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 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)


“True Sportsmanship is Always Taking the High Road”

In the past few days, a video has gone viral about two high school football players in San Antonio, Texas, who allegedly targeted a football referee during the game and knocked him down with a hard hit and then ‘speared’ him while on the ground.  The actions of the football players are troubling for many people in and out of sports but more so for the citizens of San Antonio, where I live.  Please do not judge the citizens of this great city by the action of a couple of football players.  In light of this incident, I’d like to share the following quotes.  Even though some of the quotes are not related to football, the quotes fit in with the spirit of sportsmanship.  (Alex Pena)




“Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.”   (Gary Gygax)



“True sportsmanship is…

  • Knowing that you need your opponent because without him or her, there is no game.
  • Acknowledging that your opponent holds the same deep-rooted aspirations and expectations as you.
  • Knowing that, win or lose, you will walk off the course with pride.
  • Always taking the high road.
  • And always, always, always being a good sport.”  (Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book)



“It is all fun and games until a sore loser loses or someone accuses someone of cheating.”   (R. K. Cowles)



“In Brohier’s eyes, violence was not merely the last refuge of the incompetent.  It was the gloating revenge of the sore loser.”    (Arthur C. Clarke, The Trigger)



“A lot of young players don’t really know much about the history of the game and a lot of them are missing out on what the game is all about, especially the whole concept of sportsmanship and teamwork.”   (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)



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



“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”   (Epictetus)


“Live the Truths / Be in the Play”


“This is me today, but take heed; it is not the same me as yesterday, and it will not be the same me tomorrow.”   (Richelle E. Goodrich)



“What good does it do knowing approximately where the treasure lies, yet never digging?  Having a bank account with millions in it, but never writing a check?  Or discovering the fountain of youth, but never drinking a drop?

You must live the truths you discover, break your old rules, defy logic, be the change.  Dig, write the check, and drink eternally, one little step after another.

There’s no other way.

Of course, you can ask for help.    (signed)   The Universe.”   (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, June 23, 2015)



“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them.”   (Henry David Thoreau)



“Find meaning.  Distinguish melancholy from sadness.  Go out for a walk.  It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world.  It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter.  Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self.  Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world.  But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”   (Albert Camus)



“Be like the sun for grace and mercy.

Be like the night to cover others’ faults.

Be like running water for generosity.

Be like death for rage and anger.

Be like the earth for modesty.

Appear as you are. 

Be as you appear.”   (Rumi)



“The optimist doesn’t know whether life is a comedy or a tragedy – he’s just tickled silly to be in the play.”   (Robert Brault)


“Be Not the Slave of Your Own Past”


“Sometimes, I sit alone under the stars

and think of the galaxies inside my

heart, and truly wonder if anyone will

ever want to make sense of all that

I am.”   (Testy McTesterson)



“You do not wake up one morning a bad person.  It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest.”   (Robert Brault, Round Up the Usual Subjects)



“Is life so wretched?  Isn’t it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddled?  You are the one who must grow up.”   (Dag Hammarskjold)



“Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.”   (Ralph Waldo Emerson)



“We are constantly invited to be who we are.”   (Henry David Thoreau)



“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”   (Confucius, Sayings of Confucius)



“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   (George Bernard Shaw)


“Let It Be Something Good”


“It’s your choice.

Each morning, I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today:  you can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.  I choose to be in a good mood.

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it.  I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life.  I choose the positive side of life. 

Life is all about choices.  When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.  You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people will affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood.  The bottom line:

It’s your choice how you live Life.”   (Jerry, a friend of Harvey MacKay, ‘Bottom Line: Your Choice How to Live’)



“This is the beginning of a new day.  You have been given this day to use as you will.  You can waste it or use it for good.  What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.  When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind … let it be something good.”   (Author Unknown)



“When it comes to the words you choose, whether in your mind or amongst friends, let them be of what you like and love.  What you care about and cherish.  What makes you happy.  What gives you wings.  What makes you dream.

And very little else.

You make me happy,

  (signed)    The Universe”   (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, 8.20.15)



“When you understand that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realize that with just a few well-chosen words you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realize just how simple life is, how powerful you are, and that love is the key.”   (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, 9.1.14)



“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.  Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t.  And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would.  You see?”   (Alice in Wonderland)


“It’s Your Choice – You Always Choose the Thoughts”


“I like to pretend that everything’s alright.  Because when everybody else thinks you’re fine, sometimes you forget for a while that you’re not.”   (Unknown Author)



“Know that you can always choose the thoughts you allow in your mind, so make the effort to replace disempowering, weakening thoughts with those of a higher spiritual frequency.  It is your choice!”   (Dr. Wayne Dyer)



“Are you scared?  Or are you not ready?  There is a difference.”   (Unique Quietness)



“Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.”   (Brian Tracy)



“You Matter.

When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.

When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.

When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.

When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.

When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.

When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.

When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.

When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.

When you inspire a Nobel Prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.

When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.

And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.”   (Seth’s Blog, Seth Godin, June 2009)


“Today is the Day”


“There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide.  No matter what people call you, you are just who you are.  Keep to this truth.  You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life.  We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone.  No one can help us, not even the Buddha.  So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?”   (Dalai Lama)



“Stop.  Just stop it.  Today is the day.  The moment is this one.  Ignore the noise and people around you.  Ignore the phone.  Ignore black coffee.  Ignore the clock.  The time to start being the person you always wanted to be is right now.”   (I Wrote This For You:  The Pause)



If you want to be extraordinary, the first thing you have to do is stop being ordinary.”   (Monday Morning Mentoring, David Cottrell)



“People need to be encouraged.  People need to be reminded of how wonderful they are.  People need to be believed in — told that they are brave and smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams they dream and more.  Remind each other of this.”   (Stacey Jean Speer)



“Live without pretending, love without depending, listen without defending, speak without offending.”   (Drake)



“The minute you begin to do what you really want to do, it’s really a different kind of life.”   (Buckminster Fuller)


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