Carl Sandburg was a prominent American poet, writer and journalist. He was also a great thinker and had some really profound ideas about life and society.
This article is a collection of 16 inspirational Carl Sandburg’s quotes on life, happiness, self awareness and more. So let’s have a look.
1. “Time is the coin of your life. You spend it. Do not allow others to spend it for you.”
Meaning: Take control of your life by prioritizing the things that matter to you and learning to say no to things that do not matter.
2.“If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one’s time – the stuff of life.”
Meaning: There are a myriad things vying for your attention every waking minute. Therefore, make it a habit to stay conscious of your attention and keep refocusing it from distractions to things that really matter.
3. “It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?”
Meaning: Spend time (every once in a while) in self reflection. Understanding yourself is the basis of enlightenment. By understanding yourself, you gain the ability to consciously maneuver your life towards reaching your true potential.
4. “Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”
Meaning: Life is a constant journey of learning and self discovery. Stay curious and open so as to keep peeling the layers – discovering, learning and growing.
5. “Nothing happens unless first we dream.”
Meaning: Imagination is the most powerful instrument you have. Every man made marvel you see today was once a product of someone’s imagination. So spend time visualizing the life you want while also taking the necessary action to achieve it.
6. Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln never saw a movie, heard a radio or looked at television. They had ‘Loneliness’ and knew what to do with it. They were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.
Meaning: Spending time alone makes you creative. Spend at-least some time in a day sitting by yourself in silence, free from all distractions, in a state of meditation by bringing your attention to the present moment. In silence you get in touch with your true self and your creative essence starts to flourish.
7. “Enough small empty boxes thrown into a big empty box fill it full.”
Meaning: Empty boxes stand for empty/limiting beliefs that keep you from reaching your true potential. To make way for new beliefs, you need to first discard these empty beliefs from your system. You can do this by becoming conscious of your thoughts/beliefs.
8. “It’s going to come out all right — do you know? The sun, the birds, the grass — they know. They get along – and we’ll get along.”
Meaning: Life is cyclic in nature. Everything changes. The day gives way to the night and the night to the day. In a similar way, situations in your life keep changing. If things are unpleasant today, have faith and patience and things will get better tomorrow. Like the birds, let go and go with the flow.
9. “Thumbs understand the fingers better than the fingers understand the thumb. Sometimes the fingers feel sorry the thumb is not a finger. The thumb is needed more often than any of the fingers.”
Meaning: It’s a blessing to be different and not a carbon copy of others. Remember that to make a difference in this world, you have to be different. What other people think of you does not matter as long as you realize your own self worth.
10. “Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen.”
Meaning: Do not be afraid of failure as failure helps you learn the important lessons of life. Do not let your failures define you, but always reflect on your failures to learn from them.
11. “Shall the squid have praise or blame for being a squid? Shall the bird have compliments for being born with wings?”
Meaning: Every one of us is unique and come with unique talents and abilities. The important thing is to realize your strengths and focus your energy on them instead of focusing your energy on others and what they have.
12. “It is not a bad exercise for a man to sit quiet once in a while and watch the workings of his mind and heart and notice how often he can find himself favoring five or six of the seven deadly sins, and especially the first of those sins, which is named pride.”
Meaning: Being fully present with yourself and witnessing your thoughts is a powerful exercise in self reflection. It helps you become conscious your thoughts and the underlying beliefs so you can discard beliefs that do not serve you and give power to ones that do.
13. “I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell me what is happiness. And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands of men. They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was trying to fool with them. And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the Desplaines river and I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.”
Meaning: Happiness is an inner feeling of contentment that comes when you get in touch with your true nature.
14. “Anger is the most impotent of passions. It affects nothing it goes about, and hurts the one who is possessed by it more than the one against whom it is directed.”
Meaning: When you carry anger within, it drains you. It consumes your attention so you are not able to focus on anything worthwhile. Therefore, it is best to let go of anger. Staying fully present with the emotion of anger is the best way to release it from your system.
15. “The secret to happiness is to admire without desiring.”
Meaning: The secret to happiness is inner sense of contentment. And this contentment comes when you get in touch with yourself. When you understand yourself and realize that you are complete as you are and you do not need any external to complete you.
16. “A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake.”
Meaning: To become awake is to become conscious of your mind. When you are conscious, you are in a position to let go of old limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering beliefs that serve you. This is akin to being reborn.