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Nick Nolte Quotes

Nicholas King Nolte

Nick Nolte quotes: life lessons from the long-time actor.

“Success is a very scary thing especially after you choose something and everything starts coming at you.  It’s absolutely frightening because the mind does things.  It says, ‘You’ve got to hold on to this or get away from this.'”

“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”

“You have to struggle a bit, hustle a little, and be willing to go bankrupt.  Once you’re willing to do that, everything opens up and you get the freedom.”

“If you get yourself in a hole, you dig yourself out.”

“Success comes to you with luck and a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t give you the right to be any better than anybody else.”

“You give up your narcissism, your egotism.  That’s how you achieve chemistry.”

“The mind is just like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.”

“You don’t learn anything from success.  You know, it’s comfortable, it’s nice, it’s warm, but success just leaves you kind of feeling a little bloated.”

“You work at a job, and you reach a certain level, and you’re a little satisfied, and you keep going at it a little more, and you finally finish it.  You go, ‘Ah,’ all your dopamine receptor sites are full.  You’re satiated.”

“You’ve got to admit failure sometimes.”

“It’s failure, really, that you grow by, although nobody likes to experience it.”

“This is going to sound strange, but my best advice is to accept losing.  It’s the grandest thing you can do.  We as a culture think it’s a terrible thing to lose, but it’s only through losing that we grow.  We don’t grow by winning.  And you can’t really communicate or connect with anybody on a meaningful level until you learn how they deal with losing.”

“I have a lot of memories of losing.  The truth is, things won’t always work out your way and they hardly ever work out their way either.  You have to learn to accept life as it is.  But our culture glorifies winning, so to accept losing is the opposite of everything we’re taught.”

“I’m not saying you should strive to lose or that you have to lose all the time.  It’s great to win.  But a fair amount of losing is what makes us progress as people.  You learn acceptance and humility.  You learn how to find happiness on your own terms.  Just because I cry every day, doesn’t mean I don’t laugh every day, too.”

“Sometimes our greatest losses can become our most profound teachers.”

“To allow the fear to come on you and then pass through – if you keep cutting the fear off by intervening, you’ll never understand what fear is really for.  Fear is part of a survival mechanism.  The way you conquer fear is to feel it all the way, and then you’ll find out that there’s nothing there – it’s just emotion.”

“Nobody likes to change.  There will always be resistance to change, and there always will be change.  And the quicker you get to that, the easier it is.  It’s not such a difficult thing.  If you entrench yourself and go, ‘By God, I will not change; I will not have this,’ then, you’re a dead man.  We’re great at adaptability.  It’s our strongest suit.”

“We’re very reluctant to change, even though we know that all things change, and especially our relationships are just determined to change.”

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I don’t regret any of them.  Sometimes that’s the only way you learn.”

“You do come to a point where you can get your life in control a bit.  But going through life, you discover these deep, dark things in yourself that you can’t run away from, so you have to learn to embrace them.”

“No one consciously wants to destroy themselves.  It always comes in a disguise.  But then you have to deal with it some way.”

“If you do have limitations, then you have to find out what they are.  And if you find out what they are and avoid them, then they aren’t limiting anymore.”

“First make peace inside yourself.”

“I have a lot of scars, man.  My mother said that a man is not a man unless he has a scar on his face.  And what she meant by a scar was some kind of battle that you had to go through, whether it was psychological or physical.  To her, a scar was actually beautiful and not something that marred you.”

“My life started in the Iowa woods.  I look at it geologically, you know.  I look at the Missouri and the Mississippi as being two rivers that dump great, fertile land in between.  I often got lost in the natural woods near my childhood homes in Ames and Waterloo… hopping on my bike and riding 10 minutes in any direction, I would come to a green ‘paradise.’  In that Iowa land, I fell in love with imagination – a devotion encouraged by my mother, who always said school was optional.  I didn’t go to school, you know, and if I did, my mind wasn’t in the room.  There’s too much space in Iowa; you just can’t stay in a room.”

