Packing Inspiration

There’s nothing quite like the perfect quote when you really need it. At least that’s what I believe. As someone who loves to talk and write, I really admire people who can sum it all up in a few succinct words. I started my love affair with quotes early on, never ashamed to be the youngest person browsing the Self Help section at a bookstore.

Ashley's quote collection

A small part of my quote collection. I’ve never thought of myself as a “collector” but I guess I am.

My all-time favorite quote book is Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. I think I discovered it in high school, and I loved that a father wrote it for his son as he was preparing to head off to college. In fact, years later, during an interview¬† for a college scholarship, I was asked about my favorite book. I could have tried to impress the interviewer by analyzing the meaning of a Shakespearean work like Macbeth or sharing how a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird or Pride and Prejudice¬†changed my outlook. I didn’t answer with any of those options; I proudly announced that Life’s Little Instruction Book had impacted my life more than any other book. Here’s why…

So many people seem to live their lives just sort of going through the motions. They don’t seem to be fully appreciating all life has to offer. I am guilty of it myself. I don’t always maximize each day, and at times, I even feel down for no reason at all. It is during the less positive and productive moments that I have learned to turn to inspirational quotes, which very often give me the boost I need to get more out of my day. I thought I’d share a list of my favorite quotes from Life Little Instruction Book Volume 1 (there are 3 in the series) to inspire and motivate you. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Life's Little Instruction Book complete volume

This leather bound, complete version makes a wonderful gift for someone 15 or 50.

Note: Volume One has 511 reminders to help you live a happy life, and I’ve narrowed those down to my favorite 44.

1) Compliment three people every day.

2) Look people in the eye.

3) Be the first to say “Hello.”

4) Make new friends but cherish the old ones.

5) Demand excellence and be willing to pay for it.

6) Don’t take good health for granted.

7) In business and in family relationships, remember that the most important thing is trust.

8) Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of all your happiness or misery.

9) Smile a lot. It costs nothing and is beyond price.

10) Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.

11) Pray not for things, but for wisdom and courage.

12) Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.

13) Give people a second chance, but not a third.

14) Let people know what you stand for- and what you won’t stand for.

15) Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

16) Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.

17) Spend less time worrying who’s right, and more time deciding what’s right.

18) When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.

19) Learn to show cheerfulness, even when you don’t feel like it.

20) Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years.

21) Don’t expect money to bring you happiness.

22) Never underestimate your power to change yourself.

23) Never overestimate your power to change others.

24) Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health, and love.

25) Refrain from envy. It’s the source of much unhappiness.

26) Seek opportunity, not security. A boat in the harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out.

27) Live your life so that your epitaph could read “No regrets.”

28) Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.

29) Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

30) Don’t let anyone talk you our of pursuing what you know to be a great idea.

31) Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who help you.

32) Focus on making things better, not bigger.

33) Don’t flaunt your success, but don’t apologize for it either.

34) Be enthusiastic about the success of others.

35) Get our priorities straight. No one even said on his death bed, “Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office.”

36) Take care of your reputation. It’s your most valuable asset.

37) Don’t allow self-pity. The moment this emotion strikes, do something nice for someone less fortunate than you.

38) Laugh a lot. A good sense of humor cures almost all of life’s ills.

39) Don’t miss the magic of the moment of focusing on what’s to come.

40) Don’t expect others to listen to your advice and ignore your example.

41) Watch for big problems. They disguise big opportunities.

42) Your mind can only hold one thought at a time. Make it a positive and constructive one.

43) Become someone’s hero.

44) Call your mother.

What is really cool is that in the nineties when I originally read the books, I put little dashes to indicate which suggestions I found to have the most impact to my life. It’s so fascinating to reread the book and compare how I felt then with where I am now in my life. As I prepare to celebrate my 35th birthday, work the last day at the job I’ve had for over eight years, and plan for our upcoming move to St John, I notice that some things have changed but mostly things remain the same. One difference is that as a teenager, I apparently didn’t think number 26 was worth emphasizing. But, now, as we set off on our next adventure- and truly the first really BIG, risky, terrifying, life-changing thing I’ve ever done- I am reminding myself to Seek opportunity, not security. And I’m telling myself to Be bold and courageous. I think we would have always asked ourselves “what if” if we decided to keep our safe jobs and stay where we are.

Contemplating change on Soloman Bay

On Soloman Bay, St John during the trip when we starting contemplating a major life change.

I look forward to writing about leaving the security of a big company. I’m excited to share the lessons we learn along the way. I’m even more excited about what actually lies ahead. While we don’t know exactly what to expect when we arrive on St John, we do know that we will approach this new chapter with positive attitudes, grateful hearts, and a few good quote books in tow. Along with my swimsuits and sunscreen, I’m packing inspiration.

Our home on St John

We will have to make room in our tiny home on St John for my collection of inspirational reading.

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