20 Motivational Quotes That Will Help You Move Forward!

"Never, never, never give up." - Winston Churchill

“Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

Many years ago, I hit the absolute rock-bottom. Among the few things that helped pull me out were the inspired words of others. After asking some of my Facebook followers to share some of their favorite quotes with me, I’ve compiled this list of twenty motivational quotes. My hope is that they will help you move forward.

Feel free to add additional quotes in the comment section below.

  1. “Fill your life with light. Don’t leave any room for darkness.” (Darryl Snyder)
  2. “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” (Michael Jordan)
  3. “A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” (Stephan Hoeller)
  4. “There is always chaos before creation. Embrace life and great things will follow.” (Helmut, E.S. Posthumus)
  5. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” (Helen Keller)
  6. “There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” (C. S. Lewis)
  7. “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout…do your worst, for I will do mine.” (Edmund Dantes)
  8. “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
  9. “Pain is Inevitable, suffering is optional.” (Anonymous)
  10. “Good timber does not grow with ease—the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” (Douglas Malloch)
  11. “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  12. “You can’t choose the trials in your life, but you can choose how you deal with them, you can choose to become bitter or better.” (Anonymous)
  13. “In the blink of an eye, everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. You may never have that chance again.” (Anonymous)
  14. “Here’s to the long white road that beckons, the climb that baffles, the risk that nerves—and here’s to the merry heart that reckons the rough with the smooth and never swerves.” (Earnest Shackleton)
  15. “On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through the bad days so far is 100% and that’s pretty good.” (Anonymous)
  16. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill)
  17. “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined.” (Anonymous)
  18. “Enjoy the little things in life, cause one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.” (Anonymous)
  19. “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.” (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
  20. “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” (Victor Hugo)
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What We Believe Changes What We Can Do

What we believe not only changes how we see the world, but it also changes what we can do.

Hook Movie PosterHave you ever seen the movie Hook? In that movie, the legendary Peter Pan has left Neverland and has forgotten his former identity. He grows up and becomes a successful corporate lawyer with a wife and two kids.

After Captain Hook kidnaps his children, Peter is forced to return to Neverland and rediscover his identity. This proves to be difficult as few people believe that this middle-aged man is the Peter Pan.

After confronting Peter for the first time in years, Captain Hook whispers in disbelief, “Is it you? My great and worthy opponent? But it can’t be. Not this pitiful, spineless, pasty, bloated codfish I see before me. You’re not even a shadow of Peter Pan.”

Peter nods in agreement. He doesn’t believe it either.

It isn’t until one of the smallest of the Lost Boys believes he’s Peter Pan that things begin to change.

From that point on, Peter starts to remember things about his past. Once he realizes who he is (and believes it) he regains his ability to fly, fight, and crow.

Although it’s just a movie, I find it interesting that even though Peter had come face-to-face Captain Hook, the Lost Boys, and Tinkerbell, he still finds ways to disbelieve he’s Peter Pan. But when he believes he’s Peter Pan, everything changes: his abilities, his perception of the world, and his place in it.

Real cute, Seth. But that’s a story—a made up movie. Are you suggesting that if we just believe in ourselves we can all fly? Sounds like drug talk to me!

Hold on, hold on! Let me explain this idea by telling you about a girl I met while working at a wilderness therapy program. We’ll call this girl ‘Maggie.’

Maggie was in her mid-twenties. After reaching a breaking point with her family, Maggie decided to try and overcome her addictions by spending six weeks at a program in the Arizona wilderness.

Maggie maintained a level of optimism during her first few days on the trail. After listening to the stories of several other employees (those who had overcome addictions themselves) she became more confident that she would be able to overcome her own addictions.

However, somewhere along the trail, Maggie started to doubt herself. The hikes were difficult and painful and her withdrawals intensified. During her struggles, Maggie’s mind latched onto something that someone had once told her: “Maggie, you’re just a screw up. You’re never going to succeed at anything.”

Having known Maggie for just those few days I knew that what that person had told her wasn’t true. Maggie had incredible potential. Maggie could do great things. But despite our best efforts to convince her of that, Maggie wouldn’t believe in our words. She became sad and despondent, then irritable and angry. She cursed the wilderness, rejected our help and eventually abandoned the program.

Because of what others had said, Maggie essentially had been given two things in which she could believe: 1) that she had the power to overcome her addictions, or 2) that she would never succeed at anything. Both statements, in and of themselves, had no power until she believed in one of them. It was her belief that gave power to the words and changed her perception of what she could and “couldn’t” do.

