Words to Live By: 139 Life Lessons Quotes

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I recently shared 37 things I’ve learned in my 37 years, and invited Side Hustle Nation to share their own life lessons.

This post is a compilation of the “words to live by” responses I received, broken down into several broad categories.


words to live by

On Your Mindset and Attitude

“Do you have — or are you getting — the results you want?” That was the one-question mindset test proposed by Dane Maxwell. If you can’t answer yes, there’s room for some mindset growth.

The first 3 quotes here come from Matt Rowell, a podcast guest of mine with a cool knife sharpening side hustle.

1. It’s all relative: Success, a big email list, lots of downloads, acres of land, number of customers. It’s better to judge our performance to our own expectations rather than based on what other people say about themselves.

The way I interpret this one is to avoid comparing yourselves to others. I know, it’s hard!

2. The power of one: I think about this with the email list. It’s better to focus on the people on the list opening and reading than it is to dwell on growing the number of recipients.

3. There are no ordinary moments: This comes from Way of the Peaceful Warrior. That next phone call, email, or conference, or holding the door for someone, or making eye contact and passing kindness all hold epic potential to change the course of our life, which can have epic potential to change the course of many other people’s lives. The more we realize that, the more we look for it and the better our odds of getting massive action through stacking up small wins.

4. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.” –Tony Robbins

5. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

6. I’ve got all day tomorrow to worry about stuff. (Repeat daily)

7. Trying to control everything can leave you unable to enjoy the moment. Plan what you can. Go with the flow when the situation calls for it.

8. Travel with an open mind.

9. Don’t be tarnished by your past experience; it will make for a very angry future.

Life Lessons on Finding Your Purpose

10. Purpose is that which you feel passionate about plus responsible for.

11. There is no one true purpose in life. And it doesn’t really matter. As long as you do good for others around you, you’re okay.

12. Purpose can never be defined by what you do. It can only be discovered in who you are.

13. You’ve been unknowingly shaped since birth for your life purpose. Find the pattern.

14. Volunteer and one day you might get paid for it.

15. When you volunteer to help others you benefit just as much.

16. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” –Seneca

17. The law of sowing and reaping is universal…you get what you give. Be careful what you give.

Words to Live By for your Money and Finances

18. Don’t give other people your money to invest. Learn how to invest your money yourself. It’s not as hard as you think. No one will care more about your money than you.

19. You can’t get rich trading hours for dollars.

Related: 23 Ways I Make Passive Income

20. Never buy with future money. Don’t spend money you don’t have.

21. Never pay interest on credit cards.

Related: Credit Card Rewards 101: How We Earn Free Cash and Travel

22. Never pay full price unless you know it’s worth more.

23. Never buy on emotion.

24. “Want”, “need”, and “get” are three totally different things.

25. Good credit is priceless!

26. Brand label clothes and expensive cars are for assholes.

27. It’s not about how much you make. Its about how much you keep.

Related: Pay Less Taxes: Your Side Hustle Tax Questions Answered

28. Our real economic value comes from the beyond physical but spiritual. For instance, planning, foresight, integrity, etc., are beyond physical, but essential for progress in this life.

29. Never go out to breakfast on an empty stomach.

30. It is way easier to turn OFF savings automation when your bills get overwhelming, then to ever turn it back on again. So, keep your automatic savings withdrawals on as long as possible (speaking from personal experience), and treat that savings account like a black hole — money goes in, but it never comes back out. (Thanks to Amanda at Frugal Confessions!)

31. Pay yourself first.

32. Golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Life Lessons on Failure

33. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

34. Don’t just learn from your mistakes. Learn from other people’s mistakes.

35. You can teach a lot of things, but you can’t teach experience.

36. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.

37. Failure is not an end in and of itself unless you let it be. Failures are opportunities to learn and improve. Failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is the way to success.

Related: My Side Hustle Failures

38. You can either choose to be miserable and allow circumstances to bring you down, or you can choose to be grateful, and pick yourself up after failure (it’s temporary anyway), heartbreak, or whatever else comes your way.

39. When you fall, fall forward.

40. It’s not what we did wrong. It’s what we do for an encore.

41. Get back up one more time than you fall.

42. Always jump into a challenge… the unknown is your greatest friend.

43. Some things in life can never be fully appreciated nor understood unless experienced firsthand.

44. What I did yesterday, helped me be who I am today, and what I’m doing today is preparing me for tomorrow.

45. Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

Life Lessons on Relationships

46. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

47. Those who want respect, give respect.

48. Be kind.

49. What goes around comes around.

50. It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.

51. If I’m nice to people and they aren’t nice to me, it’s their problem.

52. Most people are marvelous.

53. Never settle, especially in relationships.

54. Stop, listen, and think before you respond.

55. Don’t be quick to judge; you never know what another person is going through.

56. You can’t control people. You can only control you.

57. Pay close attention to your potential mother-in-law before you marry. That will be your wife in 20-30 years.

58. Love shouldn’t be hard work.

59. Kindness really does matter. It can change a life.

60. Hosting a meetup in an area that you shine in with no purpose of selling will create amazing referrals and advocates. People like people that aren’t there just to sell to them and just listen for a change.

61. Collaboration gets you better ideas, new friends, more eyeballs, and encourages you to let go of your ego and help others.

61. In the end, it’s all about friends and family.

62. Before leaving family or friends say goodbye in a manor you feel good about just in case it’s the last time you see them.

63. Accept that not everyone will like you. Even the most popular presidents were disliked by 45%-50% of the country. Live your life.

