Get on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for a few minutes and you’ll be inundated by a slew feelgood quotes that will either make you re-examine your life or – more likely – say “That’s bullshit!”.
These quotes are thrown around haphazardly, rarely thought about beyond the short-lived burst of inspiration they provide.
They’re rarely acted on and instead are consumed like junk food – quickly, in large doses, and with little real substance.
I know these quotes are mostly harmless and I’m being kind of an asshole right now.
In the history of this blog, you will never see me tossing out someone else’s words without some well-thought out reflection to back it up. This is a well-researched guide to living a charismatic life, not some tearaway calendar for bored office workers.
Seeing an inspiring quote over a picture of puppies will give you a quick shot of dopamine but means nothing if you don’t make it work for you.
And, that’s what we’re gonna do today.
These are the only 4 inspirational quotes that matter to me. (I wish I could quote them by heart but I’ve got the memory of an elderly person.)
They’re spoken by fascinating men who lived extraordinary lives that I’m excited to tell you about.
Let’s do this.
Henry Miller on Hitting on Girls
“She looked around quietly, appraisingly, but without obvious effort to attract attention. She was discreet and dignified, thoroughly poised and self-contained…I was curious to see whom she was waiting for. After a half hour…I made up my mind that she was waiting for anyone to make the proper overture.” – Henry Miller, “Quiet Days in Clichy”
Henry Miller was once considered one of the lewdest writers of the 20th century.
He was also one of the most vivid writers I’ve ever read. He made magic when it came to writing about Paris, friendships, and the beauty he saw in women.
Here he wrote about the latter, the intrigue he felt about a beautiful girl he noticed wiling her day away in a café – a common enough occurrence for any man who lives in a big city.
Unlike most of those men, though, Henry Miller did something about it and said ‘Hello’ to the most perfect of strangers. A simple enough gesture with great potential.
There’s a big lesson in attraction here: Many men begin and end their attraction towards a woman with pure lust (“Goddamn, I’d love to just bend her over right now!” or whatever). Lust is good. But, remember the most important element of connecting: curiosity.
It elevates action and lust to an art form.
Curiosity Is The Natural Effect Of Being Engaged With The World Around You And Putting Your Attention On Others.
Curiosity is the beginning, middle, and end of all great ideas, friendships, businesses, adventures, and loves.
When you stop worrying about your problems and start wondering about the people around you, a new world opens up to you.
And, Henry Miller wasn’t the only guy to tap the vein of boldness and curiosity…
Dr. Timothy Leary on Curiosity
The late psychologist Dr. Timothy Leary, a leading proponent of LSD use and one of the inspirations of the ‘hippie’ movement, had a striking quote that I found right before publishing this article:
“For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” – Timothy Leary
This quote gave me a shit-eating grin because it sums up the Naked Charisma credo about as perfectly as anyone could…
New Connections & Adventures Are Available From Everyone Who Crosses Your Path. You Just Have To Take Action.
Leary wrote this sometime in the 1970’s but it’s still relevant today. I believe that human beings, regardless of country or era, crave inspired human connection – it feeds and invigorates us.
As human connection is increasingly digitized, however, we remove some of the spontaneity and excitement that comes from new interactions.
I have been with friends at bars and parties who will see someone they’re interested in and, instead of just saying ‘Hello’, they say, “Well, I’ll find them on Tinder later“.
Or you might not.
But, they’re here right now and I believe most people want someone to ask them these curious, intriguing questions. We want to be engaged and we never forget those who engage us.
No, the epiphanies may not flow the second you open your mouth but something great happens once you two broach these subjects: there’s an intimacy of sorts that happens when you have these curious conversations…and there’s no real going back once you do.
And, that’s a beautiful thing.
So, be bold, “do the unexpected [and] find the others”. They’re sitting right next to you.
Hunter S. Thompson on An Adventurous Life
“Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.” – Hunter S. Thompson
As America’s chief executive weirdo, Hunter S. Thompson elevated craziness to a spiritual practice.
He had a drug and alcohol habit that can only be justified by saying he must have had a death wish.
He inspired at least two generations of writers with his unique style of immersive – or ‘gonzo’ – journalism and an infectious brand of crazy wisdom.
He also had a gift for lucidly laying down the laws of living a life that was rife with adventure, creativity, and rich experiences.
With most of your life planned and predictable to a serious level, this is wisdom that we all need more of. To live this quote to the letter is a rebellious act today.
This quote paints a vivid picture of the modern renaissance man, someone with an artist’s soul, a heart of gold, and the willingness to take a risk for the sake of a more interesting life.