I know from personal experience that what we believe not only changes how we see the world, but also changes who we are. I’m a witness to it. As someone who struggles with depression, I am daily bombarded with choices to either believe the best about myself, or the very worst.

For two straight years I believed the worst about myself. Two days before my suicide attempt, I remember spending hours furiously scribbling in my journal (in large letters) the thoughts I was having—things like “I hate my life,” “Nobody loves me,” “God hates me,” and “I’m a mistake.”

My suicide attempt was a direct result of believing the worst about myself.

But my recovery was the direct result of believing the best about myself.

Arizona, Neverland…same thing.

When I woke up in the hospital, my circumstances (and the world itself) hadn’t necessarily changed. In fact, you could argue that things were worse: many people found out that I had tried to take my life, rumors were beginning to spread, and not only were my parents worried sick about me, but they also had to pay for my expensive visit to the ER.

I could’ve continued to believe the very worst about myself. But during that time, I saw my family rally around me—giving me words of comfort, support, and love. My family believed the best in me. Shouldn’t I do the same?

Since that time, I’ve tried my best to focus on the good—to believe the best and disbelieve the worst. While it’s absolutely essential to honestly acknowledge your faults and work to improve your character, it’s equally important to recognize what things build you up and what things tear you down.

I personally feel that we possess the mental ability to damn or liberate ourselves by what we believe. Believing the worst about ourselves will bring us down and damn our progression. But believing the best about ourselves can help us to fly, fight, and crow.

Now if we could only use the power of belief to make food appear out of nowhere…

Committing Reverse Suicide

After contemplating it for years, I’ve decided to commit reverse suicide.

And I don’t use the term lightly.

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square

St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square

I came to this decision while walking through Moscow, Russia at the beginning of this month. I had just met with a Russian publishing company that had expressed interest in translating my upcoming book. The book is about overcoming depression and suicidal thoughts by developing healthy relationships—by giving your life to others instead of taking it for yourself.

“It iz…interesting philosophy,” said one of the editors at the company. She shifted uncomfortably in her chair and looked at her colleague. Uh oh, I thought to myself. Here comes the rejection. “But it iz very different from ze books we normally publish.”

“Really?” I asked. “What kind of books do you normally publish?”

Her face brightened. “Well, for example, we have very popular book—very many people buy it. In zis book, ze author iz very strict. He says zat if you want to be successful you must treat people like machines. If you treat people like machines, zen you get whatever you want.”

I tried my hardest not to laugh. Was this book written by Stalin?!

“Ah, so two very different philosophies,” I said. They nodded, gave me a look that says ‘sorry’ in any language, and within ten minutes I was standing on the street outside their building to ponder what they had told me.

I suppose it is an interesting philosophy. The best way to live our lives is to give it away to others? Certainly, the idea runs contrary to our instincts. Who among us really, honestly wants surrender their lives to serving and loving others? Besides, if you treat people like machines, then you apparently get whatever you want. So isn’t it better to live for yourself?

No, it’s worse—far, far worse.

I learned this lesson the hard way. At the age of twenty, after years of living for myself (and treating others “like machines” to get whatever I wanted), I had become addicted, depressed, and incredibly lonely. Overwhelmed by these feelings, I tried to take my life. In this, I would have been successful had my father not found my unconscious body in the garage of our home.

In the subsequent months and years following my suicide attempt, my family and friends rallied around me. It was their love and support that lifted me out my own personal prison. Through their life-giving actions, I learned that the best way to live life is to give it away to others. If you give love and support to others, it not only helps them, but it also gives you a greater abundance of life. On the other hand, if you take life from others (by treating people “like machines”), it drains them of life and destroys your own. As author Neal A. Maxwell pointed out, “selfishness is really self-destruction in slow motion.”

World Suicide Rate

World Suicide Rate (the color red shows where it the highest).

Interestingly enough, Russia has the second highest suicide rate in the world, with the highest teen suicide rates in Europe. While there certainly are a lot of factors that contribute to this number—such as alcoholism, family issues, and economic pressures—I can’t help but wonder if one of those contributing factors is the “popular” belief that people should be treated like machines. After all, if a culture doesn’t value the individual lives that make up its society, why should the individual value their society and their own part in it?

I find those statistics both troubling and confusing. I’ve spent about a year and a half of my life in Russia and have befriended a lot of amazing and wonderful Russians—they are like family to me. Given what I believe about the value of life, how would I feel if they were treated like machines? To what extent do I treat myself and others like machines? What is my responsibility in all of this?

I pondered these questions as I walked through Red Square, the heart of Russia. I sat down on a patch of grass next to the Kremlin wall and watched hundreds of people—from all over the world—take photographs, laugh, eat ice cream, and spend time with family and friends.

As I sat there watching, I felt a familiar tug at my heartstrings. Instead of being overwhelmed with the loneliness that I felt before my suicide attempt, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for life—not just my life—but for the lives of others.

I have learned, first hand, the dangers of treating people like machines and trying to take my life for myself. But I have also learned, first hand, the joys of finding family in others and sharing my life with people.

And so, as I sat on that grassy knoll in Red Square, I decided to commit suicide in reverse: instead of taking my life, I’m going to live it and give it away to others. I will devote my life to things like suicide prevention, mental health awareness, and good causes that lift and inspire others. I will oppose philosophies that view others as machines and counter them with words that encourage the best in humanity.

In this endeavor I don’t expect to be perfect. In many ways, my efforts may just be a tiny drop in a very big ocean. But I’m alive because of the fact that when my father looked into the garage he didn’t see a machine. He saw his son and saved his life.

Because of this, I feel compelled to do whatever I can to reach beyond myself and lift the lives of others. Perhaps my resolution to committing reverse suicide will help reverse the rate of suicide.

THE Hidden Message in X-Men

Much has been said about the supposed “hidden messages” in the X-Men movies. But after watching X-Men: Days of Future Past, I am convinced that I’ve stumbled across THE hidden message…

Some have claimed that the movies and comics are a representation of the acceptance or rejection of homosexuality in Western civilization (“Mutant and proud.”). Others have said that they are an indictment of how extremely conservative majorities treat anyone that is different (there are numerous references and parallels to the Holocaust). Some say that it is about science and the realities of evolution. And then there are those (like my brother) who think that they’re just great action movies—stop thinking about it so much!

While those are perfectly valid and thoughtful interpretations of X-Men, I’ve always been captivated by how the movies point to God. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the last movie made a very direct reference to the savior story. It was one of the most powerful hidden messages I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Charles Xavier

Charles Xavier

Yeah, I said the G-word and the S-word. :) But relax, I’m not going to get all preachy on you. The “hidden” message of a savior-figure is actually quite common. It goes a something little like this:

People do everything on their own to make it through life. They don’t do so well and it creates a lot of pain and suffering. In the midst of all this suffering, someone chooses to heal all of the hurt and pain by sacrificing their own wants, personal comfort, or even their own life. When they do this, it gives others hope and a second chance at life.

Those who sacrifice themselves become “saviors”—small reflections of one of the greatest stories ever told. Chances are, you’ve seen reflections of this story thousands of times: Romeo and Juliet gave up their lives for love, prompting their families to reconcile with each other. Prometheus, the Titan in Greek mythology, sacrificed his life on Olympus to give fire to mankind. In the final Harry Potter book, Harry surrenders himself to certain death to save his friends. And in the most recent Star Trek movie, Captain Kirk sacrificed his life to save the crew of the Enterprise.

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the reflection of a savior-figure is shown through Charles Xavier. Xavier, the future leader of the X-Men, is a powerful telepath with the ability to read and control minds. In the film, the younger version of Xavier is racked with guilt and has lost all hope. Through the use of drugs, he’s able to walk and simultaneously numb his telepathic abilities. He doesn’t want to use his powers because it will open his mind to the pain and suffering of others.

At one point in the film, the troubled, younger Xavier is able to communicate with his older, wiser self. In that scene, the future Xavier essentially tells his younger self to sacrifice himself and absorb the pain of humanity, saying: “It’s the greatest gift of all, to bear their pain without breaking.”

The future Xavier then adds this powerful line, “And it’s born from the most human power – hope. We need you to hope again.”

After that, the younger Xavier voluntarily sacrifices his ability to walk and moves forward with faith and hope in humanity—and it proves to be their salvation. In doing this, Charles Xavier becomes a reflection of the savior story.

Perhaps part of the reason why we love and share the savior story so much is because it’s also a reflection of our birth: our mothers put their own lives at risk to give us life. But I think another reason why the savior story is so powerful is because it tells us how we should live: we must lay down our own selfish wants, exercise hope and faith in humanity, and rescue those who are suffering.

And that, I believe, is THE hidden message in X-Men.

…also, I thought the action scenes were pretty cool…. ;)

The Utah Book Tour Begins!

