Always growing, always changing.
I, Jordan Gray, am a quote junkie. Every close friend, confidante, and fellow growth warrior in the trenches of life alongside me knows that a pre-requisite of being in my life is being comfortable with me starting every fifth sentence with the words, “That reminds me of the quote…”
I absolutely adore the potent wisdom and life-affirming bad-assery that can be jam-packed into a small handful of words. Certain inspirational quotes have gotten me through the worst of times in my life, and kept me grounded and right-sized in the best of times.
Today, I want to share with you seven of the best quotes that are also my all-time favorites. At one point in time, I considered getting a few of these tattooed on my body. And, who knows, maybe I will some day.
But for now, they simply take up real estate in my mind, on the edge of my lips, and now, on my blog. Without further ado, here are seven of my favorite quotes.
1. “100% is easy, 99% is hard as hell.” —Unknown
I originally heard this quote from one of my earliest mentors, Eben Pagan. I believe that he was quoting someone else who originally said it, but it escapes me who that person was.
This quote speaks to the power of commitment. The power of totality. The power of being all-in in everything that you do.
Being two feet in most of the time in your intimate relationship is different than being totally committed.
Being 100 percent committed to launching your new business venture is different than putting something out there and hoping that it goes well.
Being 100 percent committed to training for a fitness competition is very different than wanting to be a bit healthier, and frequently slipping with a cheat meal every other day.
When you commit yourself fully, magic happens. And when you have one part of you that is perpetually hesitating, reserved, held back, you will lose more than 1 percent of your momentum. You will miss out on the majority of it.
2. “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” —Carl Jung
I often tell my clients that in order to go from numbness to joy, it is imperative that you go through pain. But my main man Carl Jung beat me to the punch with his own pithy prose.
I love this quote because it reminds us that waking up in life isn’t an easy process. The majority of people sense this somewhere deep down. They would rather stay asleep and dissociated in their lives because the idea of traveling through their unresolved pain and trauma is too much to bear.
So if you’ve ever thought, “Can I walk a path of spiritual transformation without going through some really challenging and painful shit?” Carl Jung wagers the answer is no. And he’s a pretty smart dude, so I’d listen to him on this one.
3. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” —Epictetus
This quote, in my opinion, is the absolute epicentre of Stoic philosophy. Life isn’t about what happens “to you,” but what you do with it. Everyone is dealt a different hand. Life isn’t fair. Absolutely no question about that.
But what are you going to do with the hand you were dealt? Are you going to play the victim card? Are you going to blame your childhood forever? Are you going to expect life to hand you what you “deserve” on a silver platter? Are you waiting for someone to come and save you? Are you going to roll over and die?
Or, are you going to pick yourself up and do the best you can with what you have? Are you going to strive to be better with every breath you take? Are you going to find a way to be the bigger person and not let your pain own your life trajectory?
When I was 15 years old, I wanted to die so badly. I swallowed 40+ pain killers and waited for them to lull me to sleep. Through more than a decade of processing my repressed pain, I eventually got to a place where the idea of taking my life was a distant dream.
And now, my article “4 Reasons Not To Kill Yourself” is the #2 most highly ranked resource in the world, and over 1,000 people read it every single day.
Maybe your parents beat you when you were a kid. That’s a raw deal. Seriously. No two way’s about it. No child deserves to be mistreated in such a manner. But what do you do with that pain when the events have stopped?
Maybe you fight like hell to find a way to make your PTSD symptoms manageable, and you cry out as much of your repressed pain as you can, and you become an influential advocate for children-specific safe homes. Maybe you become the hero you desperately needed when you were a child.
Or, maybe not. But the point is to admit that our life is not 100 percent fated and out of our control. Our decisions matter. You get to choose what you do with what happened to you. The choice does not belong to fate… it belongs to you.
4. “Don’t get through the day, get from the day.” —Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn was a total boss. If you haven’t heard of him, he was one of Tony Robbins’ earliest mentors. He was the walking antithesis of “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” He had airtight life philosophies, and no fancy lighting, gadgets, or stage soundtrack. He would simply stand on stage and speak from the heart for hours, and spit straight wisdom.
This was one of my favorite quotes from him. For me, it spoke to leaning into life and sucking out all of the bone marrow. Don’t just coast through life. Don’t sleep walk. Charge forwards. Do what you say you’re going to do, and get the most out of every day you have.
As far as we know for certain, you only get this life. Might as well make the most out of it.
5. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” —Rumi
When you endlessly try to rejig the strategies you use to find a new intimate partner (yoga studios? Bars and clubs? Tinder? Bumble? OkCupid? Street approaches? Tantra workshops? Where is this illusive holy grail of quality partners!?) and never look at the person who is the one implementing those strategies (i.e., you), then you are doomed to repeat whatever pattern you are stuck in.
And, guess what? If you’re the kind of person who posts pop-psychology articles about “toxic” people, narcissists, sociopaths all over your Facebook wall, but has never done a single therapy session, then you might be the reason you keep attracting emotionally unavailable partners.
The lengths that people will go to to avoid looking in the mirror is constantly astounding to me.
As Rumi says, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” In other words, stop looking outside of yourself, and do your individual work so that you are a more open, available, willing vessel of love.
Then, boom! Watch how quickly your life changes (in terms of your external results) once you have done your honest work and shifted your internal worldview.
6. “We’re all just walking each other home.” —Ram Dass
What the hell is this big human experiment? What are you and these (roughly) 8 billion other people all doing here? Well, according to Ram Dass, we’re all just walking each other home.
What is home? My interpretation is that home is a place of psychological, emotional, and spiritual integration. We are all teachers for each other. And we’re all taking each other by the hand, and lovingly, patiently, walking each other to our own individual (internal) sense of home.
So that person that broke your heart? They were a teacher for you. That mentor who poured their time, energy, love, and attention into your development? They were a teacher for you.
That grandparent who died when you were young? The child that you and your partner miscarried? The elementary school teacher who gave you more energy than they gave the other students in the class? They were all teachers for you.
What is life about if not growth, transformation, and progress? Progress towards becoming a more fully embodied, loving individual? We’re all going to the same place in the end, and, in the mean time, we’re all holding hands, and getting there together. One step at a time.
7. “Individuals should embrace the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning.” —Albert Camus
In other words, nothing means anything, so go play outside and make something of yourself while you’re still alive. This Camus classic is one of my all-time favorite quotes because it simultaneously speaks to the emptiness of life, and the importance of picking up all of the weight you can and moving forwards anyway.
I love this contrast, and dancing in this paradox fuels me endlessly. There is no meaning to life other than the meaning that you give it.
I am heavily biased towards relationships. Being in them, engaging them, obsessing over them, processing them, helping others process their feelings about their own relationships. So I see through a heavily relationship-oriented worldview.
This is my interpretation of what matters. These are my biases in action. And I fully embrace them.
There are days that I look at my work as so important. “Wow, I really helped that person. They moved so much emotional residue out of their bodies. What an absolute gift.” And yet, I can also ground myself in the realization that my work is as meaningless as it is meaningful.
Helping someone cry for an hour isn’t inherently more beneficial than dusting some sand off of a rock on the beach. But while I’m still on the playing field, I’d like to consciously choose my delusion and say, “Yes, this matters… and I will continue on with it with all of my might.”
Just as you should do with whatever gives your life the most meaning, depth, and joy.