“I never felt comfortable in real life very well.  It’s always been an awkward kind of thing for me and so when I hit the stage I just sensed freedom.  I sensed… here’s a place that I can have all the experiences of life and not feel uncomfortable about it.”

“Acting is a bit of a substitute for life.”

Marlon Brando said we act to save our lives.  In other words, I think life was an experience that was difficult, and he knew the amount of pain that you have to assume, knowing you will lose your parents and your siblings and others.  But if you can play around with life in the subtext of a story, then you’ll have salvation.”

“If you feel you have a film that’s valid, you stick your ass on the line.”

“A career in acting?  It’s a learning process.”

“This whole thing about actors, you know, is that they just can become these things.  Well, you don’t just become anything… to do that, you have to really be involved, really be passionate, and the way to get into that is to find out what the circumstances are.”

“You don’t want to make awards the reason you’re doing things.”

“Fame is a parenthesis you live in and when you die they close those parentheses.  Then you get a real definition of who you were.  It’s living under the spotlight.  Your mistakes are going to be seen and then they’ll be glorified in not a positive way.  It’s a lonelier kind of life than I think anonymity is.  It also teaches you how much privacy is valued and how much it is really what the citizens of the world would prefer to have rather than constantly being scrutinized by cameras and questions.”

“Birth is violent, and out of that violence is our only chance of rebirth.”

“We’re really all alone.  We can’t ever get inside another person’s spirit, and see the world they do.  So we are alone in that sense.  The only way we have to communicate feelings is through words.”

“No one wants to spend too long inside their own darkness.”

“Peace, truthfully, is how you feel inside.”

“Class isn’t something you buy… you’ve got on a $500 suit and you’re still a low life.”

“We all go through life and say a lot of things that we don’t really mean.”

“Asking for forgiveness is just one of the most painful kind of experiences.”

“There’s no greater purpose than service to others.”

“When you start thinking about death more than sex, you know you’re getting old.”

“About the only thing that’ll stay with you that you can trust all your life is your breath.  Your breath will be there at the very last, because when it stops, you will stop.”

“Aging’s a difficult thing, moving closer to death, but it’s okay.  I’ve had a good time living, so I’m gonna have a good time dying.”

“If you’re older you want to tell stories about the pool of human life and living and to communicate, not only to your age group but to do an age group that can begin to understand, that has enough experience of life far beyond the taste of life.”

“As a father, I’m real tolerant.  Probably not the best thing in the world, but I bond heavily with my children.  Being a parent is my most important responsibility.  My mother and father allowed me freedom.  They allowed me to fail.  They allowed me to get bruised.  They didn’t hold onto me so tight.  By failing, you get a chance to learn.”

“As for being old, I don’t regret it at all.  I’m not having much difficulty with age.  I’m really kind of comfortable with it, knowing that there’s one more big adventure to do.  It’s kind of spooky, but I accept it.  You fight like hell right up until the last.  I think you just have to keep moving and keep doing it.”

“I’m almost 80, and I naturally accept the fact that I’m going to forget – in fact I’ve built that into my personal beliefs, learning how to forget.  I forget everything.  But it’s not good to get emotional or upset or pissed off or hurt or ashamed or whatever.  You just move forward, go past it.  I don’t look forward anymore and I don’t look backward either.  I just look at right now.  But it’s all going to be all right.”

“I’m really not good at real life – to sit around and do nothing is really not something I tolerate at all.  I get too anxious.  I need to be goal-oriented.  I’m not considering retirement.  I’m going to work if there are good stories.  I’m going to work until I can’t.”

“I have a few regrets about the way I’ve lived my life.  I don’t have a whole lot I would change.  A few people died, I wish they hadn’t died.  But it wasn’t a direct result of anything I did.”

“Everyone chases a bit of what they say life is about: money, desire… but when you stop chasing, you realize life is a rhythm and it’s very peaceful, very quiet.  You see, it’s quite a miracle.”

“If I’m not a successful human being, who I am?”

“Everything has a purpose, even this, and it’s up to you to find it.”

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