Recently, I shared a lovely dinner in New York with Essie Weingarten and her husband Max. Essie is the woman behind the nail polish brand we all love. Spending time in New York always inspires me -- it really seems to be a magical city!
And spending time with Essie and Max is also inspiring; they've been together for 26 years, and I can say, without reservation, that theirs is one of the relationships I truly admire. Of course, like all couples, they've had their struggles, but their kindness, support, and love is palpable when you're in their company, and it expands to include their friends, colleagues, even their business!
Naturally, when you're in the company of such people, you want to glean some of their wisdom So, I asked Max what's the biggest thing he has learned about love and life. His three pieces of advice were:
1. "Know yourself." Once you know yourself, you accept who you are and understand what you want and why.
2. "Be lucky." This isn't something that happens to a lucky few, but a way of being you can choose: Embrace the good things that happen to you! Opportunities will not jump out at you and scream "opportunity!" You have to recognize them and seize them -- choose to be lucky.
3. "In life, never do things because you want something back." This is so true... we often do things because we hope it will make people love us, or that we will get a certain result. We should BE ourselves and DO what is natural and authentic for us, regardless of what other people may think or do in response.
Our conversation got me thinking about those quotations, I so often look to for affirmation or comfort or inspiration. So, with that, I thought I'd share some of my favourite quotes! I hope they move and inspire you, as they do me every day.
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." -- Maria Robinson (author)
I think this is an important one because so many of us dwell in the past, or live with regret. But, of course, we can't go back in time and change what's already happened (and really, I believe you should trust that what happened then was authentic in the moment). But if you're unhappy with something, you still have the power to affect change. The greatest power we have is to decide what we want to do today, right NOW. We can pull ourselves out of the past and take action today that will change the ending, even create a new beginning!
"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." -- Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (pilot and aviator)
I have a tattoo that says "Be Brave" -- it's my own daily reminder to take on things that scare me a little (or a lot!), to embrace change even though it's sometimes the hardest thing to do, and to be proactive rather than passive. I love this quote too because it acknowledges that it's okay to be afraid... in fact it's a sign you're about to do something significant... and that's empowering!
"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about." -- Winston Churchill (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)
Another quote that I feel is so important, but with a qualification... I don't think we should give up on things we think about every day, but I think we should reflect on what's holding us back. For me, this quote is a useful guide, like a compass, reminding me to reflect on what I want. Sometimes, that examination leads to positive action -- a structured set of goals. But sometimes that examination is a way of resolving something that has been too long left unresolved.
"I've learned that 'making a living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'" -- Maya Angelou (poet)
We live in such material times and, naturally, we all have our aspirations and passions with regards to work and money and the life we want to build. But sometimes we don't see the wood for the trees and we forget the reasons we're doing all those things. This isn't a criticism of ambition or having aspirations, just a reminder to see "making a living" in context... what we all really want is to be happy and make our loved ones happy, to love and allow ourselves to be loved... this is "making a life."
"If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life." -- Oscar Wilde (writer and wit)
This is really about love and patience -- about the kind of love that's worth waiting a lifetime for, and that it's something to not take for granted, but to cherish, honour, and respect.This is the kind of love that makes all the waiting worthwhile and that we would never abandon out of impatience or distraction. This quote speaks to the lifelong commitment of true love.
"The highest form of wisdom is kindness" -- The Talmud
This is such a fundamental idea for me, because we're so often pushing ourselves to DO and BE better, but so rarely do we think about the difference being KINDER would make. Whether it's at work, or in your relationships, being kind to each other is one of the most life-altering things we can do. Whether it's a small kindness, like helping a stranger, or a big one, like supporting a friend or relative, kindness defines us and brings out the very best in us and in others. And wouldn't the world be such a better place if we were all a little kinder?
If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I love a great quotation. When the right quote hits you on the right day, it can seem to bring structure and clarity to what's happening in your life, to make sense of all that's going on. It can be something you dedicate to another, like a song, (the song "This is Dedicated to the One I Love", by The Shirelles is - right now - making me smile!). I'd love to know what your favourite quotes are! Please share some in the comments, or tweet at me @natashankpr.