MBR 2018: Themes + Inspirational Quotes for the Year

MBR 2018: Themes + Inspirational Quotes for the Year

January 08, 2018

A Make Believe Reality


For the past three years, I’ve spent the beginning of January putting together a series of my drawings on original photography (mostly from our travels the past year), accompanied by a selection of themes and quotes that have personal meaning to me. I collect them into A Make Believe Reality calendar, which reflects in part the year that has passed and the year that is to come. You can see my prior posts on 2017, 2016 and 2015.

Each year, I have been doing a limited print run for anyone who'd like one but I only shared the final quote selections. This year I wanted to start by sharing the themes and the quotes I collected. The bolded quote is the one I've decided to use, but I wanted to share all the ones I was considering as each is powerful to me.

[Update: The limited print run is now closed, but the digital calendar remains available to download. It really means a lot to me to see how many of you have also gotten the calendars before, and to hear throughout the year how these images and words have helped you. Thank you!]


"To be everywhere is to be nowhere." - Seneca

"You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain

"That’s been one of my mantras- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard or get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains." - Steve Jobs

"I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe." - Dalai Lama

"Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow." - Aesop

"It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?" - Henry David Thoreau


"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

"We are being sold a very simplistic morality by our leaders at a time when nuance and understanding are at a premium." - Hari Kunzru

"Demands for solidarity can quickly turn into demands for groupthink, making it difficult to express nuance." - Roxane Gay

"God is in the details." - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe


“My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.” - Marcel Proust

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius

"For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are."
C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." – Edgar Allan Poe


"Two monologues do not make a dialogue." - Jeff Daly

"Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

"Give me the gift of a listening heart." – King Solomon

"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." – Tony Robbins

"Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow." – Lawrence Clark Powell


“Be the change you want to see in this world.” - Gandhi

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life." – JK Rowling

"I don't want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up." – Malala Yousafzai

"It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer." – Albert Einstein

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained." – Marie Curie


“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Fredrick Nietzsche

"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable." – Madeleine L’Engle

"The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed." – Ernest Hemingway


“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” – Abraham Lincoln

"Let us forgive each other—only then will we live in peace." - Leo Tolstoy

"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison." – Nelson Mandela

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." – Nelson Mandela

"You can acknowledge and learn from the mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself." – Eckhart Tolle

"To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it." – Confucius


“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” - Og Mandino

"Only actions give life strength; only moderation gives it charm." – John Paul Richter

"Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance." – Epicurus



“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee

"Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." – George Bernard Shaw

"Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." – Carl Jung


“Those who wish to sing, always find a song.” - Swedish Proverb

"A good criterion for measuring success in life is the number of people you have made happy." – Robert J. Lumsden

"There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for." – J.R.R. Tolkien

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." – Helen Keller


“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” - Audrey Hepburn

"Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul." – William Hazlitt

"With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world." – Dalai Lama

"Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her." – Lao Tzu


“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” - C.G. Jung

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway." 
- Mother Theresa

"You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere." - John Coltrane

"Life is never incomplete if it is an honorable one. At whatever point you leave life, if you leave it in the right way, it is whole." – Seneca


"Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth." - Rumi

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them- that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." - Lao Tzu

"We are an impossibility in an impossible universe." – Ray Bradbury

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go." - Dr. Seuss


Why not make your own collection of inspiration for the year? Come up with 12 themes and traits that are meaningful to you. Google "quotes about [insert theme here]" and select your favorites. Compile them into a document that will be easy for you to reach back to throughout the year. Enjoy!



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