57 of My Favorite Quotes of 2015

As I shared in last year’s ‘top quotes edition,’ I don’t particularly fancy myself a quote person.

Beyond a handful of Marcus Aurelius quotes, I occasionally scribble something I want to revisit in my commonplace book, but typically I prefer a full article or more meaty analysis.

You won’t find these on sticky notes across my house, but below are 57 of my favorite quotes I stumbled across this year. Some merely validate thoughts or ideas I already feel strongly about. Others surprised me. Some inspired me.

It’s my hope that you’ll find one below that makes you pause or say, “Aha!” If one of the quotes sticks out to you, highlight it. I’d love to know what resonates with you. Enjoy!


It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? Don’t confuse activity with results. — Thoreau
The Tyranny of Little Everyday Bullshit conspires to kill your noblest intentions. — Ramit Sethi


When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. — Viktor Frankl


It is what it is’ really means, I’m too lazy to try to make it difference, so for gosh sakes stop talking about it. — Jeff Haden

Decision Making:

The wisest decisions are made by those closest to the problem — regardless of their seniority. — General Stanley McChrystal
The simplest ways to improve the quality of decisions is to have them made by people and not committees. — Shane Parrish


Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. — Ali ibn abi Talib


Ego is the fundamental problem in almost everyone’s life. It’s what deprives them of reality and truth and connection. — Ryan Holiday
The ego that arises out of insecurities makes a lot of noise attempting to announce, explain, and justify. — Rohan Rajiv
The biggest problem that humanity faces is an ego sensitivity to finding out whether one is right or wrong. — Ray Dalio

[Ray’s self published 123 page PDF manifesto, entitled “Principles,” outlining his logic and personal philosophy for investments and corporate management based on a lifetime of observation, analysis and practical application through his hedge fund is worth reading in full.]


Even when you feel you’ve lost everything, you haven’t lost what you learned from that experience. — Kathryn Minshew
Ultimately we are the sum of our experiences and not the sum of our belongings. — James Altucher


We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves. — La Rochefoucauld


Influence is like a bank account. The more you use it, the less you have. — Mike Roberts


If you don’t have the patience to read something, don’t have the hubris to comment on it. —Maria Popova


A poor leader will tell you how many people work for them. A great leader will tell you how many people they work for. — Simon Sinek


If you can’t learn from people you disagree with, you’re not just dumb — you’re going to stay dumb. — umair haque


I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. —Neil deGrasse Tyson
The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.— Marcus Aurelius
Turn back the pages of history and see the people who have shaped the world. Security was never theirs, but they lived rather than existed. — Hunter S. Thompson
We all walk this earth feeling we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon. — David Carr
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. — Lin Yutang
Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere. — Lisa Boncheck Adams (RIP 3/6/2015)
School is about dealing with certainties. Life is about the ability to handle the maximal amount of uncertainty. —Nassim Taleb


A good mentor will, with their last breath, push you to the top of the mountain, even at their own personal risk. — James Altucher


If you think your organization needs a bigger marketing budget, maybe you just need to be less average instead. — Seth Godin


Effective networking is about patience & buildup, not the close. We celebrate audacity & courage instead of patience & value. — Gary Vaynerchuk


Planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, “iterate,” and treat business as experimentation. — Peter Thiel


The reason ambition never satisfies is because it obscures the moment, and you have to be here now. — Molly Lambert


Most people don’t schedule their work. They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening. — Mike Monteiro

[Sounds a lot like what Cal Newport’s new book, “Deep Work” will tackle. I’ve already ordered a copy in hopes of being more intentional in 2016.]

Self Awareness:

Self-awareness is the lubricant to all social friction. — Christopher Graves


Feeling stressed can be a barometer for how engaged you are in activities & relationships that are personally meaningful. — Kelly McGonigal


The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything. — Warren Buffett
Most people would rather sit around the table drinking and say I could have done X than give up those nights working on uncertain success. — Shane Parrish
There really is only one thing you have to do to become “successful” — fail about a thousand times. — Mark Manson
Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other. — Seth Godin
Everything is obvious once it’s successful. Big wins come when you can spot something before it’s obvious to everyone else. —@Ev
Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not. ― Neil deGrasse Tyson
Super-successful people aren’t the most gifted people in their fields. They just work, study and practice more than the competition. — Jack Canfield
The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. — Bill Watterson (Creator of Calvin and Hobbes)
We admire people who stumble when following the rules far more than those who succeed by rewriting them. — Andy Greenwald
“The biggest stamp of credibility you can get is not a Harvard degree. It’s a referral from a powerful person in your industry” — Raghav Haran


A team is not a group of people that works together. A team is a group of people that trusts each other. — Simon Sinek


If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability. — Brene Brown


My rule: be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done. — Austin Kleon
[Paraphrased] Taking a job you don’t like in order to build up your resume is like saving up sex for your old age. — Warren Buffett
Use your best judgment, care about your impact, do work that matters…’ are significantly more powerful instructions than, ‘Do it this way. Say it this way. Behave the way I told you to. — Seth Godin
Great work doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of interactions with the people you seek to change. — Seth Godin
Flawless execution of a shitty idea is still a huge waste of time. — Chamath Palihapitiya
The ability to innovate & grow is increasingly dependent upon drawing the best talent & ideas into the company’s ecosystem. — Peter Sims
The industry overvalues experience, and undervalues strategic and tactical flexibility. — Eric Schmidt
You can’t just ‘hustle’ your way bigger. Think/Strategize. This is what separates constantly hustling entrepreneurs…from true CEOs. — Ramit Sethi
For the first 10 years of your career, optimize for learning. Those that do command far more in $$$ and meaning later in life. — Ramit Sethi
In life, being the same is comfortable. In business, being the same is death. — Ramit Sethi
All the people that I know who have a “passive income” from products also work harder than anyone else I know. — Paul Jarvis


Worry never solves the future and always takes away energy from the present. — James Altucher

And finally… one of my favorite Muhammad Ali anecdotes = How many sit ups do you do a day?

Ali: “I don’t know. I start counting when it starts hurting.”

If you like what you read, or learned something new, be sure to ❤ it below so that others will see it. I would greatly appreciate it.

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