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The Keys to Creating Yourself in Quotes

Self-esteem, persistence, courage and belief are interrelated and inseparable keys to personal development, resilience and success, in fact to the human creative faculty itself. They are also persistently and consistently suppressed in our culture.

We are taught from an early age that our prospects in life depend on how others perceive us. We are discouraged from taking risks and following our dreams in the name of “realism” which is nothing more than skepticism in disguise. By allowing this belief structure of victimhood, dissuasion and discouragement to rule our lives, we crush our own innate creative capacity to manifest beauty, goodness and truth in the world.

It is not in the nature of human beings to experience happiness or fulfillment unless they are creating something good in the world, in accordance with the unique vision and passion that is given to each of us. This is an inconvenient truth for many societies, a disruptive and uncomfortable truth, a truth that rejects conformity and denounces the image of human being as a compliant worker in the halls of industry as a sin against human nature.

This ongoing and worldwide struggle with the forces of discouragement goes on in the battlefields of our hearts and minds and spirits. We offer these quotes as inspiration to press onward to victory in that struggle.


“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
– Frederick Douglass

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
– Carl Jung

“I don’t want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.”
– Henry James

“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions … Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
– Tina Fey

“No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not knock those who work with him. Don’t knock your friends. Don’t knock your enemies. Don’t knock yourself.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
– Shakyamuni Buddha

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself.”
– Anais Nin

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anaïs Nin

“Let’s remember that our children’s spirits are more important than any material things. When we do, self-esteem and love blossoms and grows more beautifully than any bed of flowers ever could.”
– Jack Canfield
“Greater self-esteem produces greater success, and greater success produces more high self-esteem, so it keeps on spiraling up.”
– Jack Canfield



“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

“Let the man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim. Attacking is his only secret. Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb.”
– William Thackeray

“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.”
– Napoleon Hill

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
– Japanese Proverb

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
– Albert Einstein

“Saints are sinners who kept on going.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
– Mark Twain

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
– Anaïs Nin

“Freedom lies in being bold.”
– Robert Frost

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”
– Erma Bombeck

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.”
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”
– John Quincy Adams

“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.”
– Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.”
– Brian Tracy

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
– Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“A man of courage is also full of faith.”
– Marcus Tulius Cicero

“Courage consists not in hazarding without fear; but being resolutely minded in a just cause.”
– Plutarch


“More persons, on the whole, are humbugged by believing in nothing, than by believing too much.”
– P. T. Barnum

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”
– Anthony Robbins

“To believe a thing is impossible is to make it so.”
– French Proverb

“If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.”
– Anthony Robbins

“One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests.”
– John Stuart Mill

“If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.”
– Dale Carnegie

“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”
– James Joyce

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright


We see from these quotes not only the importance of these four keys to the creative force, but their interrelation. Courage rests on self-esteem, persistence arises from belief, and each of these qualities multiplies each of the others. We also see traces of the correct and incorrect forms of each of these qualities, as in Twain’s quote about moral and physical courage. It is also clear that an academic, intellectual belief is not the kind of belief that can change the world. Hopefully, these quotes will inspire you to cultivate the sort of belief that can.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

How to build a truly excellent day, every day

Excellent days don’t happen by themselves.  They’re built.  We have to build them.  This is a process that requires intention, planning and foresight.


Step 1: Building Basic Supports

Do you wake up feeling terrible?  Ask yourself what you’ve been eating and drinking recently, if you’ve exercised, if you’ve set aside time for meditation, energy work and all the other things that set you up for a day of feeling great.  What you eat today, the time you take to exercise and meditate sets you up for a better tomorrow.


Step 2: Goals

Take a moment to sit down and write out how you spend an average 24 hour day.  Then review your priorities for that day.  Did your use of time accord with your priorities and your longer-term plans?  Did you do what you had planned to do?  How extensively did you plan your day, and how much of the plan translated into reality?  When and how did your day get sidetracked?

Most of us schedule our lives based on urgency rather than importance.  We scramble to get things done based on urgency.  Dilbert’s boss has three boxes on his desk: “Aging,” “Crisis” and “Moot.”  Many of us end up organising our lives that way.  We wait for everything to become a crisis, so that the important things are squeezed out by the urgent things.  Only by refusing to do this, by scheduling based on importance first and urgency second can we reverse the trend.

