How to turn your favourite quotes into a practical tool. Click through to read.

Do you love inspirational quotes (I mean, who doesn't?), but find it hard to action any of the wisdom you consume? I'm such a huge lover of quotes that it feels very natural for me to draw inspiration from quotes tailored to how I'm feeling at the time, but often we tend to leave consuming quote-wisdom on a surface-level, when they could be so much more than that.

One of the things I tend to do is to have specific collections of quotes. Whenever I come across one that resonates, I add it to my collection (I use Day One for this) and tag it with the name of the author and the type of quote it is (for example ‘happiness', ‘motivation', etc. etc). Over time I've accumulated quite a good collection, and I use it to give my head and/or heart a jolt when I need to. If you haven't yet, I'd really encourage you to start your own personal quote collection.

Over time, you will find that you accumulate more quotes from specific people, the ones who seem to always have the right thing to say. You could start viewing these figures as your personal guides, ones that came before and figured something out that might help you step into a direction you want. Having your own personal collection will be like having a group of great thinkers at your disposal to help you with your challenges.

In order to be a bit more intentional when you're trying to solve a problem or gain a jolt towards practical action, try this with your ‘quote mentors':

  1. Choose a quote from one of your top 5 quote mentors.
  2. Concentrate on the quote and write down all your thoughts, whether they have anything to do with your challenge or not. If you think it, write it down, without judgement or expectation.
  3. Choose a thought combination, which resonates most strongly to your situation, and restate it.
  4. For the next ten minutes or so, see if you can come up with practical solutions to your dilemma with the thoughts you chose. If nothing comes, choose another quote and repeat the process.

In practice

For example, let's say I'm pondering on ‘How could I launch a new product?'. I'll choose a quote from one of my own top 5 quote mentors, Joseph Campbell:

‘We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.'

Let's freewheel some thoughts:

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • I don't need to save the whole world, concentrating on what is important to me is enough.
  • Should I leverage myself better?
  • Should I be less shy?
  • Should I leverage the fact that I'm shy and not natural at self promotion?
  • What can I do in order to feel full of life and pass that on?
  • What really matters to me?
  • Is my journey interesting? Does it relate to others? Help others?
  • How to display a more honest, fully fleshed-out brand identity?

The one that (surprisingly) stands out to me is ‘Should I leverage the fact that I'm shy and not natural at self-promotion?'. I find this thought kind of interesting, as it's definitely a side of me I try not to reveal instantly, especially when doing any promotional efforts. Here are some ideas resulting from this revelation:

  • Talk more about my personal journey when promoting a product or service.
  • Share how big a part shyness has played in my life and how I've overcome obstacles relating to it, which would connect with people struggling with same sort of issues.
  • Underline the benefits of a product or service to those who are shy or reserved.
  • Show by example how you can live loudly despite being quiet.

Other people's words and thoughts have the power to change your own thinking, as they come through a different route to your own imagination. The trick is to go beyond the passing good feeling a good quote gives and pay more attention to the process and journey our thoughts take.

Author: Marianne Taylor

Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor is a photographer, an educator, and a lover of colour & light. Her work has been published in blogs and magazines the world over and her personal photography has been part of an exhibition at Tate Britain. To work with Marianne, see the mentoring services she offers. Or, if you like the photography on HLH, you might want to check out her Product & Lifestyle photography services to see whether you could work together to help your brand grow. She is also slightly obsessed with her two cats, Astrid & Sofia, and loves Instagram.

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2 thoughts on “How to turn your favourite quotes into a practical tool

  1. I really love this post. I am a quote junkie and usually just read and share quotes but this post got me thinking “do I actually apply my favorite quotes to my life?!” I think probably not so much! So crazy. But you have really given excellent advice as to how to go about doing that. I am just starting up my own business and I am really excited about trying your technique out and applying it to my business, because of course now I need all the motivation and positive wisdom I can get. I really like the whole vibe of your blog and am gonna be following! Thanks so much.

    Posted on November 17, 2015 at 8:12 pm
    1. That’s so great to hear, Daphna! There’s always this gap between intention and action, which feels like a massive leap until you actually start working on it. Good luck with your new business! x

      Posted on November 17, 2015 at 8:17 pm