I’ve copied out almost 100 quotes by hand every single month for the past year.
It’s not a bad habit to get into.
My life is a lot easier than the millions of people who have lived and died before me. It’s easier because I have the collective knowledge of their millions of lives to draw from.
I have the ability to reach back into the past and find the exact quote, thought or idea that can shine a new light on any problem I ever have.
Because the human experience wasn’t invented by our generation, and it wasn’t invented for our time.
The truth is that nothing has really changed in our emotions, our designs, our pleasures and our pain points for thousands of years.
The ancient Greeks experienced the same heart break when they couldn’t get their lovers to stay. They experienced the same feelings of desperation and loss when their resources were running impossibly low. They experienced the same joy when they had kids, swam in the sea and saw the sunrise.
The residents of London and Paris at the time of the Napoleonic wars in the 1800's felt very much the same as the residents of London and Paris feel today, when confronted by depression and by their health issues and by the powerlessness that every economy heaps on the folks on the lowest rung, and the pleasure of falling in love, getting laid, eating a fine meal, running in the countryside…
When they were confronted with any of life’s pleasure and pain points, people have done the same thing for time out of mind.
They have shared that experience with others by telling stories and spreading their ideas and opinions.
Somewhere along the line a lot of those stories have been written down, and those ideas have been noted, and it’s all built up to be the greatest body of thought you could ever imagine, accessible through books, papers, online articles, lists, quote directories, wikis, Q&A sites, podcasts – and whatever other format you enjoy.
The greatest and dearest power that we have today is to be able to constantly tap into that knowledge base and never have to come up with a brand new solution ourselves.
Every single solution to every single problem has already been dreamed up, designed and written down somewhere for us to find and apply to our own lives. That’s an incredible advantage, and yet we don’t often use it!
I have close to 100 quotes that I copy out – by hand – every single month.
To tap into this store of knowledge, every month, I jump online and I assemble a list of quotes. As many quotes that I can find that are insightful, useful, inspiring or just plain interesting. And I spend that month writing down each of those quotes by hand.
Why by hand? Because studies show that when you take notes by hand, you’ll remember and retain more information. Don’t believe me? Read this.
"More is better." From the number of gigs in a cellular data plan to the horsepower in a pickup truck, this mantra is…www.scientificamerican.com
When I take notes on a laptop, you better believe that I won’t remember one iota of information a day later. It’s just the way my brain works.
So I write these quotes out, and I do it every day until I’ve written out all one hundred of them in a notebook. Sounds like a crazy idea, right? But I’m building up a hard copy wiki of every quote that has meaning for me. I can dive into my notebooks at any time and find inspiration and knowledge that will help me out.
When I feel like shit?
- I can turn to my own personal collection of quotes that mean something to me and can help me climb out of whatever hole I’m in.
When I don’t know what to do about my businesses?
- I can turn to my own personal knowledge base and find what the greatest business leaders of all time have to say about the problem I’m facing.
So what’s on my quote list this month? Take a look.
I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages. — Robert Bosch
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. — G. K. Chesterton
Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. — John D. Rockefeller
Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning. — Robert Kiyosaki
There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed. — Ray Goforth
One finds limits by pushing them. — Herbert Simon
The first one gets the oyster the second gets the shell — Andrew Carnegie
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take — Wayne Gretzky
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. — Mahatma Gandhi
Even if you are on the right track, You’ll get run over if you just sit there. — Will Rogers
Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching. — George Van Valkenburg
The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well. — John D. Rockefeller Jr.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning — Bill Gates
To the degree we’re not living our dreams; our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves. Peter McWilliams
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. — Napoleon Bonaparte
Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion. — Tony Hsieh
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. — Thomas Jefferson
The only way around is through. — Robert Frost
The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere. — Barack Obama
Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success. — Thomas J. Watson
The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do. — Roy L. Smith
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. — Herman Melville
The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. — Debbi Fields
The NBA is never just a business. It’s always business. It’s always personal. All good businesses are personal. The best businesses are very personal. — Mark Cuban
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. — Vidal Sassoon
To succeed… You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you. — Tony Dorsett
Victory goes to the player who makes the next to last mistake. — Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower
The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. — Carlos Castaneda
If you see a bandwagon, it’s too late. — James Goldsmith
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. — Henry David Thoreau
A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost. Unknown
Early to bed and early to rise probably indicates unskilled labor. — John Ciardi
I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure It is: Try to please everybody. — Herbert Bayard Swope
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. — Norman Schwarzkopf
Your time is precious, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Steve Jobs
Beware of any enterprise requiring new clothes. — Henry Thoreau
Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better. — Jim Rohn
My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’. That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job. — Ted Turner
In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later. — Harold Geneen
People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a selffulfilling prophecy. — Tony Robbins
Business in a combination of War and sport. — Andre Maurois
The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer. — Nolan Bushnell
We generate fears while we sit. We over come them by action. Fear is natures way of warning us to get busy. — Dr. Henry Link
The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do. — Dennis Waitley
The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers. — John Egan
Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games. — Babe Ruth
All progress takes place outside the comfort zone. — Michael John Bobak
There is no security on the earth, there is only opportunity. — General Douglas MacArthur
Hire character. Train skill. — Peter Schutz
To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult. — Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth
People are best convinced by things they themselves discover. — Ben Franklin
Winners take time to relish their work, knowing that scaling the mountain is what makes the view from the top so exhilarating. — Denis Waitley
You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong. — Warren Buffett
The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you. — Bette Midler
Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value. — Albert Einstein
You are not your resume, you are your work. — Seth Godin
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted. — George Kneller
Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more. — Oscar Wilde
To win without risk is to triumph without glory. — Pierre Corneille
You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it. — Oprah Winfrey
The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place. — Orison Swett Marden
Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down. — Charles F. Kettering
Look well to this day. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day. — Francis Gray
Surviving a failure gives you more self confidence. Failures are great learning tools… but they must be kept to a minimum. — Jeffrey Immelt
. Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. — Winston Churchill
Opportunities don’t happen. You create them. — Chris Grosser
The successful warrior is the average man, with laserlike focus. — Bruce Lee
Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day. — Gary Vaynerchuck
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. — Helen Keller
The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same. — Colin R. Davis
It takes more than capital to swing business. You’ve got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by — Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics. — Ren Mulford Jr.
Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming. — Richard Branson
To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. — Sr. Thomas Watson
Long range planning works best in the short term. Doug Evelyn
The new source of power is not money in the hands of a few, but information in the hands of many. — John Naisbitt
Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition in having put forth the best within you. — Henry J. Kaiser
Update! One of my regular readers (and a great guy in person) JK just reminded me of this awesome quote: