — we’re just so used to them that we pay no attention.”   (Jonathan Carroll)



“Heaven goes by favor.  If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”   (Mark Twain)



“My grandfather used to say that if God did not allow a man to be reunited with his dogs in the next life He was no God worth worshipping; that if a dog did not have a soul, then nothing had.”  (John Connolly, The Wrath of Angels:  A Charlie Parker Thriller)



“Dogs and angels are not very far apart.”   (Charles Bukowski)



“Having a dog or cat will open your heart.  Reading a book will open your mind.  Having both a pet & a book … absolute heaven.”   (Mark Rubinstein)


“The Biggest Cause of Excellence is the Story We Tell Ourselves”


“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.  Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”   (Franklin D. Roosevelt)



“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”   (William Arthur Ward)



“One of the critical decisions of every career:

‘Well, there’s plenty more to do, I’ll do the least I can here and then move on to the next one.’


‘I only get to do this one, once.  So I’ll do it as though it’s the last chance I’ll ever have to do this work, to please this customer, to ring this bell.’

As little as possible.  Or as much.  The system might push you to become mediocre, but that very same system rewards excellence.  The perception that the minimum is viable is built deep into our notion of productivity, but it turns out that the maximum is valuable indeed. The biggest cause of excellence is the story we tell ourselves about our work. 

It’s a choice, a commitment and a lifelong practice.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, June 17, 2015)



“What is success?  It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”   (Paulo Coelho)



“Sure, I used to believe in accidents, coincidences, and chance… until one memorable day, when I stared out at the world from your very eyes, listened to it with your very ears, felt it with your very heart, all while thinking your very thoughts, and all at once I realized:   You had become everything I’d ever dreamed you’d be.   Nice going,   (signed)   The Universe.”   (Notes from The Universe, Mike Dooley, June 12, 2015)


“Who Am I?”


“There are something like 18 billion cells in the brain alone.  There are no two brains alike; there are no two hands alike; there are no two human beings alike.  You can take your instructions and your guidance from others, but you must find your own path.”   (Joseph Campbell)



“The year you were born marks only your entry into the world.  Other years where you prove your worth, they are the ones worth celebrating.”   (Jarod Kintz)



“In truth, the only restrictions on our capacity to astonish ourselves and each other are imposed by our own minds.”   (David Blaine)



“Sometimes your light shines so bright that it blinds people from seeing who you really are.”   (Shannon L. Alder)



“Life is a valuable and unique opportunity

to discover who you are.

But it seems as soon as you near

answering that age-old question,

something unexpected always happens

to alter your course.

And who it is you thought you were

suddenly changes.


Then comes the frustrating realization

that no matter how long life endures,

no matter how many experiences

are muddled through in this existence,

you may never really be able

to answer the question…..

Who am I? 

Because the answer, like the seasons,

constantly, subtly, inevitably changes.

And who it is you are today,

is not the same person you will be tomorrow.”   (Richelle E. Goodrich, Eena, The Dawn and Rescue)


“There is One Rule”

“There is one rule recognized in some form or other within every major human culture I have been able to investigate … the Golden Rule:  ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others the way you would want to be treated in their place.’

This is probably the most famous moral rule ever promulgated. And it’s found in culture after culture, every time and place. It’s expressed in many forms, but the main thrust is remarkably the same. Here are a few examples:

Confucianism: ‘Do not do unto others what you would not want them to do unto you.’

Buddhism: ‘Seek for others the happiness you desire for yourself. Hurt not others with that which pains you.’

Hinduism: ‘All your duties are included in this: Do nothing to others that would pain you if it were done to you.’

Judaism: ‘That which is hurtful to you, do not do to your fellow man.’

Islam: ‘Let none of you treat his brother in a way he himself would not like to be treated. No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.’

Taoism: ‘View your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.’

Christianity: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’   (If Aristotle Ran General Motors, Tom Morris)

“Shine Your Little Heart Out”

“In the short run, there are two types of people who live in darkness:  those who are desperate to emerge and those who are desperate to stay.

When you finally realize that part of the reason you chose this lifetime was to shine your light for the first type, you’ll stop worrying about what the second type thinks of you.  Shine your little heart out.   (signed)     The Universe”   (Notes from the Universe, Tom Dooley, 5.23.14)



“Three of the four most important lessons I ever learned in life came from my stepdad:

  • The only person you can count on in life is yourself.
  • You can’t be happy with someone else until you’re happy with yourself.
  • Don’t lie and don’t break your word.

