Wise words for us to live by

Will Smith during the premiere of Madagascar 3. A quote from Will regarding fairweather friends: "If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success."

I really don't know what I would do if I did not have access to quotations in my life.

In the past, the ones I found most inspiring came from literature.

There was so much depth in the works of poets such as John Keats and playwrights like William Shakespeare that I was able to extract from them the best one-liners to live life by.

From the writings of these prolific wordsmiths, the world progressed to the extracts from the speeches of politicians and celebrities. And, these days, a lot of quotations are taken from the dialogue in movies and from song lyrics.

A fragment of human expression referred to by another person, quotes nowadays do not even have to be from anyone famous.

Many of the sayings going around now are listed simply as "anonymous" with regard to authorship.

With the proliferation of social media, quotes posted on sites like Facebook have taken on a life of their own, spreading like wildfire across a multiplicity of communities.

At the gym where my friends and I work out, one of the quotes heard most often is Michael Jordan's "I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying". Or how about: "Think training's hard? Try losing!"

For my friends who really don't like to work up a sweat to get rid of their excess weight, they love the quote that goes: "The only reason I'm fat is because a tiny body couldn't store all this personality."

On life, I love the quote that goes: "Throughout my life, I've loved. I've lied, I've hurt, I've lost, I've missed, I've trusted, I've made mistakes but, most of all, I've learnt."

On being there for the people who matter, I will always remember that "no matter how 'busy' a person's day may be, he will always find time for you if he really cares".

On empathy, I am often reminded that "people don't always need advice. Sometimes, all they need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a heart to understand".

Amid the frantic, hectic pace of life in Singapore, we always seem to be striving for things in a highly competitive and achievement-oriented world.

The danger in this is that we sometimes lose sight of our priorities and, before we know it, we get entangled in an inequitable time imbalance where we are doing so much of one thing and very little of another.

To prevent this, I keep in mind this quote: "When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you."

I used to expect things to always turn out as I envisaged, and when they did not, I would become stressed to no end, until a friend shared with me a principle which goes: "Sometimes, you just have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting.

Have faith that things will work out, maybe not how you planned, but just how they're meant to be."

I would like to conclude with my current favourite quotation.

It is from Will Smith and is about his share of fair-weather friends. He said: "If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success."

Mr "Man in Black", you have my vote on that one!

The writer is a senior vice-president of Singapore Press Holdings' marketing division.

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