Words from Another

This week, we asked our eMentors: What are some of your favorite quotes, and why? See what they had to say below.


I have lots and lots of favorite quotes and proverbs; I do not really know where to begin. My favorite kinds are Chinese proverbs because they have very deep and interesting meanings but they are at the same time witty. I have picked some of my favorite quotes that are relevant to mentoring. Some interesting ones that I enjoy are:

“Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your permission.” – Arnold Bennett

“Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives.” – Robert Collier

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen.  Keep in the sunlight.” – Benjamin Franklin

The reason why I like the above three quotes is because they are very encouraging and powerful. They are essentially all saying keep a positive attitude, and what you hold in your mind you can make a reality. I think the message is very motivating to have positive attitudes and to dream big. One quote that is written on the University of Washington’s Psychology Department’s website is “The mind is wider than the sky.” As a psychology major this quote makes me really happy because it is a simple phrase that captures the limitless possibilities and capacities the mind has. I think this makes a person feel powerful and in control of their life. Essentially what the quotes are saying is that individuals are creators of their own faith by what they hold in their minds.

The Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” is one of my favorites because it makes every individual feel responsible to changing the world. But, it also gives the sense that anyone (any mentor, educator, parent…) has the ability to teach someone something valuable.


“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you… AS we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”– Nelson Mandela (1994)”

When I construct this quote in my head I imagine myself walked through really tall brush, possibly in the jungle, with a machete hacking out a trail where there previously was not one. This is about breaking down social, cultural or political barriers so that others may follow you to greater freedom. It might seem like this is a really lofty quote but I think it can apply to everyday life as well- anytime you do something because you believe it’s right even though it is outside of what people normally do you are blazing a trail from anything as small as treating a homeless person with dignity to refusing to move to the back of the bus (Rosa Parks).

“I give because others take.” Red Cross man

I was walking through downtown Seattle by Pike Place Market with a friend of mine from Germany; we were stopped by a man with a clipboard and a vest with a giant red cross on it. He was soliciting donations for the Red Cross. We talked for like 15 minutes and he mentioned a tattoo he was getting that said “I give because others take”. It’s a little pretentious, but I liked the message that if everyone would just do a little bit to give back our most vulnerable could be cared for- but instead like that game Hungry Hungry Hippos our society is obsessed with getting as many marbles as possible no matter what the expense to other people. The Red Cross man is trying to restore the balance between those that give to the world and those that take from it, and I try to do some community service when I can to do the same.

“Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.” – George Carlin

Little catch phrase quotes like “honesty is the best policy” drive me crazy and I love George Carlin because he pokes holes in all of them. If you can’t be honest, second best is pretty good right? I’ll take a silver medal any day!

“In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation” Iroquois Native American saying

This quote has become a rallying cry for a lot of environmentalists and closet hippies like myself who are concerned about our conduct with the planet permanently damaging it for future generations. I love learning about how despite our iPads and trips to the moon in an ecological sense we are so far behind indigenous American cultures. And while, looking 7 generations to the future may be too much to ask for society, I like the sentiment, and even if we could look one or two generations ahead we could start to protect things for the next generations like our natural resources.

“Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh I donno, I sing in the shower? Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I’ll hit somebody with my car. So sue me– no, don’t sue me. That is opposite the point I’m trying to make.”  Michael Scott – The Office

I had to put up an Office quote because it is likely the best television show ever created. I love this because it’s a great example of Michael’s ramblings ending nowhere near where they started and you can tell he doesn’t think before he starts talking.


“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
~Winston Churchill

I like this quote because it is simple and it has a really powerful message; no matter how hard life gets, you have to keep going. Sometimes the secret to overcoming challenges and obstacles is just patience and persistence.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~Margaret Mead

This quote might be overused, but I really think it’s one of the best ones out there. I like it because it provides me with the inspiration I need to continue serving. My life has been defined in large part by my involvement with social justice and public service oriented programs so I really do believe that the efforts of a small group of people can change the world.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
~President Obama
I like this quote because it relays a sense of urgency.  If you’re passionate about something, do something about it.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote pretty much sums up my perspective on life. We can’t control our past and we can’t always control our future but we do have the ability to control our outlook on things. If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed I think about this quote and tell myself that I am bigger than anything that could ever happen to me.


“Now whenever someone happens upon his matching half it’s an amazing thing to witness. The lucky couple is suddenly enclosed by such a degree of affection and intimacy and love that they will refuse to be separated for even a moment.” – Plato

I’m a romantic at heart.  The Symposium is essentially a bunch of old guys philosophizing on what love is, so not much of a plotline.  However, it’s full of gems like the quotation above.  This one is taken from a monologue describing how human beings used to be fused together in twos, but they angered the gods and were split apart, destined to be forever looking for their true other half.  Slightly melodramatic, yes, but the quote’s beautiful and it pops into my head whenever I think about love.

Ok, so I know this isn’t a quotation, but I think it’s close enough, so I’m going to talk about it anyway.  I love these bumper stickers.    I don’t know why I haven’t bought one yet.  Religion is a fascinating, complex topic and I truly enjoy learning about all the different beliefs that pepper the world.  In my mind, they all have something of value to contribute.

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”

Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy

I have to confess that I actually haven’t made it all the way through Anna Karenina.  I’ve started three different times, getting further every attempt, but I haven’t ever been able to make it to the finish line.  However, this quotation was in the first chapter and I love it more and more every time I read it.  It wraps up how I view existence.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8

I used to have the hardest time spending the night away from home when I was in elementary school.  I could never make it through the night at sleepovers; I either wouldn’t sleep a wink or I’d call my mom to come get me at one in the morning.  When it came time for 6th grade camp, I was determined to go.  My mom very sweetly found me this verse, wrote it in a picture frame, and told me to repeat it whenever I felt nervous that week.  It worked; I still have that picture frame on my bookshelf.

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