2. “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”
In 2014, Jim Carrey gave the commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management. It’s all real as hell, but this line in particular is really important for anyone going through a hard time: “And when I say, ‘life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you’, I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way.”
3. “This is water.”
In 2005, David Foster Wallace gave a commencement address at Kenyon College. This speech was later published as an essay and as a book titled This Is Water. If you listen to the address from beginning to end you’ll come to understand that the ability of the old, wise fish to be aware of the water in which he swims is a metaphor for the concious, self-aware, mindful existence Wallace is trying to encourage.
4. “Just be Stevie Nicks.”
When Tavi Gevinson was 16 she gave a TED Talk, A teen just trying to figure it out. The talk is about a lot of things. It’s about what it means to be a feminist, a teenage girl, and the complex struggle of being both at the same time. She ends the talk with the solid advice to “just be Stevie Nicks” because, according to Tavi, she is all things.
5. “It’s okay that we’re not perfect.”
Marina Abramović is a Yugoslavia-born artist, who gave the 2015 TED Talk, “An art made of trust, vulnerability and connection”. In her talk and an interview afterwards, she speaks a lot about her work and the public’s perception of her after experiencing it. This is just one stand-out quote that everyone needs to hear: “It’s okay that we’re not perfect. It’s okay that we all have problems. It’s okay to cry, to show emotions”.
6. “I am. I am. I am.”
If you’ve read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, you’ll agree that it’s not exactly an inspiring or uplifting novel. Still, this quote forces you to check in with yourself: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”
7. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.”
J.K. Rowling has written many, many amazing things and her 2008 Harvard commencement address is no exception. The speech primarily explores the benefits of failure and the power of a good imagination. Naturally, both topics come together in the most inspiring way.
8. “When you’re ready to wake up, you’re going to wake up.”
You might not think that a British philosopher who was born in 1915 would have much to offer you today, but if you listen to Alan Watts’, The Real You, you’ll probably be surprised. This one is perfect for that moment you’re ready to stop feeling sorry for yourself and make some kind of change.
9. “Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy.”
Louis CK’s low-key rant on Conan isn’t overtly positive but if you really listen to it, it should give you a different perspective on a few things, including your desire to whinge about long-haul flights.