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.

“So How Good Do You Want to Be?”


“Do you deserve it?

Do you deserve the luck you’ve been handed?  

The place you were born, the education you were given, the job you’ve got?  

Do you deserve your tribe, your customer base, your brand?

Not at all.  ‘Deserve’ is such a loaded word.  

The question shouldn’t be, ‘do you deserve it.’  

I think it should be, ‘what are you going to do with it now that you’ve got it?’”   (Seth Godin)



“Many people are eager to have soothsayers predict their future.  

Fewer are willing to take responsibility for writing their own fortune.  

Your future is a blank sheet of paper waiting for you to create what is to come.”   (Jim Clemmer)



“So how good do you want to be?  All of us want to be good at our jobs, but how good do we really want to be?  Quite good.  Good.  Very good.  The best in the field.  Or the best in the world?  Talent helps, but it won’t take you as far as ambition.  … Everybody wants to be good, but not many are prepared to make the sacrifices it takes to be great.  Most people are looking for a solution, a way to become good.  There is no instant solution, the only way to learn is through experience and mistakes.  You will become whoever you want to be.

You can achieve the unachievable.  Firstly you need to aim beyond what you are capable of.

You must develop a complete disregard for where you abilities end.  Try to do the things that you’re incapable of.  If you think you’re unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim.  If you think you’re incapable of running a company, make that your aim. If you think you’re unable to be on the cover of Time magazine, make it your business to be there.  Make your vision of where you want to be a reality.  Nothing is impossible.”   (Paul Arden, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be)



“Vision without execution is hallucination.”   (Thomas Edison)



“No one’s life should be rooted in fear.  We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are.”   (Dean Koontz, Life Expectancy)

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“Being Brave Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t Scared”


“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird.  It would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.  We are like eggs at present.  And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.  We must be hatched or go bad.”   (C. S. Lewis)



“The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles the sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness—genuine happiness. Happiness is not a limited resource.  And when we devote our energy and time to trivial matters, and choose to stress over things that ultimately are insignificant. From that point, we perpetuate our own sadness, and we lose sight of the things that really make us happy and rationalize our way out of doing amazing things.”   (Christopher Aiff)



“There are moments in your life that make you, that set the course of who you’re gonna be.  Sometimes they’re little, subtle moments.  Sometimes, they’re not.  …  Bottom line is, even if you see ‘em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments.  No one asks for their life to change, not really.  But it does.  So what are we, helpless?  Puppets?  No.  The big moments are gonna come.  You can’t help that.  It’s what you do afterwards that counts.  That’s when you find out who you are.”   (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)



“Sometimes I think that wisdom slips from my mind like drool from the lips of an idiot…

Where’s all this stuff coming from?  Is it any good?  Any good in, you know, the wisdom sense? Who am I to spout this stuff anyway?

Well, here’s the thing.  You too can find yourself shedding wisdom like cat hair if you only allow yourself the liberty of introspection.

Think about what you alone know that no one else does.  That one neat wonderful profound insight.  It is fully yours.  No one else on this planet of about six billion people understands it like you do.

Now, see if you can share it with someone.  Bestow it, a gift of yourself.

Wisdom is like gossip.  Except it’s the good kind.”   (Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)



“Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared.  Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.”   (Neil Gaiman, Coraline)

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“The Question of What We Are”


“The question of what we are can only be answered by ourselves.  We each decide what we are by the life choices we make.  How we were made, who are parents are, where we are from, the color of our skin, who we choose to love, all those things do not define us. Our actions define us, and will keep defining us until even after death.”   (P. C. Cast, Destined)



“If everybody spent enough time worrying about their own goddamn selves, no one would have to worry about anyone else.”   (Don De Grazia, American Skin)



“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”   (Alan Wilson Watts)



“Jesus Christ knew he was God.  So wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy and you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing).  However if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations, at last you found out.’”   (Alan Wilson Watts, The Essential Alan Watts)



“I’ve tried

 to become someone else for a while,

only to discover that he, too, was me.”   (Stephen Dunn)



“What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.”   (Helen Keller)

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“Don’t Exist. Explore. Challenge Yourself.”


“How do you expect to be happy with more if you’re not happy with what you have now?”   (Anonymous)


“How do I get rid of the fear?