Seth Interview FOX 13 Utah

This is a picture of me saying things about things. :)

Well, I’m currently on tour in Utah promoting Marriage Isn’t For You. I’m officially on my first book tour! Sometimes, I can’t believe it’s real because I’ve been dreaming about this for so long.

On Sunday, I was interviewed by Kelly Chapman on Fox 13 News. After that, Deseret News National Edition aired an interview they had with me on Friday (but don’t worry, I wore the same shirt).

Throughout the week, I’m scheduled to appear on a number of news programs. (Kim has even agreed to join me for one of them!) And on Friday and Saturday we will sign books at four Deseret Book stores. If you want, you can stop by and say ‘Hi.’ I’d love to get some selfies with you!

Friday, May 23, 2014 – Deseret Book in Salt Lake City @ 12:30-1:30pm

Saturday, May 24, 2014 – Deseret Book in Bountiful @ 11:00-12:30pm

Saturday, May 24, 2014 – Deseret Book in Midvale (Fort Union Blvd) @ 1:30-3:00pm

Saturday, May 24, 2014 – Deseret Book in Orem (University Pkwy) @ 4:00 – 5:30pm

Watch my interview with Deseret News below!

REALITY CHECK: Marriage Isn’t A Dream Come True

Cupcake Wedding CakeI’m a helpless—almost hopeless—romantic. Perhaps it’s just the writer in me, but I’m practically in love with love stories.

While dating, I was constantly on the lookout for my own perfect, poetic love story—something that would knock the socks off of Shakespeare and inspire a blockbuster chick flick (or at least a book similar to The Princess Bride). I wanted one of those “dream come true” relationships—and I would not rest until I found one.

But then I got married…and I woke up to reality.

Turns out, marriage isn’t exactly a “dream come true”—at least not in the way I had imagined.

Instead of traveling the world, my wife and I travel to the supermarket, to work, and to school. Instead of battling foes that seek to divide us, we battle things like taxes and working overtime. Instead of a never-ending supply of adventures, we binge-watch entire seasons on Netflix.

But you know what? Marriage is better than my dreams—because it’s real.

I recently read this quote by Jenkin Lloyd Jones:

There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks, to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear, the divorce courts are jammed.

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .

Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.

In a similar way, married love is less like a drive down a perfect, flawless, scenic byway and more like an arduous hike through the Rockies. The hike is definitely harder and more uncomfortable, but reaching the summit is far more rewarding.

Since getting married, I’ve learned that love isn’t always fluffy, cute, cuddly, and perfect. More often than not, real love has its sleeves rolled up, dirt and grime smeared on its arms, and sweat dripping down its forehead.

Sure, our marriage may not be a “dream come true” swashbuckling adventure, but it IS facing our problems lovingly and honestly—together. And waking up to that reality is far better than any dream I might have.

Moving Forward in a Wheelchair

In 2004, Meg Johnson fell off a cliff and broke her neck. Paralyzed and in a wheelchair, Meg is now a motivational speaker, inspiring audiences around the world with her personal motto, which she says is applicable for people of all abilities: When life gets too hard to stand, just keep on rollin’.

In this interview, Meg explained what she does to help her keep on rollin’ forward. Her opening statement will give you chills…

My favorite quote from our interview was when she said: “There’s nobody who can come over here and save me because the person who’s keeping me down is myself.” That line is so true. Oftentimes, we are the only true obstacles that are holding ourselves back from chasing our dreams and accomplishing great things.

I will forever be grateful that Meg and I were able to meet last year. She doesn’t know it (yet), but my interview with her changed my life. Her cheerful persistence in the midst of overwhelming odds quietly destroyed any of my own personal excuses (a most beautiful destruction, to be sure). She has inspired me to move keep rollin’ forward.

To learn more about Meg Johnson, please visit her website at www.MegJohnsonSpeaks.com

Marriage STILL Isn’t For Me — And Neither Is My Life

Marriage Isn't For Me

Me and Kim

Six months ago, I published an article on my blog entitled, “Marriage Isn’t For You.” It was based on some advice that my dad gave me before I got engaged. “Marriage isn’t for you,” he said. “It’s about the person you marry.”

Within days, the article received millions of views, was translated into over twenty languages, and went viral in places like China, Germany, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

The article was featured and discussed on the Today show, BuzzFeed.com, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, MSN Living, Yahoo, Deseret News, Today.com, KSL News, TheBlaze.com, HuffPost Live, HLN, and numerous radio programs. My wife and I appeared on a number of news programs, including Good Morning America and Fox & Friends.

