Quote-unquote #5

Photo by Ashley Batz / Unsplash

Hi there! It's been a while since I put out a quote-unquote post, so here I am with some more. These quotes focus on being better as a person and how we can find our place in the world and contribute something to it.

"Don't half-ass it." — Jim McConaughey

In his autobiography "Greenlights," actor Matthew McConaughey covers the thoughts behind his decision to pursue a career in film school. Matthew decided to give up on his lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. His parents wanted him to become a lawyer too. But when he started law school, he felt it wasn't for him, and he got introduced to acting by attending a class. He portrays his father as a man of strong beliefs. Matthew feared his father as much as he respected him. And they weren't affluent enough to send him to a private university. A change in career path wasn't easy for his family, but Matthew wanted to pursue film school. He finally gathered up the courage to tell his parents about it. Jim paused for a few seconds when Matthew told him about it. He waited for five seconds and said, "Don't half-ass it," meaning whatever you do, do it with full involvement. Matthew says, "Of all the things he could've said, this was the last thing I was expecting him to say, but the best thing he could've ever said."

"You are not what happens to you; You are how you handle it." — Steven Bartlett.

I saw this quote in a book review of "Happy Sexy Millionaire." The author Steven Bartlett is the CEO of Social Chain, a social media marketing agency, and Media Chain, a digital publishing house. The Blurb of the book speaks for itself — "As an 18-year-old, black, broke, lonely, insecure, university drop-out, from a bankrupt family, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be a 'Happy Sexy Millionaire' by the age of 25. By 25, I was a multi-millionaire, having created a business worth over $300m. Ironically, in achieving everything I set out to, I learned that I was wrong about almost everything. The world had lied to me. It lied to me about how you attain fulfillment, love, and success, why those things matter, and what those words actually mean."

"Earn your Saturdays!" — Matthew McConaughey.

Matthew McConaughey talks a lot about hard work and hustle in his autobiography. He was an exchange student in Australia for a year, and he worked in different places. His biggest takeaway from all his jobs is that hard work will never waste. He says that having some constraints in life helps us stick to our passions and leads to freedom. His idea is that there will be chaos if there are no constraints. Saturdays are metaphorical in this context — Work hard and earn your freedom.

"Don't take yourself seriously. You are just a monkey with a plan." — Naval Ravikant.
"The neurotic who learns to laugh at himself may be on the way to self-management, perhaps to cure." — Viktor E. Frankl.

The above two quotes have stuck with me for a long time. Some people I admire were complimented with the quality of "not taking themselves seriously." I didn't understand what it meant, and I looked it up. It just means that somebody who doesn't think highly of themselves, is humble, understands that they can't control everything, recognizes and understands that they are capable of making mistakes, and still can laugh at themselves and learn from them.

"Ask yourself, where you are now and where you want to be; where the world is now and where you want it to be. This bridges the gap between reality and ambitions." — Barack Obama.

In the first chapter of his presidential memoir, A Promised Land, President Obama narrates his early days when he was working with community organizations in Chicago, before pursuing a career in politics. He opens up about how scared he was about finding his passion. He takes us through a journey of his mind. It was reassuring that even someone like Obama was lost at some point, not knowing what to do with his life and where he fit in the world, which we all go through or have gone through at some point. This quote was something that stood out for me.

“Man to be great must be self-reliant. Though he may not be so in all things, he must be self-reliant in the one in which he would be great. This self-reliance is not the self-sufficiency of conceit. It is daring to stand alone. Be an oak, not a vine. Be ready to give support, but do not crave it; do not be dependent on it. To develop your true self-reliance, you must see from the very beginning that life is a battle you must fight for yourself,—you must be your own soldier. You cannot buy a substitute, you cannot win a reprieve, and you can never be placed on the retired list. The retired list of life is,—death. The world is busy with its own cares, sorrows, and joys, and pays little heed to you. There is but one great password to success,—self-reliance". — Excerpt From Self-Control: Its Kingship and Majesty by William George Jordan.

The book was first published in 1899. It is about more than just self-control, and self-reliance is one of the most important lessons that I got from this book. It amazes me how the values and issues discussed in this book are still relevant today, after around 120 years.

"I am yet to meet somebody who isn’t exceptionally weird once I’ve gotten to know them. Sure, some people are weirder than others but everybody is strange and one-of-a-kind. The difference between them is that some lean into their quirks, while others run away from them. Once your compass points in the “I want to be less like other people” direction, you’re on your way to finding your voice." - David Perell, an online writing coach.

"The best workout for you is one you’re excited enough to do every day." — Naval Ravikant.

"Man's greatest enemy is, — himself. Man in his weakness is the creature of circumstances; man in his strength is the creator of circumstances." — Excerpt from Self Control: It's Kingship and Majesty, by William George Jordan.

I hope you liked this edition of quotes. Thanks for reading. Happy Sunday. Peace out!

Vivek Arvind

Vivek Arvind

Santa Clara, CA