This blog has a dozen posts about physical and mental health, but I thought that I’d contribute something about raising one’s morale. Just as it’s easy to become a myopic, spine-bent, jelly-bellied lard arse by being a writer, so it’s easy to turn into feeling like you’re your own worst enemy spiritually—a self-critical slave to drudgery.
I’ve been collecting quotes, sayings, poems and aphorisms for forty years, and sometimes haul out my ring-binder files to boost my spirit with the thoughts of others wiser than me. There are thousands of things been written about the process of writing, but my four quotes here come from some very different men and can be applied to tackling life overall as well as how to approach one’s creativity.
Everyone knows Steve McQueen the film actor, a man renowned for his toughness, derring-do with cars and motorcycles, as well as his womanising. Few are aware of the tough start in life that he had, with a father who deserted the family, a promiscuous drunken mother, a physically abusive stepfather and trouble with the law. He was behaving in a very self-destructive way, but turned his life around with the discipline of being in the Marines, followed by learning the craft of acting.
He later observed that :
‘The world is as good as you are. You have to learn to like yourself first.’
Henry Ford transformed the automobile industry through the use of the assembly line. He may have done wonders for popularising the use of the car, but he was a vile man in lots of ways. Although he claimed to be a pacifist, he was also an anti-Semitic fascist who supported Hitler.
All the same, he was a go-getter and came up with some great advice about attitude:
Doctor Robert Schuller was Ford’s diametrical opposite, a Christian minister and motivational speaker. He authored over thirty books on the power of positive thinking. He was famed for his pithy sayings, but one of my favourites tackles the way that we tend to stop ourselves from doing things – often through self-doubt, laziness or fear :
The last quote comes from a hard-nosed union leader, whose father did a disappearing act. To be more accurate Jimmy Hoffa was probably ‘disappeared’ by organised crime thugs, with whom he’d had dealings. His son James P. Hoffa took over the reins of the Teamsters some twenty-five years after his father vanished. This must have required some moxie, and I like the double-edged thought he had, (which could be applied to borrowing ideas if you’re of a literary bent), as well as being firm encouragement to stiffen your resolve :
‘You only get what you are big enough to take.’