As human beings, we’re drawn to routine — predictable itineraries for our daily lives. Routines and habits can help us organize and prioritize our tasks and responsibilities, but they also offer comfort and stability, serving as anchors in a world that keeps changing. When we sink too far into routine, however, we may struggle to find the things that make life unique and fulfilling: authentic joy, creative inspiration, or motivation toward our goals, for example. These things are not just nice but necessary; in a 2021 survey, more than 80% of respondents defined inspiration as crucial to life — more important than even sleep or intimacy.
We might think that these moments of vision or delight are extraordinary, occurring sparingly or only under certain circumstances. But in reality, inspiration is available to us in every moment — even, or perhaps especially, in the mundane ones. If we pay attention, and are willing to see goodness in small instances as well as big occasions, we might find more inspiration in the day-to-day than we expect.
To that end, we’ve gathered quotes from musicians, writers, and other luminaries on the extraordinary joy of ordinary moments. Start small — you never know what you’ll find.
Exquisite beauty is often hidden in life's fragile, fleeting moments.John Mark Green, poet
Watching a perfect goal, [the] rustling movement of light through leaves, a phrase of music from the window of a passing car. Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything.Sally Rooney
Sometimes the most happy people in life are the ones with nothing. We can’t lose sight of the little things in life that should make us the happiest.Ryan Cabrera, musician
There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it… Put yourself in the way of beauty.Cheryl Strayed
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.Mary Oliver, poet
I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.Leo Buscaglia, writer
Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows.Jim Jarmusch, director
If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.Bill Watterson, cartoonist
Today’s goal: Remember putting on glasses for the first time, when suddenly the trees had individual leaves, the moon had defined edges. Try to see through that clear lens — everything as it is… Look around you and marvel.Maggie Smith, poet
Wherever you look there are inspirations, books, literature, paintings, landscapes, everything. Just living is an inspiration.Gavin Rossdale, musician
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