Words can uplift and words can destroy.
Robin Sharma, the author of the bestseller ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari’, says that words can set their own reality distortion field.
When spoken with utmost clarity and conviction, they can pull even the serious non-believers into their reality distortion field and make them believe.
History brims with instances where the words spoken by those in power triggered a chain of events – some led to peace and transition and some resulted in hatred and war.
I won’t talk about detrimental words in this post. Instead, I wish to throw light on 14 awesome pieces of advice given by the literary maestros of the past and the present.
Whether it is a quote they actually said or a direct quote from one of their books, these literary doyens shake us to the core with their simple, yet deep words of advice.
14 great pieces of advice from literary maestros
I know there are many great authors out there and a lot many have said inspiring things at different times. Sadly, I can’t include them all in one list.
However, I have tried my best to gather 14 pieces of advice that could actually be helpful in multiple ways.
#1. J.K Rowling
We all know JK Rowling before she hit the gold with her first Harry Potter book, witnessed a series of personal failures.
Over 12 different publishing houses rejected her manuscript before it was finally accepted. In 2016 she took to Twitter to share her thoughts on failure:
“I pinned my 1st rejection letter to my kitchen wall because it gave me something in common with all my fave writers!
I wasn’t going to give up until every single publisher turned me down, but I often feared that would happen – JK Rowling“
Failing is horrible, and it always takes a toll on us. However, you must see it as a part of life and learn to be at peace with it.
#2. Ralph Waldo Emerson
You know the success mantra of entrepreneurs. They never give up. They make 1000 iterations of an idea and work away at it. Rigidity in thought is a bad exercise and never yields fruit. Experiment, fail and experiment again!
#3. Robert Frost
Not everyone has the stomach to go against the grain. Counterintuitive ideas sound good when you read’em in books or blogs. But lapping one up and giving it the best shot takes something.
The road less travelled is never smooth, it’s full of unknown obstacles. But only those who tread the road less travelled leave the trail for others.
#4. Dr Seuss
Dr Seuss might be known for his remarkable work as a children’s author, but a lot of the things he says stand valid for every adult. Which is why I love this phrase so much.
Like he says, being alone is part of our nature, and no matter how much you try, there will be periods in life when you’ll be alone… And solitude is not a bad thing.
The great writers Edgar Allen Poe and Ralph Waldo Emerson impressed upon the significance of solitude in their work.
Emerson even encouraged the teachers to impart to their pupils the importance of ‘periods and habits of solitude’. Basically, the ‘alone’ time that would make the serious and abstract thought possible.
#5. Charles Bukowski
This one can be applied to your love life, or to your everyday life. Basically, it is about finding something you are truly passionate about, something you deeply love, and giving it your all.
It can be a person, a job, a hobby… Whatever it is, love it to the fullest, let it be part of your life, let it consume you (in the best way possible). That’s how you should go through life.
#6. Gabriel García Márquez
A little harsh but Gabito’s quote nails it.
Colonel Sanders is a prime example. He was in his 60s when he set up the first KFC outlet. Ray Kroc of McDonald’s was 53 when he started the first McD’s outlet in Chicago.
I know the generation Y and Z has a different perspective. To them, it’s all about getting millions in your bank before you are 30. Facebook and Instagram incessantly propagate this narrative.
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vayner Media and bestselling author, repeatedly stresses in his talks that age is not a barrier to entrepreneurship. If you are in your 50s and you think you can’t compete with the current crop, then you are seriously underestimating yourself.
The whole idea of Marquez’ quote is not to give up on your dreams ever. You have one life, and only one life to achieve what your heart desires. It’s never late to shoot for your dreams.
#7. C.S Lewis
Again, a short and simple life and advice, but an extremely important one. The moment you let your happiness depend on something that is not in your control or something extrinsic, then, you are in danger to become extremely dependent.
Let your happiness depend on nothing but yourself, and see your life become so much better.
#8. V.E. Schwab
I paraphrased V.E. Schwab’s lines here. This was said in the past tense, but I think this quote holds water for both our present and future.
This might be the hardest piece of advice on the list, but it was necessary. As much as we would love to believe everyone has nice intentions, the harsh truth is they don’t.
Not everyone is nice, not everyone is kind, and some people know how to hide their true intentions.
#9. Albert Camus
The famous French philosopher Albert Camus purported the philosophical concept of absurdism.
Many disagree with his theory’s apparent tilt toward nihilism, however, his quote above lays it plain and simple. It’s futile to pursue happiness. Don’t go looking for it every waking minute of your life.
The corollary to this is that happiness should only ensue. If we do the right things every day, you know the things that set our soul on fire, happiness would be an effect, an outcome.
#10. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The 18th-century German writer and statesman, Wolfgang von Goethe couldn’t have put it in a better way.
So many people fail to pursue their dreams because they never budge from the fence. They are perennial fence-sitters. Wolfgang wants you to escape “the Tron legacy”. Or you’ll be stuck in there your entire life.
#11. Henry David Thoreau
We sweat over the minutiae, says Ramit Sethi, in his bestseller “I will teach you to be rich”.
You want to lose weight? The only thing you need to do is eat less and start exercising.
But instead, you will pore over the diet regimens – Atkins, Paleo, GM, blah blah blah. Simplify it and put in the work.
#12. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The famous American poet and educator, Henry Wadsworth certainly knew what it takes to accomplish things in life. You have to toil, you have to be willing to get dirty from head to toes.
If you are not willing to make the effort, put in the time, you will end up with a horrible sense of regret.
As the boxing legend Late Mohd. Ali once said,
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – in the gym and out there on the road.”
#13. James Joyce
It’s so very liberating when you realize that you have the power to make your life whatever you want it to be. It’s a wonderful feeling that your success doesn’t depend on others.
Always believe that odds are for you. When you know the odds for you, you begin to achieve great things.
#14. Oscar Wilde
Last, but not least, let’s close the list with the most amazing piece of advice ever.
There are billions of people in the world, and none else except you is you.
So cherish everything that makes you unique, and be true to yourself, because no one else can replace you.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
I hope these pearls of wisdom from these 14 literary giants spur you to crush your goals.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever got? Was it a quote in a book or something somebody you look up to said to you? Do share in the comments box below.