Memorable Quotations for a Pandemic
Memorable quotations can be motivational, inspirational, and thought provoking. I’ve always loved those one-sentence pieces that can easily be placed on coffee cups, posters, and bumper stickers. I can remember times when reading just the right words uplifted or challenged me to think differently. When finishing my first (and only) marathon, this quote popped into my head for those last grueling two miles: “If you think you can, if you think you can’t, you’re right”. Pithy sayings often allow me to make clear points when speaking to groups. For example, when considering a change, you might ask, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Or perhaps one of my favorite quotations about leadership came from a guy wearing a worn yellow tee shirt in Texas with this phrase: “If you aren’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” In each case, the short sentence caused me to think, sometimes even act, or deliver a message.
Psychology Today authors recently presented 10 of the best quotations from psychology. Three of them resonated with me particularly given our current pandemic. I offer them as part relief, understanding, and assistance to you in our current challenge.
“When I look at the world, I’m pessimistic, but when I look at people, I’m optimistic”
This quotation perfectly summarizes how I feel during this pandemic. The non-stop news cycle, filled with controversies over tests, treatments, and tracking fill me with pessimism. And at the same time, stories of small business owners finding creative ways to survive, homecoming celebrations with car horns, and people on the front lines serving others inspire me. Consider the words of recently profiled cardiologist Sarah Rosanel who has worked tirelessly in a Brooklyn hospital trying to save patients and yet has watched many die alone. Her family implored her not to go back to the hospital but she countered to a reporter….”it was a moral duty to go. I love my children more than anything in the world, I love my husband, but I explained to them this is the job. This is who I am. I am a fighter. This is not the day I’m going to give up.”
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
My experience is that people often find what they look for. Author and researcher Jim Collins might suggest that it is best to confront the brutal facts about a situation. There are things you can’t change in this pandemic. But you can view some traditions differently. May and June would typically be the months for high school and college graduations. In fact, the current high schoolers graduating this year began their lives during the year of 9/11 and are completing high school in a pandemic. A superintendent friend recently announced graduation would still be held in the school auditorium in May. How? By creatively and selectively inviting parents and limited friends to come at a prescribed time and watch their capped and gowned loved one hear their name called, walk across the stage, and pick up their diploma. All kids will participate at different safe times with no crowds, as will graduation speakers, singers, et. al. Then each student will receive their graduation video with the entire ceremony assembled together showing the full ceremony. When I asked superintendent Glen East, “why not wait until it is safe to have everyone at the same time?“, he answered, “we have one of the country’s largest ROTC programs and many students will be gone two weeks after graduation to serve in the military.“ A perfect example of seeing something another way.
“Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”
This quotation taken from Erich Fromm’s book, “The Art of Loving”, puts a fine point on his thesis that giving love is how you influence your happiness and those of others. A friend stopped by this week and left a small package of baked goodies on my porch. I hope it made her as happy giving them as it improved my mood. Another friend lifts her Mom’s spirits in a rehab facility through the large window in her room. Find ways to give to others in this national moment of uncertainty. Tips to workers supporting us, notes to old friends, and perhaps goodies to your neighbors. It will elevate your aliveness and become my final quote: “a gift that keeps on giving!”