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.

“Something Incredible is Waiting to Be Known”



“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.”    (Ray Bradbury)



“There’s as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the typical galaxy.  We are,  each of us, a little universe.”    (Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos)



“The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”    (Carl Sagan, Cosmos)



“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones.  Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.  The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.
Certainly, those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton.  We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people.  In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.  We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”    (Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder)



“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.  It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”    (Albert Einstein, The World as I See It)



“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”    (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time)



“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations.  What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?  The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.  Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”    (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time)



“How can a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm imagine angels, contemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos?  Especially awe inspiring is the fact that any single brain, including yours, is made up of atoms that were forged in the hearts of countless, far-flung stars billions of years ago.  These particles drifted for eons and light-years until gravity and change brought them together here, now.  These atoms now form a conglomerate- your brain –  that can not only ponder the very stars that gave it birth but can also think about its own ability to think and wonder about its own ability to wonder.  With the arrival of humans, it has been said, the universe has suddenly become conscious of itself.  This, truly, it the greatest mystery of all.”    (V. S. Ramachandran, The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human)



“I wish someone had just told me the truth right up front, as soon as I was old enough to understand it.  I wish someone had just said:  ‘Here’s the deal, Wade. You’re something called a ‘human being.’  That’s a really smart kind of animal.  Like every other animal on this planet, we’re descended from a single-celled organism that lived millions of years ago.  This happened by a process called evolution, and you’ll learn more about it but trust me, that’s really how we all got here.  There’s proof of it everywhere, buried in the rocks.  That story you heard?  About how we were all created by a super-powerful dude named God who lives up in the sky? Total bullshit.  The whole God thing is actually an ancient fairy tale that people have been telling one another for thousands of years.  We made it all up.  Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
Oh, and by the way … there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.  Also bullshit.  Sorry, kid.  Deal with it.’”    (Ernest Cline, Ready Player One)



“I am not a genius, I am just curious.  I ask many questions. and when the answer is simple, then God is answering.”    (Albert Einstein)



“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”    




“Don’t Let Yourself Get Lost in the Crowd”


“I do not exist to impress the world.  I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy.”    (Richard Bach)



“The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think.”    (C. Joybell C.)



“One must live as if it would be forever, and as if one might die each moment. Always both at once.”    (Mary Renault, The Persian Boy)



“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”    (Henry David Thoreau)



“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”    (Sir Edmund Hillary)



“Are you waiting …
For someone to lead and inspire you,
For the boss to recognize you,
For clients to thank you,
For co-workers to hail you?
Well, here’s a news flash.
They are all just sitting there too
Waiting for you.”    (print ad for Minolta)



“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.

Impossible is not a fact.  It’s an opinion.
Impossible is not a declaration.  It’s a dare.
Impossible is potential.
Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is nothing.”    (Adidas TV Commercial)



“Throughout the years of your life you will face many challenges, remember that you can climb the highest mountain, drive through the roughest storm, soar across the bluest sky, or even sail across the roughest waters.  It is only destined by your attitude where you will end up in life.  The most important thing is don’t let yourself get lost in the crowd.”    (Angela Duvall)



“Don’t Exist” / “You Were Born with Wings”


“If you wait for inspiration you’ll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street.”    (Ben Nicholas)



“Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.”    (Liz Story)



“You don’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”   (Flip Wilson)



“To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage.”    (Confucius)



“In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”    (James Lane Allen)



“You can’t build a reputation on what you intend to do.”    (Liz Smith)



“You create your reality with your intentions.
You gain or lose power according to the choices that you make.”    (Thoughts from the Seat of the Soul)



“Excellence is never an accident.  It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”    (Aristotle)



“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 Rockstar – 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.
All I know is that I have no idea where I am right now.  I feel like I am in training for something, making progress with every step I take.  I fear standing still.  It is my greatest weakness. …

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. … Set a goal for everyday and never be tired.”    (Brian Krans, A Constant Suicide)



“You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.”     (Rumi)


“So How Good Do You Want to Be?”


“So, we shall let the reader answer this question for himself:  who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”    (Hunter S. Thompson)



“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it.”    (Edward Albee)



“Fortune knocks at every man’s door once in a life, but in a good many cases the man is in a neighboring saloon and does not hear her.”     (Mark Twain)



“Excuses always come from the losing locker room.”    (Lou Holtz)



“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.