*Note:  The fourth lesson came from my Aunt Jen, who taught me, ‘If you’re interested in a girl, always meet her mom because all girls end up eventually turning into their moms, with no exceptions.’”    (Bill Simmons)



“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”   (Oprah Winfrey)



“I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead:  What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”    (Tim Ferriss)



“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”   (Henry C. Link)



“’It is very hard to be brave,’ said Piglet, sniffing slightly, ‘when you’re only a Very Small Animal.’
Rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said:  ‘It is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us.’”  
(Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Piglet)


“You Can Only Whine for So Long”

“You can only whine for so long.  Then you need to get your life back.”   (Marya Hornbacher)



“Use your mistakes to focus.  They draw attention to an area that needs more attention, so give it that attention.  Challenge yourself to do better next time.  Instead of saying, ‘I’m so bad at this,’ say ‘I’m better than this.’  That’s how you use mistakes to your advantage. 

Forgive yourself easily, but remember the lessons you learn from mistakes.  You’ve earned them after all.”   (Tynan, Superhuman by Habit)



“It’s all connected.  You can’t really define the right action until you know the outcome, and your outcome is disconnected from reality if you’re not clear about what you need to do physically to make it happen.  You can get at it from either direction, and you must, to get things done.

As an expert in whole-brained learning and good friend of mine, Steven Snyder, put it, ‘There are only two problems in life: (1) you know what you want, and you don’t know how to get it; and/or (2) you don’t know what you want.’  If that’s true (and I think it is) then there are only two solutions:

Make it up.

Make it happen.”   (David Allen, Getting Things Done)



“Straight from the fabled Akashic Records …

Time and Space is where you chase things you pretend you don’t have – love, friends, and abundance – while worrying about things you pretend you do have – problems, challenges, and issues.  Until one day, you happen to notice the prophetic powers of pretending.

In case that helps any.  Pretend it!”   (signed)  The Universe.”   (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, 3.31.14)


“The New 10 Commandments:

  1. Laugh
  2. Read
  3. Say please.
  4. Floss
  5. Doubt
  6. Exercise
  7. Learn
  8. Don’t hate.
  9. Cut the bullshit.
  10. Chill”   (Unknown Author)


“The Little Space Within the Heart …”

“I used to analyze myself down to the last thread, used to compare myself with others, recalled all the smallest glances, smiles and words of those to whom I’d tried to be frank, interpreted everything in a bad light, laughed viciously at my attempts ‘to be like the rest’ –and suddenly, in the midst of my laughing, I’d give way to sadness, fall into ludicrous despondency and once again start the whole process all over again – in short, I went round and round like a squirrel on a wheel.”   (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment)


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.     (signed)      The Universe    (Notes from The Universe, Mike Dooley, 5.11.15)



“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.  That’s what this storm’s all about”   (Haruki Murakami)



“The truth is always an abyss.  One must — as in a swimming pool — dare to dive from the quivering springboard of trivial everyday experience and sink into the depths, in order to later rise again — laughing and fighting for breath — to the now doubly illuminated surface of things.”   (Alan Watts)


“The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe.  The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars.  Fire and lightning and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not.”   (The Upanishads)


“Stop Trying to Find the Forest and Just Enjoy the Trees”

“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”   (Ram Dass)



“Are you certain that you’re trapped?

To be actually trapped is to have no options, no choices, no possible outcomes other than the one you fear.

Most of the time, when we think we’re trapped, we’re actually unhappy with the short-term consequences of making a choice.  Make the choice, own the outcome and you can start in a new place.

This is often frightening and painful, which is one reason it might be easier to pretend that we’re actually trapped.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, May 4, 2015)



“We have all been hypnotized into thinking that we are smaller than we are.  Just as an undersized flowerpot keeps a mighty tree root-bound or a little fishbowl keeps goldfish tiny, we have adapted, adjusted, and accommodate to a Lilliputian life.  But place the same tree in an open field or the fish in a lake, and they will grow to hundreds of times their size.  Unlike the tree or goldfish, you are not dependent on someone else to move you.  You have the power to move yourself.  You can step into a broader domain and grown to your full potential.”   (Alan Cohen, Why Your Life Sucks)



“Make it up.  Make it happen.