After making some revisions to the article, Shadow Mountain Publishers turned it into a beautiful gift book. Within two days of its official publication (on May 6) the book skyrocketed to the top of the charts on Amazon.com, ranking from #640,650 to #989. It also reached #12 in the category of Marriage, and #13 in Love & Romance.

To this day, I still receive emails from people congratulating and praising me for the article. But amid all the praise, of course there are those who criticize the article. Many claimed that I didn’t know what I was talking about — that I was too young, too naive, or that I hadn’t been married long enough to give advice.

And you know what? They’re right. Kim and I just celebrated our second anniversary. So when it comes to giving marriage advice, I’m certainly not the most experienced or qualified person to speak.

But here’s the thing: It wasn’t my advice that went viral; it was my dad’s. And I wasn’t the person who exemplified the advice; it was my wife who did that. If praise is to be given to anyone, it should be to them. I’m not the hero of this story, and I don’t pretend to be.

However, there has been one repeated criticism of the article that I simply cannot accept. Immediately after my article was published, dozens of other articles sprang up insinuating, to one degree or another, that marriage and your life are purely for you — for your benefit and pleasure. I will tell you right now that that is a lie — probably one of the most damaging lies.

This kind of lie breeds selfishness. And the more selfish we become, the easier it is to fall into habits of lying, cheating, stealing, and breaking promises. Because if each of us is the most important person in our own little world, then why would we ever choose to deny our personal desires?

Some time ago, I embraced this lie. When I did so, I started living a life of addiction, self-centeredness, and isolation so severe that it culminated in a suicide attempt.

But during my recovery I came to understand that my life wasn’t purely my own; I shared it with my family and friends. So I began to let those people back into my life, and the love and friendship that we shared was liberating.

Albert Einstein once said, “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

I believe that. Marriage and love are truly not for you. Neither of them can exist without involving people other than yourself.

If you want to live a rich, full, abundant life, you must love other people—love them with your whole heart and soul.

As my wife Kim said in one of our interviews, “You never lose by loving. You never lose out by choosing to love somebody else.”

To Women Who Dread Mother’s Day

"Sorrow" by József Rippl-Rónai

“Sorrow” by József Rippl-Rónai

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but think about all those who are dreading its approach.

My heart aches for those who want to be mothers, but for whatever reason cannot.

I know a couple who struggled for years to have children, only to be met with bitter disappointment, time and time again. In an effort to comfort his wife, the husband would buy her a piece of furniture after every miscarriage.

One day, a friend stopped by their home and noticed their living room. “Wow, you sure do have a lot of furniture,” she said. “I wish we could afford all of this. But we just have too many kids; they’d ruin it.”

The wife did everything she could to hold back her tears. But as soon as her friend left she broke down and sobbed—on the furniture she didn’t want.

Needless to say, they didn’t look forward to Mother’s Day.

I have an older sister with cerebral palsy. She helps babysit our nieces and nephews, works part-time at a daycare, and is the most loving and caring person I know. Her greatest desire is to be a mother, and she has picked out the names of all her future children.

She’s not married, she hasn’t had any kids, and she just celebrated her fortieth birthday.

Mother’s Day is a difficult time for her.

I have a friend who lovingly placed her child for adoption because she was too young to be a mother herself. While she’s comforted by the feeling that she made the right choice, there remains in her a sense of longing—the innate desire to be a mother.

Mother’s Day reminds her of those things.

So, to all of the women who dread Mother’s Day—to each and every one of you who long for motherhood, but are unable to have children—I want to stop and say thank you for giving life in your own way.

Yes, giving life.

My friend who placed her child for adoption now works tirelessly as a mentor for troubled youth and as an advocate for adoption.

My sister with cerebral palsy gives love and encouragement to dozens of people every day. Her nieces, nephews, and daycare students look to her as a second mother. Shoot, I look to her as a second mother; she helped raise me.

And the woman who struggled for years to have children, has a profound respect for life. Filled with unparalleled empathy, she is constantly working to alleviate the pain and suffering of others. Every moment of her life is devoted to supporting and encouraging the lives of those around her.

And in the end, isn’t that what it means to be a mother? To love, strengthen, encourage, teach, and lift another? To nurture the life of another human being? These wonderful women may not have their biological children, but the way that they give life to others qualifies them as the mothers of many.

So, this Mother’s Day, please know that I am thinking of you women without children—you mothers of many.

And know that I honor you this day as well.