So, about those priorities- ask yourself what really gives your life meaning.  What really feeds your passion?  What will help you to grow or feed your desire to grow?  What will help you become who and what you want to be?  What feelings do you want to cultivate?  What relationships would you like to have?  What contributions do you want to make?  Like a personal mission statement, the answers to these questions become the criterion by which you assess your priorities.

Next, list your roles.  We each have a number of legitimate roles to fill in life, and we need to balance them for the sake of our own happiness and self-trust.  Personal development, by the way, is a perfectly legitimate role.  Try to keep the list to seven items or fewer to keep it manageable.

Write out your goals and priorities for the week.  What do you want to accomplish?  We all know the feeling of waking up and knowing that there are a thousand different nitty-gritty tasks competing for our attention.  It’s much better to plan out a set of goals we can actually accomplish, starting with the ones that are meaningful to us, than to live under siege.  Schedule in time for yourself and your family, and especially for quiet reflection and recharge.

Resolve to think about your ideal future when you get up in the morning, whenever you have a free moment during the day, and before you go to bed at night.  If you make the plan and then don’t think about it, you will never do anything to further it.


Step 3: Intention

What do you want your day to look like?  How do you want to feel?  Take a moment to visualise it.  If you have no intention for the day, if you have no idea of what feelings you want to create, how will you create a great day rather than a terrible one?


Step 4: Morning Routine

Your alarm clock goes off.  You smash the snooze button in a half-conscious outburst of anger against the soul-crushing machinery of modern life.  It goes off again.  This time, take a moment to create the feelings that you want for the day.  Don’t jump out of bed- your energy system doesn’t appreciate the morning shock treatment.  Instead, concentrate for a moment on proper abdominal breathing.  Keep your mind clear- it’ll help that your brain wants to go back to sleep anyway.  Once you’ve established a state of calm, get up slowly.  Stretch.  Take a moment for yourself, to think about what you want to accomplish that day, to meditate or pray, to take the dog for a walk in the morning air, to get in some outdoor exercise, whatever it may be.  It’s worth waking up a little earlier to establish this groundwork for the day.


Step 5: Establishing Creative Mode

Our usual, survival mode thought patterns are extremely dissonant and reactive, producing incoherent brain waves.  My knee hurts, my boss doesn’t like me, my roof is leaking, I need more money, I’m craving chocolate, the house smells like popcorn, and I wish I were doing something else than what I’m doing.  All different kinds of things from the past, present and future draw and scatter our attention.  Our senses and our imagination become the enemies of mental coherence.  The creative brain, on the other hand, has extremely coherent brainwaves.  We need to clear out these distractions to allow that creative coherence to come in.  Think about it- can you be in a state of joy and fulfillment and still have your attention scattered?

Take a creative goal that is meaningful to you, and resolve to do something to further it or learn more about it every day, and to participate in an activity related to it once a week.  Thinking + doing, repeated consistently, leads to a state of being.  Establish time to focus exclusively on that one thing, without distractions.  Let go of past and future and just be present.  Then go on to do some light physical tasks and let your subconscious chew on it.



There’s much more to each of these steps, of course, which we’ll get into later on.  But there is also more than enough here for you to take a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad day and set yourself up for a better tomorrow.


Next Steps

If you would like to get the inside track on exactly how this science of creating your day (and, by extension, your life) really works, you might like to join us this coming Thursday night, May 29, for a special teleclass on this very subject, where we’ll go much deeper into the “how to” details.

You can reserve your seat here (and you also need to reserve your seat in order to receive the replay):


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Creative Liberation

Thirty spokes join in one hub

In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle

Mix clay to create a container

In its emptiness, there is the function of a container

Cut open doors and windows to create a room

In its emptiness, there is the function of a room

Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit

That which is empty is used to create function

  • Lao Tzu


Just as the waters of the great oceans all have one taste, the taste of salt, so too all true teachings have but one taste, the taste of liberation.

  • Sakyamuni Buddha


Liberation of the Creative Faculty

Emptiness and liberation aren’t words that we usually associate with creativity.  In our society, creativity is more often associated with words like genius, cleverness, intelligence- words that suggest the starring role of the rational mind.  Creativity in the popular mind is one part rational and one part sensual.  Ancient traditions of personal development around the world have a different perspective.  In order to fully engage the vast, unique creative potential that is inherent in our being, we first have to divest ourselves of the internal obstacles that stand in the way, foremost the interference of the rational mind. 

