“Did I Say That?”

Selected statements of mine from quotation websites

Posted Sep 24, 2020

By Bgrayrob - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia
Source: By Bgrayrob - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

I’m honored to have a couple hundred of my statements quoted on quotation websites. Here are 31 that seem particularly appropriate for readers of this How to Do Life blog on Psychology Today. For some of the quotes, I amplify.


A career is like a suit of clothes: To look its best, it must be tailored and accessorized. For example, if you’re a helping professional, what specialty would make you most helpful? Whatever your career, should you try to get your job description tweaked?

What skill of yours has given you the most success? Use it more. Don’t know? List your few most significant accomplishments. Any common threads?

In managing (and parenting), praise when you can, and when you can’t, try invoking guilt, e.g., “I know you’re better than this.”

If you have a clearly good idea, to avoid getting talked out of it, get input only on how to better execute it.


The most powerful motivator may not be fear – People go back to bad habits even after a heart attack. Could the most powerful motivator be to prove oneself right?

When overwhelmed, after doing any needed planning, just stay in the moment and put one foot in front of the other.

To boost motivation: what’s your next 1-second task? It feels good to get even a tiny part done, make progress, and perhaps learn something that will facilitate further progress.

We hear stories of persistence that is rewarded. Yet for each of those, many people have pressed on only to end up broken or broke.

Might you be wise to focus more on self-acceptance than on self-improvement? That might even motivate you to improve.


To boost self-esteem, accept that you’re flawed like everyone, do what you’re good at, and accomplish: Even small wins boost self-esteem.

School can give a false sense of confidence or of loserhood. Too often, school success doesn't predict life success.

Personal Growth

A valuable way to spend a dollar? A memo pad. Keep it with you at all times. Think of ideas. Write them down. Implement them.

If you want to lock in a new attitude or behavior, say and/or write it and why. Then keep paraphrasing, not reading it. If you just read it, it won’t penetrate any more than does the Pledge of Allegiance recited by school children.

Books that assert, “If it worked for me, it can work for you” often aren’t helpful because typical readers are less efficacious than authors are.


Talking too much is a relationship and career killer. Keep most utterances to under 45 seconds and in dialogue, speak a bit less than half the time.

Before making an argument, ask a likely opponent to lay out the counterargument. Your argument can then incorporate that.

Scratch the surface of thinking ideologues and you’ll likely find doubts. Ask, “Ever wondered whether the other side might be right?”

It's sad that many people prefer a silly, manipulative, games-playing, selfish hottie over an ugly, intense, honest, kind person.

An important double standard: If a statement favors additional redistribution, it tends to get praised. If favoring meritocracy, it’s usually censored and/or censured.

Some people are nice to compensate for not being good.

The Life Well-Led

Far more of life’s pleasures are in the process than in the outcome.  So, be in the moment. I’ve written 12 books. In my first, I rushed to get it done so I could see it in print. That pleasure was  evanescent. Since then, I try to enjoy the process of writing, and that has yielded far more pleasure.

God resides within us: It is our wisest attitudes and actions.

It’s easy to be liked: listen more than talk, praise often, and disagree rarely. The question is, is it worth the loss of integrity?

Successful, productive people fuel themselves mainly with their work rather than recreation.

Key to a well-led life is maximizing your contribution. Happiness, less central, is most likely found in simple pleasures.

In your desire to stand out from the horde, beware of hyping yourself or your ideas, or taking inappropriately extreme positions.

In our efforts to make everything equal, could we end up with everyone having little?

Be tough when you must, kind when you can.

Senescence is inevitable. All we can do is try to strike the balance between graceful acceptance and raging against the dying light.

It all comes down to this: Do good.

I read this aloud on YouTube.