When life gives you lemons

I have bad days, too.  I guess everyone has. I sometimes have to make hard decisions I don’t know how to make my mind up for, do work I’d rather avoid and I sometimes am afraid to try. An then, sometimes, I actually make the wrong decision or none at all, I really don’t do the work and sometimes I don’t try.

But, while I know that my perfectionism isn’t always a good thing either, it does constantly push me to get better and improve myself. Over the years, this intrinsic motivation has gotten support from several quotes that I once picked up somewhere, and that stayed in my mind for some reason. I thought I’d share them with you- because they now motivate me because once, someone thought the same and shared them with me.

All pictures are taken by me, just if you’re wondering why there is no copyright.

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Kein Mensch hat keine Zeit- nur falsche Prioritäten. Thomas Engelke

In English, this basically means “no one has too little time- just the wrong priorities”. I find this to be so true in every aspect of life! If people care about something, they always somehow manage to do it. So when someone never has time to meet up with you, what does it tell you about his/ her priorities?

  1. Work Motivation

Putting effort into something is not always easy. It can be tiring, mental and physically draining and highly unpleasing at times. When I risk loosing sight of why I am doing something, the following quotes help to keep me going:

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Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Tim Notke

That’s my main motivator at the gym. Yes, I may not have the strongest built. I may be female and therefore may not have the natural amount of muscles men have. But the longer I work at it, the stronger I get, the more I can lift, and the more results I start seeing. The same holds true at uni, at school and at work. Those who are willing to do the most are usually also the most sucessful.

The next two go into the same direction:

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I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. Thomas Jefferson
It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop. Confucius

And remember, it does not matter how slow you run- you’re still faster than anyone on the couch! 🙂

2. When it starts to get hard:

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Giving up is the only sure way to fail. Gena Showalter
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Whether you think you can or you think you cannot- you’re right. Henry Ford 

This is something I am still working on: My attitude towards new challenges. I am often scared of what lays ahead, I am unsure whether I should really take on a new challenge because I doubt I would be capable of suceeding at it. So far, I can say that mostly, I ended up suceeding when I tried. However, if I would have approached the whole thing with a more positive mindset, it would have been a much nicer experience!

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The greatest pleasure in life is to do what people say you cannot do.  Walter Bagehot 

This may not hold true for everyone, but for me it surely does. The most amazing feeling is when people (or I myself!) underestimated my capabilities and I can prove them (or me!) wrong.

The greatest feeling however, that’s surely this one. When I do things I am afraid of. Overcoming fears is definitely the most motivating thing for me. Sitting at the edge of a rock while having that weird feeling in my stomach I always get when looking down onto the world (I am sure you know what I mean) is certainly such a moment.

3. When something didn’t go as expeted

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Remember that sometimes, not getting what you wanted is a wonderful stroke of luck. Dalai Lama
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Oftmals sind unsere Fehlschläge erfolgreicher als unsere Erfolge. Henry Ford

Even though Ford was an American citizen, I could not find this quote in English. So here is my personal translation: Often, our failures are more successful than our sucesses. 

When I first heard this one, I instantly had to search for examples in order to prove it, as I find it so wise!
Take the microwave, for example, which was invented by Percy Spencer while he was actually experimenting with a new vacuum tube called a magnetron in 1945.
Or the ink-jet printer: he way it works was established when a Canon engineer rested his hot iron on his pen by accident, ink was ejected from the pen’s point a few moments later
And sweetener was discovered by a chemsit who failed to wash his hands before dinner.

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Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to switch on the light. J.K. Rowling

For me as Harry Potter fan, a quote from Albus Dumbledore is obligatory to appear in this list! I think it speaks for itself.

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It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes, we must do what is required. Winston Churchill 

This is so important! We sometimes fail, and don’t understand why, because we gave it our everything. Well, but maybe our everything was not enough?

On another note: It drives me mad when people say “I will try to..”. NO! Either you do it, or you don’t. If you already approach something with the attitude I’ll try, even though it’s impossible, then you might as well just leave it.

4. When you did suceed, or are already good at something:

This is a section many people seem to forget. While there are countless books, articles and videos helping you to motivate you after a failure, there is far less on the matter how to stay motivated once you are good at something. Why bother trying to get even better, when you’re already pretty decent?

This is why:

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Wer aufhört, besser werden zu wollen, hört auf, gut zu sein. Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

In English, this means: Those who stop trying to get better stop being good.

Real-life example: The technology industry. Apple, Samsung and their competitors MUST keep finding new gimmicks, just to stay competitive.

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La vie a beaucoup plus d’imagination que nous. Truffaut

Life is a lot more creative then we are. This teaches me to stay humble. No matter how good I am- I never overestimate my capabilities. Who knows what happens tomorrow? Someone may come along who is even better. Something may happen that puts things into an entirely new perspective. But also, this helps to stay positive: Even the worst of situations will eventually be over 🙂

5. To get going:

Lack of motivation to start something new? To change something that bothers you? Consider these:

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There are two primary choices in life: To accept conditions as they exist, or to accept the responsibility for changing them. Dennis Waitely

I maybe apply this too much. I often take on all the work at group projects or at work, just because I know that only myself can satisfy my standards. I am working on letting go sometimes.

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The best way to predict the future is to create it. Peter Drucker
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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Nealle Donald Walsh
There are only two days in the year where nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to love,believe, do, and mostly live. Dalai Lama

6. Positivity:

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For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. My favourites:

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Stay curious.

I think I have seen a quote by Stephen Hawking including those words. But regardless of who said them, they are my main drive in life. There is ALWAYS something new to see, something you haven’t seen before. Look closely, pay attention to the detail. I feel the point where you stop being interested in something, this is the point you stop living.

And finally:

Just do it.

I don’t know whether it was actually Nike who created this credo. I don’t really care either. But, from my experience, I know: Endless contemplating doesn’t solve any issue. Getting out there and do something about it does.
One does not always know the best decision. Sometimes, the only way to find out what’s best is to try it out.


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