What Do You Do With All Those Quotes?


You see them everywhere; on posters attached to beautiful images, in hallways in offices, all over the internet, and in some publications – quotes.

Some people have a quote or two that are special to them for the inspiration or perspective they provide. One of my own pesonal favourites is an Italian proverb that goes, “At the end of the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.” To me, it’s just a quick reminder that no matter how important I become, or how important the people I interact with are, we all eventually come to the same end. As much of the work I do is with financially disadvantaged people, it helps keep me grounded.

But my question to you is what do you DO with all those quotes in your workplace? Quotes give some people cause for reflection and for others, they read them and give it next to no thought whatsoever. The posters that adorn some workplaces that have quotes on them are routinely passed in the halls by staff all day long without anyone pausing to think about the words printed there. So of what value are they? There is even a website called Despair.com dedicated to this idea. On this website there are wondferful images matched with sayings that are actually demotivational. It was established in response to the belief that many people just look at the pictures and don’t really read the print message.

If you facilitate workshops as I do, perhaps you integrate quotes and sayings into your lesson plans. What is the response of the people you share them with? Do quotes have a lasting value? Do you yourself try to live and work with some kind of quote that captures your personal belief or philosophy? If so, what is it, and why does that hold such meaning for you that you try to live by that saying?

Sometimes when I’m leading a workshop, I’ll put enough quotes on the board for the number of participants, and after the lunch hour, I’ll ask each person to explain the quote that they have chosen prior to the break. This gets people thinking, and creates some discussion. It also gives me an idea of participants ability to interpret correctly the meaning behind the words. I may discover literacy issues, expanded vocabularies, new meanings I hadn’t thought of myself, and generally provides the group with an interactive learning opportunity. If I have 15 people in a room, I’ll either ask them to choose the quote they want to address on a first chosen first assigned basis (which gets people shooting their hands up quickly) or I’ll just ask people to pick a number from 1 to 15 when they have no idea why they are picking a number, and then reveal the connection with  the corresponding quotes. Number 1 gets quote 1 on the board etc. to number 15.

So what do YOU DO with all those quotes? Let me know, I’m interested.

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