Keep Calm and Carry On was a World War 2 government poster discovered in a dusty box over 10 years ago. Though it never saw the light of day in 1939 (it was only supposed to go up if Britain was invaded), it has become hugely popular since its re-discovery.
Keep Calm and Carry On: Good Advice For Hard Times is the book of the poster. A mixture of advice, entertainment and inspiration to go through life. I’ve had this book for about as long as it’s been released, and I absolutely love it. The quotes inside the book are all classified in 2 main categories:
- Keep Calm
- Carry On
Keep calm is mainly about money, work and greed.
Carry on is about happiness, friendship and the good life.
Here are 10 of my favourite quotes from this book.
1. “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow”
— Swedish Proverb
Every minute you spend worrying is a minute you could spend on yourself, things you have to do, or with the people you love.
There’s not much use worrying about things that haven’t happened, that might never happen. And when they do happen, don’t give them too big of a shadow. You’ll realise they’re not as bad as you thought they were going to be.
Worrying is a source of stress and a waste of energy. A good rule of thumb is to consider that at least 50% of what you worry about should be erased from your mind. Just forget it.
2. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant”
— Robert Louis Stevenson
So many people pick up something and drop it a short time after. They expect things to happen in the blink of an eye, success to happen tomorrow.
They don’t want the bad days, the doubts and the failures. They want the harvest but not the hard work of growing the seeds. As Amy Chan puts it in this recent interview: “all of the seeds I’ve been planting are growing finally, and now I can see the garden.”
Most of the time, there are no shortcuts in life. Shortcuts usually involve luck or shady circumstances, and you shouldn’t rely on any of that.
As long as you put in the work.
As long as you show up.
As long as you don’t give up.
As long as you keep going through the bad days.
As long as you don’t rest on your laurels.
You’ll plant seeds.
Out of all the seeds you plant day after day, you’ll eventually get a few to grow and crack through the soil of hard work and sweat. Eventually they’ll blossom into nice fruits: your goals.
The best way to success is to put your head down and get to work no matter the weather, no matter the harvest.
3. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”
— Dale Carnegie
Relationships are the heaviest component of your life, so choose them wisely. Often times we hang out with more people who drag us down rather than lift us up. The key is to minimise toxic interactions as much as possible on one side, and grow new fulfilling relationships on the other side.
Go meet people who are better than you at what you want to do.
Interact with those people, learn from them.
Implement their techniques and routines.
To be a master, do like the master.
When you’re trying to be interesting, you close up. When you become interested, you open up.
4. “A vigorous 5-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world”
— Paul Dudley White
Walking is amazing. The World Health Organisation recommends 8000 daily steps as a minimum. If you work a normal office job and sit in front of a screen a lot, you’d be surprised at how little you walk throughout the day.
A walk in the morning or after a day of work feels amazing. You can rest your mind, look at the world around you. Don’t take your phone with you, take a small notepad.
Take the time to actually do nothing, just walk and think. When an idea hits you, write it down, don’t overthink it. Walking is one of the simplest ways to enjoy life.
5. “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle”
You can’t get along with everyone in life. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kind. You don’t know what people have been through, you don’t know where people come from.
Some people might come off as rude, annoying, even stupid or pathetic to you. That’s only your opinion and sometimes it’s better to keep it to yourself.
Everyone has a story, and even if you’re right, this person most likely has a past that shaped them this way. Not everyone handles life the same way, not everyone can handle the things that get thrown at them.
If you feel like there’s a small chance you could change your mind, get to know the person and try to get along.
Instead of judging look at yourself and see how YOU can improve.
6. “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify”
— Henry David Thoreau
There is so much clutter in our lives, so many ways to make everything lighter.
On the material side
- Own less
- Clean more
- Question what you buy
- If it takes less than 5 mins to fix, do it now
- If it’s not broken, don’t fix it
- Done is better than perfect
On the psychological side
- Spend the time needed to make a decision, then don’t look back on it
- Don’t try to hide, be honest. A little lie can go a long way making your life 10x more complicated
- Cut off unnecessary relationships
- Let go of your ego
- Let go of what you can’t control
- Let go of anger
7. “Happiness depends upon ourselves”
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen covey talks about the importance of creating your own weather.
This concept doesn’t apply only to happiness. It is a way of living that leads up to happiness. Any situation that makes you feel a certain way does so because you let it influence you in that specific way.
If you believe that external factors are the source of whatever unplesant way you’re feeling, then you let life happen to you. You’re in a reactive mode, not a proactive one.
When you’re triggered emotionally, you can choose how you will respond. It just takes training.
“Between stimulus (what happens to us) and response (how we react to what happens to us there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose.”
— Stephen Covey
Look at the bright side of things, and always try to be conscious about how you react to things.
8. “Better bread with water than cake with trouble”
— Russian proverb
Don’t go after things that might bring trouble when you already have what you need right in front of you.
There is a fine line between being driven and being full of greed. Being driven means going for specific goals with a plan in mind, and being willing to learn along the way. Being greedy means always wanting more no matter what, and not caring about the journey or the means.
Enjoy the simple things in life, look back and be happy with what you have accomplished.
9. “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket”
— Will Rogers
A lot of people want to be rich in life, but very few behave in a way that will ever enable them to be so.
Stock market, smart portfolios, real estate… Those options are usually all pretty risky, require a large upfront capital, and a lot of knowledge about what you are doing.
Here are 3 of the easiest, fastest and safest ways to make more money than you thought possible, all on your own.
- Spend less than you earn
- Don’t buy things
- Save what’s left at the end of the month
It might not make you a millionaire, but who needs millions anyway? You can seriously make thousands extra every year with these 3 golden rules.
10. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”
— Mark Twain
The quote continues: “So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
In her book The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying, Bronnie Ware has conversations with people nearing the end of their lives. Amongst other things, they talk about life regrets. The number one regret of the dying is this:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
We’re told to live our dreams since we’re kids. We see it in movies, read it in books, hear it at school… Yet how many of us follow the advice? It’s like we heard it so much we forgot what it meant.
Picture yourself in 20 years from now. You’re looking back on your life, and you’re thrilled about it. You’ve accomplished most of what you wanted, you are immensely happy and grateful with the chances you’ve taken along the way.
Write that scene down on paper.
Picture it in your mind.
Now, go live it.