It’s been a wild year, enough said. Throughout lockdown 1 & 2 here in Melbourne, I put time into absorbing articles, quotes, stories, videos, and ideas. More than I really had during my entire lifetime. Here’s a breakdown of my top 10 quotes that resonated with me from this time:

“If this isn’t nice then I don’t know what is”

It’s easy to focus on the world falling down continually, in those quiet moment where everything is right – remember those, appreciate the good times as much as you stress over the bad.

Focus on the road – not the wall

Can’t remember exactly where I heard this, doing research later on apparently this is what race car drivers are taught – makes a ton of sense. Focusing on the wall ahead, the danger, the risk, means you’ll focus on those and lose sight of the overall vision. I coined my own version of this say when I get into conversations with big decisions or stressful thoughts “Put it out into the universe and see what happens”. Keeping your eye on the final goal can cut away the doubts and mental blocks from getting the job done, an risky output is better than crashing into a wall.

“Forever reading, never to be read.”

This was a more recent quote I came across from Alexander Pope,  actually links to an essay by Schopenhauer ‘On Thinking for Oneself’. Majority of our time is spent interpreting inputs, simulation, media, that it can rob the mind of the being about to form thoughts of our own. It’s critical to spend time thinking, developing those inputs into ideas of your own instead of being influenced by others. All great thinkers spend as much time thinking as reading.

“The Man in the Arena”

I remember this one from smashing through motivational and mindset articles earlier in the year then coming across it again in “Daring Greatly” (great recommendation from my friend Emma). This was on the first page and immediate I was like “damn, she knows what’s up”, admittedly I’m not that far into the book, see above quote ^.

The man in the arena conjures up this image of the gladiator, basking in the roars crowd battling through bloodthristy foes. Look not saying my life is anything like that – it’s about being vulnerable, there’s massive strength in vulnerability.

It’s that success seen from overcoming danger, a risk, things could have gone really bad if a few moments panned out differently.

The challenges in life test your own mental boundaries, and after working with a lot of people, progressing in their careers, people may like stability and a cruisy time –  at a point they’ll hit that wall (by taking their eye off the road) and they may not want a test consciously, subconsciously they need a new thing to sink their teeth into.

How do I know that’ll happen? I’ve been through it, I’m currently going through it as I write this.

With work I’m trying more than ever to put my best idea forward first – the best of what I have to offer and know what works. After using my best, there’s nowhere to go forcing to find different perspective or innovate on ideas.

“As the army gets bigger it gets harder to turn”

Our company scaled from 4 in early 2018, to now over 30 in 2020. Each hire creates a new touchpoint, a new personality, a new person to grow and teach. It’s incredible – seeing everyone scale up their abilities, making their own relationships with each other, the strides people have taken so rapidly is inspiring.

With that comes a price to pay to, losing the ability to be agile – every decision made impacts a lot more people. We have to be very considered in approach with these decisions for the best outcome for all.

“We suffer more in our imagination than in reality”

“Think deeply before you complain”

This is a double combo of statements, I’ll admit I think, I waste a ridiculous doing so. Maybe 20% of the time I spend thinking about conversations I’ll have in the future that consequently help prepare, but most of the time it’s energy spent on the small stuff. Compounding on that is over venting about situations out of your control. People are going to act on whatever values are important to them – some are unholily unchangeable, understand it and let go. The hardest part is letting go.

Sometimes, you have to roll a hard six.

It’s worth making a call than none at all or stewing on the particular. Not being reckless in decisions but taking what you need and rolling with whatever comes. I recall watching this video on airplane crashes with an actual pilot giving commentary. He said “You have to keep fighting, even if you’re doing the wrong thing, keep fighting as hard as you can when lives are at stake”. Most sit on the bench with decision making, those that make calls and take those risks get places, that’s undeniable.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Actually while writing this I learnt this is a mis quoted statement: “According to Quote Investigator, this is probably a canard. Maya Angelou was linked with the saying in 2003, but the site found a version in a 1971 volume called “Richard Evans’ Quote Book”, ascribed to one Carl W. Buehner, a high-level official in the Mormon church.”

Regardless after meeting and growing alongside a ton of amazing people, it’s fruitless caring so much around the actions you take and what people should feel about them, be impressed, be intimidated. It’s all about perception, there’s always a layer deeper of understanding how people think and react to certain actions. Be true to yourself and treat people the way you want to be treated – good things will come.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”

Instead of feeling the need to be good at everything in life, focus on a few, maybe even one key areas to improve on, next year for me it’s around the body, mind, and new experiences.

and now a story…my favorite from the year:

“A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”

”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

”A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”

“Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.”