Posts tagged quotes
The Paradox Of Creativity

“The things you get fired for when you're young are the exact same things you win lifetime achievement awards for when you're old. Which is to say the things that run against the grain, that are not common, are not logical, that don't fit in to the standard approach… if you do survive and get that across--remember that the things that get you in trouble are the same things that are later remembered as being exceptional."

I love this quote from Francis Ford Coppola in his 2011 interview with HBR. A wonderful reminder for us all to trust that inner voice of creativity.

Andy Smithymanquotes
That’s the question
…The first question that the priest asked; the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question. “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” 
That’s the question before you tonight. Not “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job?” Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?” The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?”
The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?”
That’s the question.

(Martin Luther King, Jr: I’ve Been To the Mountaintop)


King's Mountaintop speech at The Mason Temple was delivered on the 3rd April, 1968. The following day, King was assassinated.

I have always been inspired by this speech (full text), especially how he begins. King recounts how someone once asked him 'which age would you like to live in?' He then lyrically goes on a timeline, focusing on the dramatic and extravagant peaks of world history. Red Sea. Greeks. Romans. And on. His answer finally settles on Memphis. Here. And now. 

At first he acknowledges 'that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars... something is happening in our world.'

The next part never fails to wind me.


And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history.

Owning our time.

Owning our responsibility.

It's a speech of a lifetime. 

Andy Smithymanquotes
The future
“Children, you are the future,' he said, and today I realise he did not mean it the way it sounded.
The reason children are the future is not that they will one day be grownups. No, the reason is that mankind is moving more and more in the direction of infancy, and childhood is the image of the future.”

(Milan Kundera: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)

Andy Smithymanquotes
From "I don't have time" to "That's not my priority."

I love how these four words have held a mirror up to my weakness. How often have I flippantly used that statement and unconsciously communicated a priority on how I am shaping my life? Family, friends, spiritual health, work, writing; every area continues to reflect itself in that mirror.


"Recently, I’ve tried to stop saying, “I don’t have time.” It insinuates that I’m a helpless victim to the all-powerful stream of hours that mightily passes me by. It’s easy to adopt an “Oh well” attitude to what you’re giving up. It authorises my apathy.

Instead, I’ve replaced it with the phrase, “That’s not a priority.” Suddenly, I’ve taken control of my own decisions. I’ve taken responsibility for what I do and don’t do. I’ve added clarity, condemnation, and encouragement, all in 4 short words."

(Dan Mall: I don't have time)

Power of an Idea.
“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea... and ideas are bulletproof.”

Alan Moore: V for Vendetta


One of Aristotle's Seven Rules of storytelling is 'IDEA.' 

Ideas are powerful, taking something that is considered mundane and transforming it into a grand showpiece. They are also mysterious, an elusive enigma that is hard to define or keep within the safe, four walls. 

Maybe that's why I am often tempted to move quickly from IDEA to articulation. I don't like the challenge of seeing where the mysterious hand might lead. 

So, it's good to remind myself that sometimes the best ideas come when I learn to rest within the uncertainty. Who knows then what wonders the IDEA will slowly, patiently, uncover?

Andy Smithymanquotes
To think different

Food for thought from Richard Rohr.


Dorothy Day put it even more strongly: 'Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.' As long as we unquestioningly buy into the egoic system, where the roots of our narcissism (excessive interest in self) often lie hidden, we're going to have problems.
If we think we can say our private prayers and still genuflect before the self-perpetuating, unjust systems of this world, our conversion will not go very deep or last very long. 
The test of our progress

I have a fascination with speeches. Maybe even venturing onto the obsessive. Crafted paragraphs, focal points and rhythmic flow, can occasionally touch upon one of the greatest gifts within the human spirit. 

Seeing a world beyond initial sight.

One such speech that I dip into from time to time is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Inaugural Address 1937. This contradictory character may have had some public moral flaws. (As do we all). But his pursuit of being the standard-bearer for those ignored, remains today an inspiration for my own fragile steps.

“…here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens — a substantial part of its whole population — who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.
I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meagre that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day. 
I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.
I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.
I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.
I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. 
It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope… We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country's interest and concern… 

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
Andy Smithymanquotes