My favourite quotes for 2022

Happy New Year to you! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a lovely start to 2022.

I received a LOT of books for Christmas. This is good news for me, as I love digging into a good book. I’ve recommended a fair few of my favourite books this year, but I thought I might share a few choice thoughts that had been spurred on by my favourite books.

After all, New Year is the time for reflections and good intentions to be posed for the coming year. As such, I thought you might like a sneak peek into the ruminations that have been going on in my mind as 2022 commences. I do hope there’s a few stimulating thoughts in there for you as well.

1. Do the stuff that matters / Routine

What I gradually realised was that the very same activities that had rescued me from failure, would also rescue me from [merely surviving] to success – if [only] I would just keep doing them.

This is from one of my favourite books, ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson (on page 9). Olson ran many successful businesses, but before then, constantly found himself oscillating between failure and mere survival… and couldn’t figure out why. He wondered what was the next ‘magic step’ he was missing? What trick or career move did he need to find?

What Olson discovered (as many many wise people in history had discovered before him) was that the very same actions that elevated him out of the pit were also the ones that would carry him to ever higher levels of success. We can all fall prey to this kind of magical thinking, believing that the next level requires something new and transformational, constantly rejigging schedules or diaries in the hopes it will all just click together… in reality, the secret is “if it works, keep doing it“.

Routine can appear boring to our dopamine- and serotonin- addled 21st century brains. But building and sticking to an effective routine can become almost supernaturally powerful – if only we would keep on doing what we know works.

2. Let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter / Don’t worry so much

Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people – unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful.

You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off, and which keep you from focusing on your own mind.

Sound familiar? It does to me. We’ve all been here. This could have been written by someone of the 21st century, bitten by the dangers of social media and mainstream news, but actually it was written by Marcus Aurelius (yes, the Roman Emperor) in his personal journal sometime in the 2nd century. The quote is from the opening passage of book 3, point 4.

This quote is a timely reminder – at least for me, and perhaps for you also – to not get bogged down in worrying about others and what they may be thinking or doing. We’ve got enough to be doing in the day without being paralysed by cogitating on people and actions we have no control over.

(Side note: Copies of Meditations are very cheap, as they are out of copyright by at least 1000 years. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy, especially if this point has resonated with you).

3. Keep learning but lose the ego / Humility

Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it

This quote is attributed to Colin Powell, who was also the first African-American United States Secretary of State and died last year in 2021. I came across it in a wonderful chapter from another book I’ve recommended before, ‘Stillness is the Key’ by Ryan Holiday (p68).

It’s important that we all keep learning, to seek understanding, but it’s also important that we hold our positions lightly enough that we don’t feel aggrieved when we learn something that contradicts our position. If anything, we should be grateful that something has shown us an error in our position and we can adjust accordingly… but if we become too invested in our position that it even becomes an ideology, then we may find ourselves unable to ‘square the circle’ when presented with facts that make our position untenable.

What are yours?

There are many other passages from books I’ve read in the last year that nearly made the cut, but I thought I’d leave it at three. It pays to tab up books with quotes or passages that have spoken to you, and even to memorise the ones that make the biggest difference.

What about you? Are there any simple things you’re looking to do, change, or even just keep doing in 2022? Try writing them down and remind yourself of them every so often.

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