I love thought-provoking quotes – seemingly simple, yet interestingly profound phrases that have the power to get our minds thinking straight. That’s what this short post is about. Below I have listed eight of my favorite thought-provoking quotes, along with my interpretation and outlook on each one. I hope you enjoy thinking about them as much as I do.
1. Dealing with Problems
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”―Albert Einstein
“解决问题比提出问题要简单得多。” —— 阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦
Realize that not all movement is progress. When stress and tension and chaos surround you, pause for a moment and relax. The best time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.
Select a specific challenge, deal with it, and then move calmly and confidently to the next. When you’re being pulled in multiple directions at once, take time to remember what you value most. Focus on what’s most important to you and you’ll naturally direct your greatest energy to the right source.
Life is filled with either problems or possibilities. What you see is what you choose to see. On the surface life can seem tumultuous and perplexing, yet deep inside, where it truly matters, life is what you make of it. Choose to see beyond the problems to the possibilities that await your attention.
2. Happiness and Personal Growth
“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”―Jonathan Safran Foer
“稳不住幸福，亦躲不过悲伤。” —— 乔纳森·萨弗兰·福尔
Live every day of your life in full. Experience the highs and the lows, the positives and the negatives, and all the moods present between the various extremes. Don’t focus on simply being happy. Focus on living a well-rounded, seasoned life. Focus on achieving completeness. Yes, happiness is part of this completeness, but so is sadness, difficulty, frustration, and failure. And overcoming these latter points supports your personal growth far more than constant happiness.
The feelings of happiness and fulfillment are nice when they happen, and they are needed, but they don’t strengthen you. Instead of asking, “Is this making me happy?” ask, “Is this contributing to my completeness?” If you’re struggling and making progress, the answer is “yes.”
3. Inner Peace
“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”―Elizabeth Gilbert“
或许我们自己都不曾察觉，我们内心一直有个恒定平和的自我。” —— 伊丽莎白·吉尔伯特
Inner peace does not depend on external conditions; it’s what remains when you’ve surrendered your ego and your worries. Peace can happen within you at any place and at any time. It’s always there, patiently waiting for you to turn your attention toward it.
Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind. It happens when you let go of the need to be anywhere but where you are, physically and emotionally. This acceptance of the way things are creates the foundation for inner harmony. The need for something to be different in this moment is nothing more than a worry, and worries simply lead you in circles. Acceptance will bring you back to your peaceful, productive center.
Remember, the same part of you that longs for peace is the part of you that experiences peace. It is not complicated to achieve and is as close as your next thought.
4. Appreciating What You Have
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”―Epicurus
“不要因渴望得不到的而错过已经拥有的；要知道，现在已经拥有的，也曾是你渴望的。” —— 伊壁鸠鲁
Don’t pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, simple, and yet not-so-small gifts in your life. It may seem strange to feel thankful for those events in your life which appear to be ordinary, yet it’s precisely by being thankful that you can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. You may not see the value in spending time and effort acknowledging all the little, seemingly insignificant things in your life, yet without the little things there would be no big things.
Don’t let what was once a miracle become common to you. Don’t get so accustomed to life’s goodness that you overlook it. Let your enthusiasm rise from the doldrums by being thankful for what you have. Seize every opportunity to be appreciative. Make genuine gratitude a constant companion to who you are, in all that you do.
5. Replacing Excuses with Action
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the BS story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”―Unknown
“实现不了目标的唯一阻碍就是，你一直不敢相信自己有能力实现它。” —— 无名氏
Instead of making a lot of excuses, make a little progress. Instead of looking back with regret, step forward with enthusiasm. Choose to view your life based on the best of what is possible. Choose to define yourself based on the person you know you are capable of becoming. If you believe it, you can do it.
All the negativity from the past can be erased in the moment with a single positive action. Go ahead and make it happen. The best way to disconnect from a troubled past is to trust and connect with possibilities of the present moment. When you embrace the power of now, the future belongs to you.
6. Knowledge and Education
“When you know better you do better.”―Maya Angelou
“越知识渊博，越得心应手。” —— 玛雅·安格洛
Your education is the most powerful weapon you possess. It has the power to change the world. Keep it thriving. Do not confuse your schooling with your education. The classes at school end; your education is a continuous lifelong process.
Keep your mind open to new ideas. Challenge your beliefs when you’re given a chance. The greatest advancements in your education will be based on your willingness to absorb fresh information without resistance and without losing your temper or your poise.
7. The Importance of Asking Questions
“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, she’s the one who asks the right questions.”―Claude Lévi-Strauss
“科学家不是给出正确答案的人，而是能恰当提问的人。” —— 克洛德·列维·斯特劳斯
There is profound power in asking questions. In fact, the most successful people are rarely the ones who have all the answers, they’re the ones who ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask when you don’t understand. Ask for what you want. Ask how to make things happen. It’s the reason children are always asking so many questions, because they know they’ll never get anywhere if they don’t ask. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Bottom line: Growth is more about asking than telling. The way forward is yours for the taking – the way forward is yours for the asking.
8. Endings and Beginnings
“In every end, there is also a beginning.” ―Libba Bray
“每一次结束同时也是一次开始。” —— 利巴·布雷
Everything in life has to come to an end sometime. It’s important to acknowledge and accept the end of an era – to walk away sensibly when something has reached its conclusion.
Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it; what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can enjoy the life that’s still available to be lived. This ending is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way. It’s a point in your story where one chapter fades into the next. Take a look at the first page of this new chapter; it’s a beautiful one.