Hi, my name is Lauren, and I’m an addict.

I’m addicted to two things: quotes and tools.

Quotes because they inspire me and motivate me to keep pushing through during the hard times. Tools because I pride myself on being an early adopter, and, well, tools make my life more efficient and/or easier.

Last weekend, I binged out on commencement speeches, TED talks and old Steve Jobs and new Bill and Melinda Gates’ interviews.

I won’t lie. Not only did I throughly enjoy my weekend, but I also learned A LOT.

While you won’t learn about any new tools in this post, you will read a lot of great quotes and excerpts, extracted from my video binge this past weekend. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Bill and Melinda Gates' 2014 Stanford Commencement Address

“Optimism, for me, is not a passive expectation that things are going to get better. For me, it’s a conviction and a belief that we can make things better. So no matter how much suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and if we don’t look away.”

“So let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism.”

President Obama at Michigan Commencement

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.”

Update: this quote was actually from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as pointed out in the comments.

David McCullough at Wellesley Commencement

“And, in fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it.”

Pamela Meyer: How to Spot a Liar

“When you combine the science of recognizing deception with the art of looking, listening, you exempt yourself from collaborating in a lie. You start up that path of being just a little bit more explicit, because you signal to everyone around you, you say, ‘Hey, my world, our world, it's going to be an honest one. My world is going to be one where truth is strengthened and falsehood is recognized and marginalized.’ And when you do that, the ground around you starts to shift just a little bit.”

Steve Jobs – How to Live Before You Die

“I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.”

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

“I call it the golden circle.

Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren't. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do.

And by "why" I don't mean "to make a profit." That's a result. It's always a result. By "why," I mean: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

As a result, the way we think, we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in, it's obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations — regardless of their size, regardless of their industry — all think, act and communicate from the inside out.”

David Cote '76 UNH 2011 Commencement Speech

“Develop personal credibility in your dealings. “Do what you say” is not an empty phrase. Stand for something and have values.”

“Being smart is not enough to achieve results. Plenty of smart people get beaten by others who are more hungry, take calculated risks, work harder, have better people skills, can execute better, or have more common sense. Recognize what you need in that total package to succeed.”

Tim Cook – George Washington University Commencement Speech

“The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena. There are problems that need to be solved. Injustices that need to be ended. People that are still being persecuted, diseases still in need of cure. No matter what you do next, the world needs your energy. Your passion. Your impatience with progress. Don't shrink from risk. And tune out those critics and cynics. History rarely yields to one person, but think, and never forget, what happens when it does. That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.”

Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Elusive Creative Genius

“…Over 20 years ago, when I was a teenager, when I first started telling people that I wanted to be a writer, I was met with this same sort of fear-based reaction. And people would say, ‘Aren't you afraid you're never going to have any success? Aren't you afraid the humiliation of rejection will kill you? Aren't you afraid that you're going to work your whole life at this craft and nothing's ever going to come of it and you're going to die on a scrap heap of broken dreams with your mouth filled with bitter ash of failure?’”

Will Smith – You Can Do Anything

“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things; you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple, right?”

“I think that there’s a certain delusional quality that all successful people have to have. You have to believe that something different than what has happened for the past 50 million years can happen… What is the benefit of being realistic? I can’t think of one. It’s unrealistic to walk into a room, flip a switch and have a light come on, fortunately, though, Edison didn’t think so.”

Seth Godin – The Interim Strategy

“Exactly how successful do we have to get before we stop cutting corners, making selfish decisions and playing the short-term game? All the great organizations I can think of started as great organizations. Tiny, perhaps, but great.”

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”

Lauren Holliday is a full-stack marketer, SitePoint's business and marketing editor and the founder of Freelanship, which connects students with project-based internships. Learn more about Lauren on her website.

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  • MinnesotaConservative

    Just FYI: the quote “from” Obama is actually Obama quoting Daniel Moynihan.
    Also, while I don’t entirely object to the “follow your passion/do what you love” school of job searching, I would add a slight, but significant, addendum … “but always hold a job (that you don’t love) while you conduct that search.”

    • Lauren Holliday

      Thanks for letting me know! Updated! =)

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