Alas, this is the wrong question.

The only way to get rid of the fear is to stop doing things that might not work, to stop putting yourself out there, to stop doing work that matters.

No, the right question is, ‘How do I dance with the fear?’

Fear is not the enemy.  Paralysis is the enemy.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, April 20, 2014)



“Don’t exist.

Get out, explore.

Challenge authority.  Challenge yourself.

Change forever.

Become who you say you always will.  Keep moving.  Don’t stop.  Start the revolution.  Become a freedom fighter.  Become a superhero.  Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you don’t matter.

Are you happy?  Have you ever been happy?  What have you done today to matter?  Did you exist or did you live?  How did you thrive?

Become a chameleon – fit in anywhere.  Be a rock star – stand out everywhere.  Do nothing, do everything.  Forget everything, remember everyone.  Care, don’t just pretend to.  Listen to everyone.  Love everyone and nothing at the same time.  It’s impossible to be everything, but you can’t stop trying to do it all.  

Make this moment your reckoning.  Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath.

Do everything with exact calculation, nothing without meaning.  Do not make careful your words, but make no excuses for what you say.  F*** ‘em all.  Set a goal for everyday and never be tired.”   (Brian Krans, A Constant Suicide)



“When nobody else celebrates you, learn to celebrate yourself.  When nobody else compliments you, then compliment yourself.  It’s not up to other people to keep you encouraged.  It’s up to you.  Encouragement should come from the inside.”   (Joel Osteen)



“Who wants to be normal when we can be special?”   (Phoebe Halliwell, ‘Charmed’)

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“Every Morning We Are Born Again / Live Each Moment in Full”


“Every morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most.”   (Buddha)



“Hello babies.  Welcome to Earth.  It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  It’s round and wet and crowded.  On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here.  There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — G** damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”   (Kurt Vonnegut, ‘God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater’)



“A lifetime is not what’s between

The moments of birth and death.

A lifetime is one moment

between my two little breaths.

The present, the here, the now,

That’s all the life I get,

I live each moment in full,

In kindness, in peace, without regret.”   (Chade Menge)



“My whole teaching consists of two words, meditation and love.  Meditate so that you can feel immense silence, and love so that your life can become a song, a dance, a celebration. You will have to move between the two, and if you can move easily, if you can move without any effort, you have learned the greatest thing in life.”   (Osho, Come, Come, Yet Again Come)



“What holds most people back isn’t the quality of their ideas, but their lack of faith in themselves.  You have to live your life as if you are already where you want to be.”   (Russell Simmons – Do You!)



“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick.  Every time a stick is thrown, you run after it.  Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower.  One only throws a stick at a lion once.”  (Milarepa)

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“Never Surrender Your Hopes and Dreams / You Have Everything You Need”


“Do not limit yourself to your own preconceptions of yourself, but throw yourself out onto a blank page that you haven’t written on yet, and see what you find out about you, see what story unfolds, see what happens!  I always do this, and sometimes it can be very frightening! Too very often I have a blank page with nothing written on it yet!  I feel as though I am a soul with a single covering – my body of skin – and that’s the only thing between me on the inside and the rest of the world!  It’s quite frightening to begin each day on a blank page, forgetting your own preconceptions of yourself and allowing your mind to embrace the new!  It is like meeting yourself for the first time, over and over again!”   (C. JoyBell C.)



Never surrender your hopes and dreams to the fateful limitations others have placed on their own lives.  The vision of your true destiny does not reside within the blinkered outlook of the naysayers and the doom prophets. Judge not by their words, but accept advice based on the evidence of actual results.  Do not be surprised should you find a complete absence of anything mystical or miraculous in the manifested reality of those who are so eager to advise you. Friends and family who suffer the lack of abundance, joy, love, fulfillment and prosperity in their own lives really have no business imposing their self-limiting beliefs on your reality experience.”   (Anthony St. Maarten)



“The right moment.

You might be waiting for things to settle down.  For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little…

The thing is, people who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive.

Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess and during a blizzard.  Whenever.

As long as whenever is now.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, April 13, 2014)



“‘Everything will happen as was written by the Lord,’ replied the prophet. ‘There are moments when tribulations occur in our lives, and we cannot avoid them.  But they are there for some reason.’

‘What reason?’

‘That is a question we cannot answer before, or even during the trials.  Only when we have overcome them do we understand why they were there.’”    (Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain)



“You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.”   (Wayne W. Dyer)

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“Take Hold of Your Own Life”


“Take hold of your own life.

See that the whole existence is celebrating.

These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious.

The rivers and the oceans are wild,

and everywhere there is fun,

everywhere there is joy and delight.

Watch existence,

listen to the existence and become part of it.”   (Osho)



“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything.  You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.”   (Henry A. Kissinger)



“This above all:  to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night of the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”   (William Shakespeare)



“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch.  That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive.  Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”   (Fred Rogers)



“Yeah, about the test…

The test will measure whether you are an informed, engaged, and productive citizen of the world, and it will take place in schools and bars and hospitals and dorm rooms and in places of worship. You will be tested on first dates, in job interviews, while watching football, and while scrolling through your Twitter feed.  The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages, whether you’ll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric, and whether you’ll be able to place your life and your community in a broader context.  The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions that, when taken together, will make your life yours. And everything, everything, will be on it.  …I know, right?”   (John Green)



“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”   (John Wooden)

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“Don’t Analyze Your Life, Celebrate It”


“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)



“If you want your prayers answered, you get off your knees and do the one thing you’re praying someone else will do for you.”   (Shannon L. Alder)



“Someone once told me that life wasn’t fair… and they were right.  But I don’t think that life was ever meant to be fair or perfect.  It’s not the tragedy; it’s how we deal with it.  It’s whether we come out stronger because of it. It’s not about blocking out the pain or hiding from it, it’s about letting the pain shape you into someone better than you were before.”  (Nicole Garber, Coming Apart:  The Disillusioning Art of Shell Formation, Volume I)



“No matter where you are right now, no matter far along you are on your own path, don’t wait to ‘have it all’ to celebrate.  You’re never going to figure it all out.  Make being happy your business, all along the way.  Life can’t be one long, tough haul, with a little party at the end. What good is that?  Life should be punctuated with celebrations and you have to build them into your time because being happy isn’t easy.”   (Bethenny Frankel, A Place of Yes:  10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life)



“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”   (Oprah Winfrey)



“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate.  And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”   (Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet:  Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)

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“Trying to Find Out Who We Are”


“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not.  Make it your strength.  Then it can never be your weakness.  Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”   (George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones)



“O me!  O life! … of the questions of these recurring;

Of the endless trains of the faithless —of cities fill’d with the foolish;

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;

Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here—that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”   (Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass)



“We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are.  Sane or insane.  Saints or sex addicts.  Heroes or victims.  Letting history tell us how good or bad we are.  Letting our past decide our future.  Or we can decide for ourselves.  And maybe it’s our job to invent something better.”   (Chuck Palahniuk, Choke)



“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)



“I mean, we’re all trying to find out who the hell we are, aren’t we?”   (Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity)

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“You Still Have No Idea the Effect You Can Have”


“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”   (Buddha)



“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head.  Always.  All the time. That story makes you what you are.  We build ourselves out of that story.”   (Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind)



“You must learn what life is now, not from me, but from life itself; but, if you will hear an old man’s opinion, I will give it to you.  If you think you can temper yourself into manliness by sitting here over your books, supposing you will grow into it as a matter of course by a rule of necessity, in the same way as your body grows old, it is the very silliest fancy that ever tempted a young man into his ruin.  You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.  Go out into life, you will find your chance there, and only there.”   (James Anthony Froude, The Nemesis of Faith, 1849, commonly misattributed to Henry David Thoreau)



“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”   (Robert T. Kiyosaki)



“We wouldn’t worry nearly as much about what others thought of us if we recognize how seldom they do.”   (Paulo Coelho)



“Know thyself, or at least keep renewing the acquaintance.”   (Robert Brault)



“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”   (Gabriel García Márquez)



”Never mind searching for who you are.  Search for the person you aspire to be.   (Robert Brault)



“I think …. you still have no idea.  The effect you can have.”   (Suzzane Collins, Mockingjay)


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