I love to read and ever since Matt died, I’ve been focusing more on books examining life’s meaning and self-help books. I’d like to share ten quotes that offered me food for thought or inspiration from some of these books.
1. “We choose what our minds are exposed to, knowing that the things we attend to become a part of us. They change us and shape our experience of the world, other people, and ourselves. Remember the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”, rather than consuming whatever is put in front of us, we can consider the potential effects of how we attend to things. We can expose ourselves to things that will help shape the compassionate mental states we want to create in ourselves.” – An Open-Hearted Life by Russell Kolts and Thubren Chodron
2. Thinking “you have to” versus “you get to”. “You transition from seeing these behaviors as burdens and turn them into opportunities. The key point is that both versions of reality are true. You have to do those things, and you also get to do them. We can find evidence for whatever mindset we choose.” – Atomic Habits by James Clear
3. “I think I learned the most about the value of ordinary from interviewing men and women who have experienced tremendous loss such as the loss of a child, violence, genocide, and trauma. The memories that they held most sacred were the ordinary, everyday moments. It was clear that their most precious memories were forged from a collection of ordinary moments, and their hope for others is that they would stop long enough to be grateful for those moments and the joy they bring.” – The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown
4. “We are meant to live in joy,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained. “This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin.” – The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams.
5. “We all have hundreds of things that go right every day and yet we focus on the three or four that go wrong.” – Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey by A. J. Jacobs
6. “Emotion can feel terrible even physically overwhelming. We feel exposed, at-risk and uncertain in the midst of emotion. What gets in the way of reckoning with emotion is fear. We don’t like how difficult emotions feel and we worry about what people think. Most of us were never taught how to hold discomfort, Sit with it, or communicate it, only how to discharge or dump it, or to pretend that it’s not happening. If you combine that with the instinctual avoidance of pain, it’s easy to understand why offloading becomes a habit.” – Rising Strong by Brene Brown
7. “Learning the power of gratitude is not only wise, it’s practical. When we understand how to feel grateful for what we have, we are free from the uneasy state of constantly wanting. A never-ending hunt for more puts the mind in a continual state of anxiety. But when we are thankful for what we have and understand the difference between what we want and what we need, we are able to relax the mind and put less pressure on ourselves to obsessively upgrade the things in our life. Release the energy of more, more, more and replace it with the energy of thank you, thank you, thank you.” – Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade
8. “Being humble, here, means being aware of how difficult your instincts can make it to get the facts right. It means being realistic about the extent of your knowledge. It means being happy to say “I don’t know.” It also means, when you do have an opinion, being prepared to change it when you discover new facts. It is quite relaxing being humble because it means you can stop feeling pressured to have a view about everything, and stop feeling you must be ready to defend your views all the time.”– Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World by Hans Rosling
9. “In our society, a person’s sex is based on their genitalia. That decision is then used to assume a person’s gender as a boy or a girl rather than a spectrum of identities that the child should be determining for themselves. We are steering them down a life of masculine or feminine ideals.
What if parents were given instructions to nurture their baby by paying attention to what the child naturally gravitates toward. What if parents let their child explore their own gender instead of pushing them down one of the only two roads society tells us exists?” – All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson
10. “Kindness takes us beyond our own thoughts and feelings to the concerns of others, which enlarges our perspective. A bigger view makes our daily ups and downs look smaller. Kindness allows us to be grateful.” – The Lost Art of Good Conversation – A Mindful Way to Connect With Others and Enrich Everyday Life by Mipham, Sakyong
I enjoyed all of these books, they gave me food for thought. If there’s a quote you particularly enjoyed, check out the book, there are more delicious morsels to be found.
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.