There’s a Thomas Jefferson quote that’s often circulated on the internet saying, “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” Of course, unless it’s dancing in which case you’re supposed to do that like nobody is watching.
John Lennon tells us that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” but Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (author of The Little Prince) said “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Author Marthe Troly-Curtin implores “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time,” but Charles Darwin implores that, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
The Dalai Lama said “the purpose of our lives is to be happy,” but Ralph Waldo Emerson declares that “the purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” And Eleanor Roosevelt chimes in to let us know that “the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”
The walls of my childhood bedroom were plastered with newspaper clippings, photographs, and, most importantly, hand scribbled quotes from people I thought were brilliant writers, speakers, activists, entrepreneurs, and so on.
And I’ve found, through my collection of words, that you can always find a quote, video, or piece of advice to justify just about any action. But perhaps before looking for that external validation, we’d be better to trust our own hearts first. To choose our own words. To tell our own stories.