It combines a great sense of forward-moving adventure with an equal reverence for those who came before you and the smaller, quiet parts of life.
It’s an edict that tells the story of some of the great adventurers and masters at the Art of Living (real and fictional):
- Santiago, the shepherd boy from “The Alchemist” – The ever-curious young man who had the guts and sense of destiny to hit the road on his search for great riches, real and spiritual. Wise beyond his years and having a heart full of adventure, he found meaningful friendships, wise mentors, and real love along the way – precisely the way journey’s should go.
- Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian adventurer and sailor of Kon-Tiki – A fervent adventurer, Heyerdahl risked his life and literally traveled to the ends of the Earth to satiate his hunger for raw experiences and to answer his questions about civilization and the human experience.
Heyerdahl hand-built a wooden raft and sailed over 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to prove that ancient people could have made long sea journeys. This gave credence to the theory that ancient civilizations could spread themselves far beyond reasonable boundaries.
It also sounds like a great-fucking-time.
- Edmund Dantes, The Count from “The Count of Monte Cristo” – Edmund Dantes was about the purest manifestation of Thompson’s quote. Despite languishing in jail for years under trumped treason charges by his best friend, Dantes made a triumphant escape from his island prison.
Compelled by revenge and bankrolled by an island full of treasure, he re-invents himself as a cosmopolitan count, traveling the world, exacting justice and righting wrongs – in the name of his lost fiancée Mercédès.
Real or not, these characters are constant reminders to me. I come back to this quote almost daily, using it as a barometer for how close I am to living the life I know I should live.
This is the kind of life that, as an old man re-counting your livelier days, causes a knowing smirk and a twinkle in your eye to paint your face.
A rich, interesting life is to be gained by living with a need for adventure, a sense of reverence, and a healthy dose of that “ah, fuck it!” attitude.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without even knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
This passage from the Book of Hebrews may be my favorite sentence ever written.
If you ask most people, this would probably come as a surprise – I’m not exactly what you would call a ‘Bible thumper’.
But, that’s cool – there’s still plenty of great wisdom to find there.
It’s a simple reminder to offer your best self to everyone you cross paths with and every social opportunity you have. This is the curious, gregarious You who puts others at ease and is always extending invitations.
Being a shining example of this saying requires that you be the one to lead, initiate, and be the guy who gets things started. There’s no room for passiveness in charismatic living.
This little passage is a suggestion to leave behind your fear of rejection, your trepidation of initiating contact, and being cool with the little jolt of anxiety that comes with making real eye contact with someone for the first time.
It also requires you to give everyone a chance and respect where everyone’s at in their lives. There’s no room for passing judgment on people before you get to know them (I’m sure that’s in The Bible somewhere, too).
Some people you come across may be just as passionate and curious as you and you two have the most explosively intriguing interaction out there.
Others might not be used to being paid attention to and being in the limelight, coming off sheepish and coy – in my experience, these are often the most interesting people to know.
And, some of them may not actually like you and have no real desire to know your story. It’s true.
But, the one universal truth here is that everyone you meet is struggling with their own demons, insecurities, and worries. They’re also (hopefully) plotting great creative coups and executing on their biggest of dreams. These are all worth knowing about.
Get Inspired, Then Get Busy
Inspirational sayings in all of their feelgood glory have their place. They distill the wisdom of great men and women down to their purest, most vivid form: the punchy quote.
They can instill great new possibilities and a jolt of motivating energy. But, most people stop there, though.
I remember reading the badass motivational posts on Bold & Determined and Danger & Play for hours at a time. I’d get pumped up and dream up all of these big ideas of what I wanted to create on this blog.
Of course, I didn’t actually do anything about the blog for about a year. (It actually took my last depressive episode for me to get my ass in gear.)
Motivation and inspiration is funny like that: it’s the source of so much positive energy but is completely useless with you taking action.
The obvious part of this is human inertia and laziness. In simpler terms, “starting shit is hard and keeping shit going is even harder”.
The less obvious part of motivation is that we rarely think about what these inspiring books, articles, and quotes mean in our lives. Remember: these are someone else’s words and come from their experiences, not yours.
So, keep your Deepak Chopra quotes and Tim Ferriss habits but think about how they fit into your own values and lifestyle. Examine them with your own life in mind.
How will you put your own spin on this?
Are you willing to put in the work to start and make this happen?
With this understanding and a commitment to actually taking action, you’re now engaging in a more sustainable form of motivation.
Peace & Charisma,
Dalton K. Finney