9 Life-Changing Shonda Rhimes Quotes: Work Hard & Ignore Luck

Shonda Rhimes is a famous American TV producer, screenwriter and author.  Her book “Year of Yes” is a very beloved book that shares her philosophy of living.  Let’s learn about her attitude of “saying yes” and her philosophy through the following meaningful quotes of hers.  

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

The above Shonda Rhimes quote actually has a lot of stoicism philosophy in it.  It’s great to have talent and be naturally smart.  However, we have no control of what comes naturally.  Why not spend our effort on what we can control - saying yes to opportunities and working hard.  With great talent and hard work, you may be able to reach the stars.  With hard work only, you may still be able to reach the moon.  With great talent and zero hard work, you are not going anywhere.  

“Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”

Rhimes touched on what happiness is about with the above quote.  Happiness is about being yourself.   To be more accurate, it’s about being the best version of yourself.  “Being the best version of yourself” is basically the mamba mentality of the great Kobe Bryant.  

“I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”

It’s very easy to come across people you know that tell you the big projects they plan to start.  A year goes by, you talk to them and they don’t even want to talk about those projects, as they haven’t even spent an hour working on the projects.  Do you want to be one of those people?  Do you want to be mediocre all your life?  Just get some work done.  Sometimes, the most difficult part about doing something is to get started.  Once you are able to get started and get the ball rolling, the momentum you create is going to make things a lot easier for you.  Can you find the courage or the method that helps you get the ball rolling is a big key.  Mel Robbins’s “Five Second Rule” is a method that may just work for you.  The method is simple.  Whenever you want to do something that you are reluctant to do (e.g. wake up at 5am and go jogging), just count in your mind “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and then just go do it (e.g. say 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then jump out of your bed and go jogging).  It sounds ridiculously simple but it works for more people than you can imagine.  

“Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy,” she says. “But he is not the sun. You are.”

We cannot talk about ways of living without talking about relationships.  Shonda Rhimes’s quote expresses how you should never just give up what you are because of your partner.  Relationship is an art.  There are adjustments that need to be made to make two people live together happily.  At the same time, those adjustments shouldn’t be big enough that they make you give up what you need and who you are.  It’s easier said than done, but it’s worth paying some if not a lot of attention to this area of your life.  

“Her toolbox is full. She has learned to not let go of the pieces of herself that she needs in order to be what someone else wants. She’s learned not to compromise. She’s learned not to settle. She’s learned, as difficult as it is, how to be her own sun.”

Again, don’t let someone else be your sun.  You are your own sun.  At the same time, be aware that there are other stars and planets that interact with you in this universe.  Focus on being the best version of yourself while treating  your family and friends with love and respect.  That’s probably the best you can do and usually things will turn out pretty good.  As the famous basketball coach John Wooden says, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

“Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one no at a time.”

Everytime you say “no” to something that you are supposed to try, you are using up a quota that would have made you a better version of yourself.  Life isn’t long enough to present an infinite amount of opportunities to you.  There are times that you need to say “no”, especially when you already have found your life purpose and have started working on it.  These are times that you have to focus on your “one thing”.  But before that time comes, you should say “yes” to things that have chances to get you moving forward.  

“If I don't poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell.”

Communicating with others and presenting yourselves right is one of the keys to getting good opportunities.  Be humble but don’t overdo it.  

“There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules.”

Rules are made to be broken.  At the same time, it’s a good thing to have a set of rules or principles that you can base your small and big decisions on.  It’s just that we should carefully think about and regularly revise our principles based on the situation and based on the results of trial-and-erroring.  

“It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” I whisper to myself in the shower every morning. That is my favorite Muhammad Ali quote. If you ask me, Ali invented modern-day swagger.”

Rhimes quoted Muhammad Ali when she touched on whether bragging is okay.  If you have the ability and hard work to back up your seemingly arrogance, it’s actually confidence, not arrogance.  

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