The intuitive guidance system and the creative faculty are one and the same.  As such, they are not intrinsically part of the rational mind.  Conscious thinking will not in itself activate the creative faculty.  We always try to do it that way, to force ourselves to be creative by being rational, and we always get frustrated because it never works.  Think of the rational mind as the advisor.  It plans, collects and processes inputs and keeps your creative faculty apprised.  It can’t do the driving, and it cannot be in charge of the results.

That fact makes us very uncomfortable, because we have to trust a process we don’t see and can’t predict.  We have to simply let ourselves create and let the results take care of themselves.  Our Newtonian mindsets hate that. 

As Lao Tzu suggests, function requires emptiness, both in the physical world and within human beings.  Likewise, liberation in the Buddhist tradition means foremost liberation of the mind from itself.  It is through this emptiness, this liberation that the Buddha nature within us is freed.  So what obstacles do we have to liberate ourselves from?  The language of each tradition is a little different, but the overall picture is remarkably consistent.



The great Lakota Sioux holy man Fools Crow described himself as a “hollow bone” (in other words, a conduit) for the power of God, and that is not far from the dynamic we are describing.  Thoughts and opinions and ego and worry and all the other rational and emotive and sensory things that we do when we try to engage in creativity throw us out of alignment with our own creative centre, which is not in the rational mind but above it, and is, and is supposed to be, our direct conduit to the creative power that imbues the universe.  Everything that distracts from that just blocks the pipe.  Before performing sacred acts, Fools Crow would ask God to release him from everything that inhibited that flow, even physically pulling out those thoughts and feelings.

First, we have to withdraw our attention, and therefore our energy, from all of the imaginary and sensual and thought-based distractions which compete for our attention every day.  By so doing, we conserve our energy and concentrate our attention at a single point in the present moment.

Second, we have to learn to stop thinking, to let our minds be empty, to not worry, not remember, not imagine, not deliberate or judge, for at least a short period of time.  The practice of emptiness is a long and slow one that requires daily effort.

Of course, it’s not that simple.  Even in the quiet of our minds, we are bound by defensive ego and past traumatic experiences that reinforce that defensiveness.  We may be empty of thought, but we are not yet aligned.  True relaxation of the defensive ego – the state that has been called both liberation and surrender – is by far the most difficult struggle we may ever face, but it is the only path to peace with ourselves, the universe and God.

This is not to negate the rational, emotional or sensual faculties.  We do need them, to learn what we need to know in order to create, and we make use of them in the act of creating.  But in between, there is a different state, a state that could be called nonduality or emptiness or no mind or stillness or a dozen other things, the state in which everything we are is lined up behind that creative faculty, ready for that primal spark to give them inspiration.  As Fools Crow also observed, we can take in an awful lot of information, but without that spark, it becomes a logjam that we can’t move.  To reach this state consistently, there can be no worry, no insecurity, no grasping after anything, no interference of fixed opinions or mindsets, no exertion of willpower toward the results.  There can only be the liberation of a mind free from fixed concepts and simple belief.  We lose ourselves in order to find ourselves.


In Action

Creative problem solving involves two stages.  In the first, we gather all the information, think about the problem, focus on it, imagine the end product and cultivate a burning desire to solve the problem.  In other words, we give it our total intensity of focus.  In the second stage, however, once we’ve informed ourselves as completely as possible, once we’ve thought everything through, we have to let go and stop worrying.  Let your intuitive mechanism figure it out.  This is generally a good time to engage in light physical tasks- gardening, cooking, dish-washing and so on- the kinds of activities that engage your mind and attention, drawing your rational mind away from the problem without overloading it, but leaving the rest of the mind free to work.  This is when people report “bolts from the blue,” the hunches and new concepts that completely transform their approach.

This is how we must approach cerebral problems, but the same applies to performance- giving a talk, performing a piece of music and so on.  It is when we can relax and allow the task to do itself that great things happen.  Great performance is spontaneous, not self-conscious.  Conscious thought and practice are necessary beforehand, but when the time comes, conscious thought only inhibits the creative flow. 

Wishing you a CREATIVE week!


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Boosting Your Creativity for a Happier Life

The urge to create is an intensely human one. Archaeologists primarily use cave paintings to determine the point at which we became truly human. The earliest of these paintings was created 34 000 years ago. Every person that has ever lived has felt the urge to leave some record, some imprint behind; they want some mark to show, “I was here, and I accomplished something.” Whether that was a particular kill as drawn on a cave wall or a novel worthy of a Pulitzer, we crave the translation of our innermost thoughts and self to some sort of artistic expression. This may take any form, from visual art (sculpture, painting, etc.) to music, dance, writing or even acting out another character in theater.