First, you need to aim beyond what you are capable of.  You must develop a complete disregard for where your 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)



“Do something brilliant every day.  Sell something in a dynamic way.  Spectacularly deliver a presentation.  Slash through a difficult obstacle.  Dream a wonderful dream.”    (Roger von Oech)



“Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”   (Norman Vincent Peale)



“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)



“I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a ‘transformer’ in any situation, any organization.  Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf.  It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.”    (Stephen R. Covey)



“Nothing will work unless you do.”    (Maya Angelou)




“Do Not Let Your Fire Go Out”


“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”    (Maria Montessori)



“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”   (Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny)



“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”    (Marian Wright Edelman)



“Going after a dream has a price.  It may mean abandoning our habits, it may make us go through hardships, or it may lead us to disappointment.  But however costly it may be, it is never as high as the price paid by people who didn’t live.”    (Paulo Coelho)



“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be.  If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it.  On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”    (Mahatma Gandhi)



“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won.  It exists…  it is real…  it is possible…  it’s yours.”   (Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged)



“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.  Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than yourself.”    (William Faulkner)



“The universe conspires to help the dreamer.”    (Paulo Coelho)




“I’ve Seen and Met Angels”


“Sometimes you will sit next to a stranger and that stranger will say something nice to you and uplift your day.  Very often, that was an angel or spirit guide.”   (Unknown)



“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.”    (Tracy Chapman)



“Some angels choose cleverly disguised lives in time and space, just to help folks get past judging by appearances.
No, they’re not much to look at, listen to, or dance with, and most would never guess they’re angels… but that’s the point.
Every soul is beautiful.”  (signed) The Universe”    (Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe, 6.24.14)



“Most people don’t know that there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life.”     (Brian Andreas)



“Angels walk among us,
Sometimes the only thing we may not see are the wings upon their backs.”     (Molly Friedenfeld)



“In this busy modernized age, it’s easy to be blind to the light all around us.  You see, there truly are real angels living among us that look just like you and I.  If you pay attention, you can spot one because they’re quite easy to find.  They’re the souls with the eternally deep eyes that always act like something is broken inside, but fail to realize it’s just their wings.”     (Suzy Kassem)



“’People say there’s the Angel of Life and the Angel of Death, but there’s another one, too. The one who walks among us.’
He could tell that she was listening.
‘He’s nothing fierce or terrible or filled with light.  He’s like us, sometimes we can’t even tell him apart.  Sometimes we’re the ones who try to save him.  He’s there to show us who we are.
Human beings aren’t Gods.  We make mistakes.’”     (Alice Hoffman, The Third Angel)



“Make yourself a blessing to someone.  Your kind smile or pat on the back just might pull someone back from the edge.”     (Carmelia Elliot)



“Tonight I sent an angel to watch over you, but it came back.  When I asked why, it told me that angels don’t watch over other angels.”     (Unknown)



“And suddenly you know:  It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”     (Meister Eckhart)



“What Is and What Might Be”



“How sad is the reality that the lives of so many men and women remain perpetually potential with their creative powers largely undiscovered.”   (Fr. Brian Cavanaugh)



“’Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that?  What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy?  It just wasn’t practical.  Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference.  Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.
Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at… something.  Change lives through art maybe.  Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well.  Experience new things.  Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”    (David Nicholls, One Day)



“I mean, I don’t know how the world broke.  And I don’t know if there’s a God who can help us fix it.  But the fact that the world is broken – I absolutely believe that. Just look around us.  Every minute – every single second – there are a million things you could be thinking about.  A million things you could be worrying about.
Our world – don’t you just feel we’re becoming more fragmented?  I used to think that when I got older, the world would make so much more sense.  But you know what?  The older I get, the more confusing it is to me.  The more complicated it is. Harder.  You’d think we’d be getting better at it.  But there’s just more and more chaos.
The pieces – they’re everywhere.  And nobody knows what to do about it.  I find myself grasping, Nick.  You know that feeling?  That feeling when you just want the right thing to fall into the right place, not only because it’s right, but because it would mean that such a thing is still possible?  I want to believe that.”    (Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist)



“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package.  I’m just telling you to live in it.  Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. T o look at it.  To try to get the picture.  To live recklessly. T o take chances.  To make your own work and take pride in it.  To seize the moment.  And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace.  Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children.  And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”    (Joan Didion)



“What is and what might be.
They have much less in common than you might expect.
The key step in creating a better future is insisting that it not be based on the assumptions, grievances and dead ends of the past.
The future won’t be perfect.  We won’t be perfect.  But we can be kind.  We can listen.  We can give opportunity the benefit of the doubt.
The future won’t always work.  We won’t always succeed.  But we can be alert and seek out the possible instead of the predicted.
The future won’t always be fair.  But we can try.  We can care.  We can choose to connect.
It can be better if we let it.”    (Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog 4.1.18)



“Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it.
it’s like forever, always changing.  for any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now.
you can never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count.
what you have to decide is how you want your life to be.
if your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you’d want to have spent it?”    (Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever)



“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.  Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”    (C. G. Jung)



“Vision without execution is just hallucination.”    (Henry Ford)



“Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision.”    (Norman Mailer)



“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”    (Robert F. Kennedy)



“You are not here merely to make a living.  You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.  You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”    (Woodrow Wilson)



“We Did it Ourselves”


“You don’t have to say everything to be a light.  Sometimes a fire built on a hill will bring interested people to your campfire.”    (Shannon L. Alder)



“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”    (William H. Gass, A Temple of Texts)



“Heretics must believe. More than anyone else in an organization, it’s the person who’s challenging the status quo, the one who is daring to be great, who is truly present and not just punching a clock who must have confidence in her beliefs.
Can you imagine Steve Jobs showing up for the paycheck?  It’s nice to get paid.  It’s essential to believe.”    (Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us)



“Never follow somebody else’s path; it doesn’t work the same way twice for anyone… the path follows you and rolls up behind you as you walk, forcing the next person to find their own way. … If you do not choose to lead, you will forever be led by others.  Find what scares you, and do it.  And you can make a difference, if you choose to do so.”    (J. Michael Straczynski)



“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”    (Adlai E. Stevenson II)



“If you’re not reaching back to help anyone then you’re not building a legacy.”   (Germany Kent)



“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”    (Helen Keller)



“Don’t walk in front of me…
I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me…
I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend.”    (Albert Camus)



How often in life we complete a task that was beyond the capability of the person we were when we started it.”    (Robert Brault, Round Up the Usual Subjects)



“To lead people, walk beside them …
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence.
The next best, the people honor and praise.
The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate …
When the best leader’s work is done the people say,
We did it ourselves!”    (Lao Tzu)




“Be Curious; Don’t Just Give Up”


“What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else?”    (Arnold Schwarzenegger)



“Be yourself;  everyone else is already taken.”    (Oscar Wilde)



“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”    (Lewis Carroll)



“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”     (Albert Einstein)



“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”     (Arthur C. Clarke)



“Don’t bite off more than you can chew because nobody looks attractive spitting it back out.”     (Carroll Bryant)



“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”     (C. JoyBell C.)



“We are what we repeatedly do.  Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit.”    (Aristotle)



“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.  Be curious.  And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.  It matters that you don’t just give up.”    (Stephen Hawking)



“Calvin: ‘The more you know, the harder it is to take decisive action.  Once you are informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray.  You realize nothing is as clear as it first appears.  Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing.  Being a man of action, I cannot afford to take that risk.’

Hobbes: ‘You’re ignorant, but at least you act on it.’”   (Bill Watterson, The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury)



“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”    (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)




“Demand the Best for Yourself”


“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”   (Joseph Campbell)



“The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also, by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”   (Helen Keller)



“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”   (Lao Tzu)



“Don’t Just

Don’t just learn, experience.
Don’t just read, absorb.
Don’t just change, transform.
Don’t just relate, advocate.
Don’t just promise, prove.
Don’t just criticize, encourage.
Don’t just think, ponder.
Don’t just take, give.
Don’t just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don’t just hear, listen.
Don’t just talk, act.
Don’t just tell, show.
Don’t just exist, live.”   (Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart)



“Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.”   (Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)



“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”   (Anthony Robbins)



“Instructions for life:

– ‘Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.’

– ‘When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

– ‘Follow the three R’s:
   1) Respect for self.
   2) Respect for others.
   3) Responsibility for all your actions.’

– ‘Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.’

– ‘Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.’”   (H. Jackson Brown Jr., Life’s Little Instruction Book)



“Nanny’s philosophy of life was to do what seemed like a good idea at the time and do it as hard as possible. It had never let her down.”   (Terry Pratchett, Maskerade)



“Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action …. no matter what. So, you’re afraid?  Be afraid.  Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!”   (Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway)



“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason? You have been given the principles that you ought to endorse, and you have endorsed them. What kind of teacher, then, are you still waiting for in order to refer your self-improvement to him? You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.

From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.”   (Epictetus)



“Don’t make me come down there. – God”    (Keith Caserta, Soul Searching)




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