64. Everyone does not need to be a part of your life long-term. As you grow, there will be many who will not grow with you.

65. Make friends before you need them!

66. Say I love you to your spouse every day.

67. Don’t go to bed mad.

68. Nobody will ever give you shit for being early.

Words to Live By on Taking Action

69. It’s OK to regret things you’ve done, but don’t regret what you didn’t do.

70. Sometimes, you just have to act. You can think and plan and prepare all you want, but more often it is a matter of just getting into action.

71. Trust your gut.

72. You can do whatever you want, some things just take a little longer.

73. It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.

74. Just start. Once you have momentum you’ll find a way.

75. Sometimes you gotta just leap.

76. Difficulty equals opportunity. The reason is simple. If there is a high entry barrier, the majority of people will be excluded. Therefore competition will be weaker for those that have the endurance to get through the barriers.

77. If you feel it, keep going — even if means going alone.

78. You should generally bite off more than you can chew, and then just chew really fast.

79. “When the goin’ gets weird, the weird turn pro.” — Hunter S. Thompson

80. Be willing to take calculated risks.

Life Lessons on Self Talk

81. If you don’t like yourself, others won’t either.

82. Thoughts become things. You get what you focus on good and bad.

83. The biggest difference between where I am and where I’m going is what I’m REALLY telling myself.

84. Unclench yourself in traffic — you can’t go any faster than the cars in front of you.

85. If you stay and face the unpleasant feelings or emotions by being present with them, they will eventually dissipate. And that’s the first step in the healing process.

86. You will create a story about the world and yourself that will dramatically influence you. Always reexamine that story.

87. Beliefs are just beliefs. They are not reality.

88. The outcome of my life is entirely what I make it.

89. Let your faith in yourself be stronger than your fear.

90. “Be yourself — everyone else is already taken.” –Oscar Wilde

91. Don’t allow anyone to put you down. You’re beautiful and stronger than you know.

Words to Live By on Gratitude

92. Be Grateful. On Purpose. Every Day.

93. The best weapon is a genuine smile.

94. Happiness is a choice, your choice. Choose to be happy; you’ll probably live longer.

95. All is well. Everything is a mess, and all is well.

96. All positive psychology is the expression of positive biology.

97. Only you can make you happy!

98. Have fun.

99. Laugh every day.

100. Music is therapy.

101. No one needs a smile so much as those that have none to give.

Life Lessons on Legacy

Several readers shared the Stoic concept of “memento mori” — remember death. It’s a call for humility (we’re all gonna die someday) and inspiration (but not yet, so make the most of it!).

102. There’s a reason they don’t read resumes at funerals.

103. It’s not how long you live that matters, but what you do with the life you have.

104. Life is to be lived; not just survived.

105. Don’t cheat, it never pays off.

Life Lessons on Education

106. Sucking at something is the first step to being awesome at something.

107. Read, read, and read! All the answers you’re looking for are probably in a book somewhere. Be a voracious reader.

If you’re short on time, our podcast sponsor Blinkist can help.

Related: Check out The Side Hustle: How to Turn Your Spare Time into $1000 a Month or More (free on Kindle!)

108. It’s OK to write in the margins of books. It’s easier to find your original thoughts. Plus, if donating the book, the notes add interesting insights for others.

109. If you’re not a child prodigy genius, a world class musician, or a star athlete, getting an education is important.

110. If I could take all of my education and turn it into wisdom, I’d be much smarter.

111. Your first instinct is usually right!

112. Intuition is an asset, because people lie right to your face.

113. You’ll learn more by listening than talking.

114. 50% of wisdom is keeping your mouth shut.

Words to Live By on Productivity

115. Make your bed in the morning. It provides a springboard for good feelings of accomplishment throughout the day.

116. Think about what you’re going to do tomorrow, you will never see that day again. Use it wisely.

This is one of my keystone habits to be more effective.

116. Never let tasks or ideas sit in your mind without being captured.

117. The biggest danger is telling yourself that you have a lot of time to get something done.

118. It’s okay to set boundaries and to demand personal space to meditate and process information before making decisions.

119. Don’t wait to do something later if you have the time to do it now. Never put it off until tomorrow.

120. Overcome laziness and the world will be yours!

121. When you don’t know what to do, get up and move.

Related: Health and Fitness for Busy Entrepreneurs: The Most Overlooked Productivity Hack?

122. The longer it takes, the less likely it is to happen.

123. Nothing good happens after midnight.

124. If we all had the curiosity of children instead of the arrogance of adults we’d get a lot more done.

125. The lazy man works twice as hard.

Life Lessons on Patience

126. If you want it bad enough, you’ll put in the work.

127. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

128. We all want things to happen “right now.” Sometimes it is not our moment and we need a little more practice or experience to prepare us for what is next.

129. Appreciate time alone with your thoughts.

130. Live your dream, don’t just exist in someone else’s.

131. Keep doing what you love.

132. Never get upset until it’s time to get upset!

Life Lessons on Navigating Change

133. Often times, a major crisis can equal an opportunity. 

134. Good or bad, this too will pass. Just keep moving!

135. Change is the only constant so embrace it!

136. Stop building your whole life around a timeline. Life has far too twists and turns. You will be disappointed.

137. There is no such thing as a secure job. Just accept it and do what it takes to protect yourself.

138. “Pee what you got.” When stopped at a rest stop, even if you don’t feel like you have to go — pee what you got — so that you’re prepared for anything that could be coming next on your journey. (h/t to Carl Hunt for this one!)

139. The sun will come up tomorrow.

Your Turn

Do you have any life lessons or words of wisdom to share? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

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