It’s all connected.  You can’t really define the right action until you know the outcome, and your outcome is disconnected from reality if you’re not clear about what you need to do physically to make it happen.  You can get at it from either direction, and you must, to get things done.

As an expert in whole-brained learning and good friend of mine, Steven Snyder, put it, ‘There are only two problems in life:  (1)  you know what you want, and you don’t know how to get it; and/or (2)  you don’t know what you want.”  If that’s true (and I think it is) then there are only two solutions:  Make it up.  Make it happen.”   (David Allen, Getting Things Done)


So often, we define ourselves by the pain in our lives.  It is our way of attracting the attention of the universe.  ‘Look at me.  Look at what the world has done.’  But seldom do we take the time to realize that we are in control of that pain, as much as we are in control of surviving it.  They are one and the same.”   (Ronald Andrés Moore)



“It’s messing people up, this social pressure to ‘find your passion’ and ‘know what it is you want to do’.  It’s perfectly fine to just live your moments fully, and marvel as many small and large passions, many small and large purposes enter and leave your life.  For many people there is no realization, no bliss to follow, no discovery of your life’s purpose.  This isn’t sad, it’s just the way things are.  Stop trying to find the forest and just enjoy the trees.”   (Sally Coulter)


‘I’m Not the Kind of Person Who …’


‘I’m not the kind of person who …’

“We box ourselves in long before the outside world ever gets a chance.

‘I’m not the kind of person who watches movies like that.’

‘I’m not the kind of person who proposes new ideas.’

‘I’m not the kind of person who reads books for fun.’

‘I’m not the kind of person who apologizes.’

‘I’m not the kind of person who gets a promotion.’

‘I’m not the kind of person who says ‘follow me’.’

‘I’m not the kind of person who’ …    is up to you.”   (Seth’s Blog, Seth Godin, 4.14.15)



“The thing that most forget while dreamily looking off into the horizon for the ship of their dreams is that such ships never sail in but are actually built beneath their very feet.  Get my drift?  …    (signed)  The Universe”   (Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe, 4.14.15)



“Buddha left a road map,

Jesus left a road map,

Krishna left a road map,

Rand McNally left a road map. 

But you still have to travel the road yourself.”   (Stephen Levine)



“Don’t spend your precious time asking ‘Why isn’t the world a better place?’

It will only be time wasted.

The question to ask is ‘How can I make it better?’ 

To that there is an answer.”   (Leo Buscaglia)



“Things are only impossible until they’re not.”   (Jean-Luc Picard, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’)

“You Have to Believe”


“Shake it Off, Stomp it Down, Step Up

A story is told of a farmer whose mule fell into an abandoned well.  After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get the mule out of the well, the farmer decided it was a hopeless situation.  With sadness, the farmer figured that the only humane thing to do would be to haul truckloads of dirt to bury the old mule, while filling in the dangerous well, at the same time.

He backed up the truck, and began to shovel in the dirt.  The old mule, however, went berserk when the first load of dirt hit its back.  That old mule started shaking off the dirt, stomping it down and stepping up a bit.  Shovel-full after shovel-full caused the mule to shake off the dirt and firmly stomp it down.

Truckload after truckload, the old mule repeated the same process.  It shook off the dirt, stomped it down and stepped up a bit.  Little by little, that mule was lifting itself out of the hole.

No matter how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought off panic when it realized that no matter how much was dumped on its back all it had to do was shake it off, stomp it down and step up.  And, guess what?  It wasn’t too long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, triumphantly stepped out of the well.

Have you ever noticed that there are different ways people have of dealing with the problems life dumps on them?  If we respond to our problems positively, and refuse to panic, or fall further into bitterness and despair, the adversities that come along to bury us usually contain within them the potential to benefit and bless us!  Rather than burying us, the adversities and criticisms can make us better, lifting us up, bit by bit.”   (Bill Denton)



“You say, it’s dark.  And in truth, I did place a cloud before your sun.  but do you not see how the edges of the cloud are already glowing and turning light.”   (Nietzsche)



“There are two primary choices in life:  to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”   (Denis Waitley)



“You have to believe.

Otherwise, it will never happen.”   (Neil Gaiman, Stardust)


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