To deny this creative instinct is to cut off an essential aspect of your humanity and to suffer the emotional consequences.  In other words, creativity is fundamental to your Personal Resilience!  Human beings are creative by nature and not happy unless they’re in creation mode.

And yet, many people choose to abandon their creative pursuits, often unconsciously: whether it’s a new job, a new relationship or the arrival of children, many find that life seems to conspire against the very time and energy they once used to be creative.  But it’s never too late – you can reclaim and nurture your creativity…

Three Ways to Nurture Your Creativity

Document Your Experience: Many people have discovered that finding originality and significance in a sometimes random-seeming series of personal experiences can bring meaning to their lives. This can be achieved through artistic journaling, scrapbooking, or painting. You can make it whatever you want. I have a friend that has a journal composed completely of poetry. Remember: it doesn’t have to be museum-worthy! As long as you’re expressing yourself, you’ll reap the rewards. However, if you’re up to it, studies have shown that actually sharing a personal creation with others stimulates the same pleasure centres in the brain as sex, sleep and eating.

Act Out: Live your life in a way that is extra-ordinary. Creativity doesn’t have to be restricted to creating masterpieces but also to creating a life that is imaginative and inspired. It’s about making creative choices in the situations that confront you day by day. Make up a new recipe! Go on a road trip! Take a different route to school or work. Park/get off the bus early and walk to your destination. Try a new sport. Nurture curiosity, positivity and open-mindedness.

Imagine you wake up one morning and put on electric-green eye shadow instead of your usual beige tint. Then you call a friend and invite her on a spontaneous road trip to a city you’ve never visited. While there, you order dessert for lunch at the local diner. Then on the way home you tell a long, hilarious anecdote that makes your friend  laugh for two minutes straight. Would you call such a day merely interesting, or an expression of your creative self?”

– Carlin Flora, Psychology Today

Support the Creativity of Others: Try going to the plays, poetry readings, ballets, open mic nights, improv sessions, opera and concerts in your community. From Shakespeare in the Park to your local community theatre, soaking up the artistry of others can help you develop your own sense of creativity and stimulate your own imagination. Helping to support the arts in your community will also feel great!

Three Ways to Quash Your Creativity

Fear Failure: Being afraid of what could happen if you try something unusual or unique is a surefire way to lead a less creative life. Don’t be afraid that what you create won’t meet some imagined standard. Don’t fall into the kind of thinking that being “creative” or “talented” is genetic – that stops many people from trying something they’ve never tried before. They only try things they think they’ll succeed in. If you want to squash your creative impulses – be afraid of embarrassing yourself!

Self-Censorship: This means that you only of things that are ‘okay’ to think about, revealing only the parts of yourself that you are happy with. It means expecting nothing less than to be perfect in all that you say and do. It’s also a very good way to prevent the unrestricted flow of ideas. On that note, another good way to prevent creativity is to …

Wait for the Perfect Idea: No need to go out and buy paint supplies, register for a class, or start a blog – the perfect way to quash creativity is to wait for it to fall into your lap. Innovation is close at hand, but you do have to reach out and grab onto it! A excellent way to let a perfectly good idea pass you by is to dismiss it in favour of a possibly better one.

A Challenge for You

Creativity is a valuable part of society and of us. Cultivate it in order to become the most positive, bright and fully-rounded version of yourself. Being open to new ideas, new innovations and fresh methods of building your health and your resilience will all come from creative thinking. Encourage your creativity this week!  Here’s a challenge to help you…

  1. Write down your current creative outlets
  2. What other forms has creativity taken in our life?
  3. Which of those, if any, would you consider doing again (assuming you had all the resources necessary to do it)?
  4. Pick one creative thing to do over the next week and pay close attention to how good it makes you feel to think about it and then to do it!

I’ll conclude with some quotes about creativity from a totally exceptional group of creative young people:

To me, creativity is about taking a different approach to an problem than other people would. Doing that is fulfilling, and you get recognized for that.”

Art represents all that is fun, interesting and innovative in the world.”

In order to be creative your mind has to be relaxed. That’s how your right brain works. That’s why you get your best ideas while taking a walk or in the shower. So really, it’s good motivation to de-stress.” [Notice here the mind-body connection!]

Creativity gives you perspective and balance.”

Being creative is an outlet. Without that outlet I personally feel I that I wouldn’t be living to my full potential.”

Creativity is … thinking deeply about our experience, about life, and providing a unique take on it.”

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger