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.

“Walk Through the Fire”


“The trolls inside.

The worst troll is in your head.

Internet trolls are the commenters begging for a fight, the anonymous critics eager to tear you down, the hateful packs of roving evil dwarves, out for amusement.

But the one in your head, that voice of insecurity and self-criticism, that’s the one you need to be the most vigilant about.

Do not feed the troll.

Do not reason with the troll.

Do not argue with the troll.

Most of all, don’t litigate.  Don’t make your case, call your witnesses, prove you are right. Because the troll knows how to sway a jury even better than you do.

Get off the troll train.  Turn your back, walk away, ship the work.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, 2.22.15)



“Imperfection also makes growth possible.  Like it or not, the main way we learn is by falling flat on our face, just as we did when we first learned to walk.  Our parents may tell us a million times not to touch that hot stove, but it’s only after we actually burn ourselves that we really understand why it’s not such a great idea.  The learning opportunities provided by failure can actually help us to achieve our dreams.  In the words of restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, ‘I learned more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes.’  Yes, failure is frustrating.  But it’s also temporary and eventually yields wisdom.  We can think of failure as part of life’s apprenticeship.  If we were perfect and had all the answers, we’d never get to ask questions, and we wouldn’t be able to discover anything new.”   (Kristen Neff, Self-Compassion)



“The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, became a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.”   (Thomas Carlyle)



“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”   (Charles Bukowski)


“Choose Your Glasses Very Carefully; Attitude is Everything”


“A few years ago I ran into an old acquaintance that I hadn’t seen for awhile.  Our short conversation confirmed just why I hadn’t seen him in awhile – and wouldn’t see him again soon if I could help it.  I started off with, “Hey Phil. How’s it going?”  His response was, “Oh, you know; same crap, different day.”  His expletive-laced language was much spicier than that, but you get the picture.   He then proceeded to proudly pile up the most recent crap in his life and invited me to wallow in it with him. 

Our world does have an abundance of crap.  There’s lots of injustice, inequality, and unfairness.  The crap that hits the fan in life is often not evenly distributed.  But we get to decide whether to stand in it or not.  We decide if we want today to be crappy or happy.  If we walk around with our “crap glasses” on, we’ll see lots of it.  The more crap we look for, the more crap we see.  The more crap we see, the more we look for.  My friend, fellow performance improvement author/speaker, and psychologist, Peter Jensen calls this ‘opticalrectumitis,’ which he loosely translates as ‘having a shi…(crappy) outlook on life.’”   (Jim Clemmer)



“My father-in-law uses an expression, ‘Attitude is everything.’  It’s his non-confrontational way of saying, ‘Stop complaining.’  When my father-in-law says, ‘Attitude is everything,’ it isn’t just an admonition — it’s a prescription.  Right now, we are experiencing a massive explosion of creativity  (and change) … . 

Businesses (and businesspeople) that can find the excitement in that have a fighting chance of surviving the transition and thriving.  Those who choose to fight the future and pretend the old ways are coming back, well, you may be the subject of your own TV series one day.  But it’s likely to be on the History Channel.”   (Robert Safian, Fast Company Magazine)



“I used to say, “I sure hope things will change.

Then I learned that the only way things are going to change for me is when I change.”    (Jim Rohn)


“Life is Only a Reflection of Whatever You Say”


“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible.  To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”   (Thomas Moore)



“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.  (signed)  The Universe.” (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, 9.1.14)



“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all of your broken pieces will stick back together.”   (Unknown Author)



“Some people say life is hard.  It is not.

Some people say it’s easy.  It is not.

Some say it’s lonely, tricky, or a test.  It is not. 

Life is only a reflection of whatever you say. 

What say you?

Pass it on.   (signed)  The Universe.”  (Notes from The Universe, Mike Dooley, January 28, 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)



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



“And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.”   (Shanti)



“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”   (George Eliot)


“Be Brave Enough”


“The Road Not Taken”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”   (Robert Frost)



“Have you ever noticed how ‘What the hell’ is always the right decision to make?”   (Terry Johnson, Insignificance)



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



“Be brave enough to live life creatively.”   (Alan Alda)


“You Can Decide What You Want”


“Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny.”   (Paul Tillich)


“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”   (Walt Disney)


“Be somebody nobody thought you could be.”   (William Chapman)


“It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action. The world does not care what you intend, how committed you are, how you feel or what you think, and certainly it has no interest in what you want and don’t want. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act.”   (Werner Erhard)


“Accepting responsibility for your life means understanding that YOU are responsible for creating the life you want to live.  If you don’t do it, who else will?  This is a tremendously empowering realization, or at least it was for me. When I realized I was responsible for myself, I stopped making excuses and I stopped waiting for others to help me.  Instead, I started changing my life.  I’ll say it again:  YOU can decide what you want your life to be about.”   (Ryan Murdock)


“What’s the good of living if you don’t try a few things?”   (Charles M. Shulz) 


“Trust Me”


“We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.”  (Anaїs Nin)



“Those of us who know not the secret of properly regulating our own existence on this tumultuous sea of foolish troubles which we call life are constantly in a state of misery while vainly trying to appear happy and contented.  We stagger in the attempt to keep our moral equilibrium, and see forerunners of the tempest in every cloud that floats on the horizon.  Yet there is joy and beauty in the roll of billows as they sweep outward toward eternity.  Why not enter into their spirit.”   (The Book of Tea, Okakura Kakuzō)



“You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. nd that in my view is a serious illness.  God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?”   (Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die)



“When it comes to being gentle, start with yourself.  Don’t get upset with your imperfections.  Being disappointed by failure is understandable, but it shouldn’t turn into bitterness or spite directed at yourself.  It’s a great mistake because it leads nowhere – to get angry because you are angry; upset at being upset; disappointed because you are disappointed.”  (St. Frances de Sales)



“For as long as a dream lives inside of you, there’s a plan for its time in space.  Trust me.   (signed) The Universe.”   (Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley, May 20, 2013)



“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”   (William Shakespeare)


“You Can Do This”


“It occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are.  There were tricks we did with eggs, as children, to show how they were, in reality, tiny load – bearing marble halls; while the beat of the wings of a butterfly in the right place, we are told, can create a hurricane across an ocean.  Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way.  Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable difficult to kill.”   (Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman)



The Problem with Problems -

We have limits.  There are challenges, limited resources, people or organizations working against you.  Your knee hurts, the boss is a jerk, the systems are down.

We have opportunities.  There are opportunities, new sources of leverage and ideas just waiting to be embraced.  You can share something, give something, make something better. There are always limits, and there are always opportunities.  The ones we rehearse and focus on are the ones that shape our attitude and our actions.  How many times a day do you think about or announce the limits you face, the people who cannot be trusted, the problems that are weighing you down?

The problem with problems is that they always keep us from focusing on opportunities, on a chance to contribute and to make something better.  Focus on our opportunities doesn’t mean the problems don’t exist, it merely means that we are far more likely to do something that matters.

Gratitude and opportunity create more of the same.”   (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog, 11.27.14)



“I don’t believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want.”    (George B. Shaw)



“The main reason someone moves mountains, wins friends, influences people, amasses a fortune, or anything else, Alex … is because they thought they would.

You can do this.  Shall we ‘Veni, Vedi, Vici!’”   (Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe)



“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”   (Unknown Author)


“Do More Than Dream” / “Be Fearless


“We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world.  We give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible, to the gravity that glues us to an earth that would otherwise send us spinning off into space, or the atoms of which we are made and on whose stability we fundamentally depend.  Except for children (who don’t know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is; where the cosmos came from, or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow back backward and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know.  There are even children, and I have met some of them, who want to know what a black hole looks like; what is the smallest piece of matter; why we remember the past and not the future; how it, if there was chaos early, that there is, apparently, order today; and why there is a universe.”   (Carl Sagan)



“Do more than belong:  participate.  Do more than care:  help.  Do more than believe:  practice.  Do more than be fair:  be kind.  Do more than forgive:  forget.  Do more than dream: work.”   (William A. Ward)



“You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”   (Wayne W. Dyer)



“It is not very complicated.  Each person has inside the individual a basic decency and goodness.  If he or she listens to it and acts on it, one is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most.  But it takes courage.”   (Pablo Casals)



“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.”   (Rabindranath Tagore)


“Make This Christmas Thing Last”

Once again, I present to you the song, “Old City Bar” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Every time I hear it, I get a bit teary-eyed and I am sure you will also. As you read the lyrics below, the words will hit you hard but try to listen to the song and get the full effect of it.  You can then understand that miracles do happen and that we all have goodness in our hearts.  After the video, is a quote that I find useful during the holiday period.    –  Alex Pena






“Here are a few suggestions for special gifts: a firm handshake to a shaky soul, a kind word to a lonely person, a warm smile to the disheartened, a sincere concern for someone troubled, a feeling of compassion for the neglected, a comforting thought for the bereaved, a respect for the dignity of others, a defense of the rights of individuals, a word of witness to help a seeking soul, a Merry Christmas to all.” (Source Unknown)

“A Chapter Of Life / Roll the Dice”


“A Chapter of Life

Life is like a book with many different chapters.

Some tell of tragedy, others of triumph.  Some chapters are dull and ordinary, others intense and exciting.

The key to being a success in life is to never stop on a difficult page, to never quit on a tough chapter.

Champions have the courage to keep turning the pages because they know a better chapter lies ahead.”   (Author Unknown)



“Listening to your heart, finding out who you are, is not simple.  It takes time for the chatter to quiet down.  In the silence of ‘not doing’ we begin to know what we feel.  If we listen and hear what is being offered, then anything in life can be our guide.  Listen. “   (Found on a Poster, Unknown Author)



Roll the Dice

if you’re going to try, go all the


otherwise, don’t even start.


if you’re going to try, go all the


this could mean losing girlfriends,

wives, relatives, jobs and

maybe your mind

go all the way.

it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.

it could mean freezing on a

park bench.

it could mean jail,

it could mean derision,



isolation is the gift,

all the others are a test of your

endurance, of

how much you really want to

do it.

and you’ll do it

despite rejection and the worst odds

and it will be better than

anything else

you can imagine.


if you’re going to try,

go all the way.

there is no other feeling like


you will be alone with the gods

and the nights will flame with


do it, do it, do it.

do it.


all the way

all the way.


you will ride life straight to

perfect laughter, its

the only good fight

there is.”    (Charles Bukowski)



“You know you’re on the right path when your path dissolves right in front of you and you start trusting yourself completely.”   (Jeff Foster)



“You must act as if it is impossible to fail.”   (Ashanti Proverb)


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