Here are a few quotes taken from my articles and presentations over the past 15 years.

• “If you have trouble remembering how to have fun and play, watch a child. If, you still aren’t sure, join them.” Lighten up, relax, and enjoy yourself regularly.

• “Enthusiasm is gratitude for life in action.” If nothing excites you, look into a mirror and ask yourself, “Am I alive?” This is not a suggestion to be a false optimist. It is a suggestion to thrive on what you choose to do.

• “Q.T.I.P.: Quit taking it personally.” The tax man isn’t out to get you. He is out to get all of us. I first presented this quote to a large law firm’s annual retreat in 1989. Now, if you do a google search of that quote, you will find it in more than 150 places. It is fun to see it so widely used.

• “Remember to find happiness in the little things of life.” This is a small poster we did. It shows a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers in a container. Looking close, the container is a sewing thimble. Look at the minute details in life and you will be in awe and wonder.

• “If in doubt, smile; that will keep them wondering until you figure out what to do.” Don’t put on a sour face. Don’t look confused or bewildered. If you need a few minutes to think, take them, with a confident smile on your face. Remember it is a good idea to engage our brains before we begin to speak.

• “The happier you are with simple things, the simpler it is to be happy.” Sunsets are free. Quality time with the people we love is free. A positive attitude is free and our choice. Uncomplicate your life. Keep it simple.

• “Have no more confidence in the judgment than you do in the judge.” This is the oldest of the quotes. I’ve used it many times as a reminder to myself, in articles and presentations. Just because you hear it or read it, doesn’t make it true. Question everything. Don’t be a cynic. However, don’t be gullible either. Consider the source before accepting. Even then, be careful.

• “What you do, speaks so loudly, I often can’t hear what you say.” J.C. Penney said, “The older I get, the more I pay attention to what people do. And, the less attention I pay to what they say.” Both of those quotes are similar to the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Look at yourself and others for discrepancies between spoken intent and actual performance. They should align. Or else there is a problem.

Tim O’Brien writes continuing-education courses and presents seminars on stress management. His e-mail address is: [email protected] He also has a Web site at

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