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.

Archive for the category “Change”

“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)


“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)


“Live With Your Hands Unfolded”


“Fourth-grader Aiden Sykes had a few questions for his dad, Albert.  … he was curious to know what his father’s dreams were for him.

‘My dream is for you to live out your dreams,’ Albert told him.  ‘There’s an old proverb that talks about when children are born, children come out with their fists closed because that’s where they keep all their gifts.  And as you grow, your hands learn to unfold, because you’re learning to release your gifts to the world.

‘And so, for the rest of your life, I wanna see you live with your hands unfolded.’”   (Dad to Son:  ‘Live With Hands Unfolded … Release Your Gifts to World’, StoryCorps non-profit organization, 3.20.15)



“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”   (Steven Pressfield)



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



“Do not merely think that you are going to become great; think that you are great now.  Do not think that you will begin to act in a great way at some future time; begin now.”   (Wallace D. Wattle, The Science of Being Great)



“… and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   (Anais Nin)


“Be So Busy Loving Your Own Life”


“Be so busy loving your own life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.”   (Unknown Author)



“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”   (Andy Rooney)



“Bad things are always going to happen in life.  People will hurt.  But you can’t use that as an excuse to fail or to hurt someone back.  You’ll only hurt yourself.”   (Unknown Author)



“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”   (Charles Bukowski, The People Look Like Flowers at Last)



“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.”   (Mary Maning Morrissey)



“Be daring, be different, be impractical be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary.”   (Cecil Beaton)



“Jesus didn’t die an extravagant death so that we could live mediocre and comfortable lives.”   (Jarrid Wilson, Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity)


“Spread Your Wings”

“One of the most significant negative habits we should be aware of is that of constantly allowing our mind to run off into the future.  Perhaps we got this from our parents.  Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present.  Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life.”   (Thich Nhat Hanh)



“The final meditation on followership from Ira Chaleff’s book, “The Courageous Follower” is:   ‘Courage always exists in the present.  What can I do today?’

I am convinced that if more people would assume responsibility for asking themselves each and every day, “what can I do today to make a difference?” that our organizations would experience radical transformation. 

Most of your peers are playing it safe.  They don’t want to stand up, stand out, and risk rejection or challenge.  They are content with doing just enough to get by, and by their own behavior our leaders encourage the perpetuation of this pattern.

We can do better, and because we can, we should.  Without courage, this is all just rhetoric.  Courage has to start today and it has to start with you.

You have a lot more power than you think.  People are watching.”   (Brett L. Simmons)



“As we go about our daily lives, it is important to remember that we always find what we’re looking for. If you set out today thinking that this is going to be a bad day, shortly things will begin to order themselves to meet your expectation.  Conversely, if you set out with an expectation of greatness, this can be one of the greatest days of your life.”   (Jim Stovall)



“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability.  It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”    (Anthony Robbins)



“No one can predict to what heights you can soar.

Even you will not know until you spread your wings.”   (Unknown Author)


“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)


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