Updated: 16th September 2019
So if you’ve never seen the movie, you you won’t understand why The Shawshank Redemption is so motivational. But that’s okay because I am going to help sell it to you! There are dozens of memorable Shawshank Redemption quotes but I have chosen what I feel are the 10 best ones.
But before I do this, if you don’t already know about The Shawshank Redemption, what follows will probably not make any sense to you. So before sharing the quotes with you I’ll give a little summary of it to help. I’ll avoid spoilers of course!
So please read on… and if I can’t outline successfully why these Shawshank quotes are so useful to bear in mind, I apologise now just in case!
On the positive side, if you’ve never heard of The Shawshank Redemption, you will at least have a recommendation for an inspirational, must-see movie!
What’s the Movie About?
Set in Portland, Maine in 1947, The Shawshank Redemption tells the fictional story of Andy Dufresne, a wealthy young banker sentenced to life imprisonment at the Shawshank State Penitentiary.
We meet Andy about to begin his sentence, after recently being convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, which he denies.
Andy serves his sentence with dignity and rises above the situation in which he finds himself despite the various brutal experiences he has in the prison.
While at Shawshank, Andy befriends several other prisoners, who over the years are affected by their friendship with him in different ways:
- “Red” Redding: a man serving life for murder he committed as a young man
- Brooks Hatlen: an old man who has been in prison for most of his life
- Tommy Williams: a young prisoner, liked by everyone
- and Heywood: a rather dim but trusted member of Andy’s circle.
The movie is narrated by Red (a man that knows how to get things!), who becomes Andy’s closest friend inside Shawshank…
… and that’s as much as I’ll say now without spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it!
What do these Quotes Teach Us?
I believe the lessons these Shawshank Redemption quotes can teach us can be applied to anything, from blogging and SEO to business to… well, life in general!
For me, the prison (and the hardship it represents for the prisoners) are a great metaphor for any challenging situation.
The movie’s principal messages in the power of hope, continued persistence in the face of adversity and a single-minded desire to achieve goals are as inspiring and as relevant to any blogger or SEO practitioner as they are to someone facing up to any type of personal challenge.
So how can I prove it?
Well… I won’t use my words to prove it. Instead I’ll use the actual Shawshank Redemption quotes of some of the characters in the film to underline the lessons I believe we can take from them.
Motivational Shawshank Redemption Quotes
So here’s my rundown of the 10 most inspirational quotes from Shawshank!
The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.Brooks Hatlen
This quote is from Brooks, who is discussing the current state of the world… and it’s as applicable now as it was in 1947 when the movie is set. Brooks is an old man who is too tired to adapt to a world that’s in a “big damn hurry”.
Things move very quickly nowadays and we need to be able to adapt. If we can’t adapt, we’ll be like Brooks… unable to understand or take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to us, however small they might be.
Routine and Discipline
Prison life consists of routine, and then more routine.Red Redding
This is one of Red’s narrations that serves to move the story along.
To me it outlines the importance of routine to give life or work a structure.
Now the idea of routine in Red’s quote suggests the monotony of routine. Routine can of course be boring, but for most people running a business, or a blog or even someone wishing to get fit, a routine is absolutely essential.
There are some things that have to be done regularly on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, but yes routine itself can imprison you by it’s very nature… but consistent and repeated (valuable) actions are a must.
Yes, routine can be boring but routine can also be your friend!
Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.Andy Dufresne
Andy tells Red that you have to keep your hopes alive, even in the darkest of places.
Red reacts angrily at this believing that “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane”.
But Andy uses disagrees with Red and tells him that hope gives you “something inside – that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That’s yours”.
… and Andy never appears to lose hope until later in the movie (see quote 4 below).
We all need to keep our hopes up when things appear to go against us as hope can help us to remain positive when things aren’t going the way we want them to and to give us the drive to keep going.
Get busy living or get busy dying.Andy Dufresne
Andy says these words to Red during a moment in the Shawshank Redemption where it appears that Andy has lost hope completely, causing Red to worry about his mental state of mind.
However, whenever I think about this quote it seems a straightforward observation about the choices we have: do something and survive or do nothing and die… metaphorically speaking of course!
As bloggers, SEO practitioners or business owners of any description, we have to get busy, work hard and try to move in the direction of our goals and dreams.
If we don’t we will be unlikely to reach our goals and our dreams may die: yes it sounds a little dramatic, but hopefully you get the point.
Oh, Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time.Red Redding
This is perhaps my favorite of all the Shawshank Redemption quotes, and it’s another of Red’s narrations. I’ll be careful as this one could lead me into spoiler territory!
So… Red is talking about Andy’s interest in stone carving and how making something from stone involves the same basic processes as geological changes: a combination of pressure and time.
I suppose we might say that the only way that we can give ourselves the best opportunity to achieve success in anything we do is through applying pressure (sustained effort) over prolonged periods (time).
This is certainly the case with blogging. As bloggers we have to be prepared to apply effort in the long term if we really want to see traffic growth.
And still he kept sending those letters.Red Redding
This is Red talking about Andy’s persistence in the face of a seemingly impossible task.
In the movie, Andy is trying to create a library for the Shawshank inmates. He asks the prison warden if there are funds available to help with this project.
The warden says no!
So Andy writes a letter to the government each week requesting funds and eventually after 6 years of persistently writing, the government sends him $200 to use for the prison library.
This inspires Andy to start writing two letters per week to request even more funds! Eventually the government sends him another letter praising his persistence and awarding a further $500.
The letter also advises that from that point on the government would send an annual sum of $500 towards the prison library fund.
Andy persisted with his letter writing as he believed something would have to come from it at some point… he even tells Red “they can’t ignore me forever”.
The lesson: persistence pays off.
He always fought, that’s what I remember. He fought because he knew if he didn’t fight, it would make it that much easier not to fight the next time.Red Redding
In this quote, Red is telling us about Andy’s fighting spirit. Andy was constantly violently targeted by a particular group (I won’t say any more than this) but always tried to fight them off.
Even though Andy was usually always brutalised by this group, he never made himself an easy target and he always fought back.
We have to fight for the things we want, even if we’re unsure what the outcome will be or if the odds seem to be against us.
It’s a very hard lesson to put into practice, but we must always maintain a fighting spirit to give ourselves the best chance to achieve our goals.
Set Goals, Have Dreams
That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory. Open up a little hotel right on the beach. Buy some worthless old boat and fix it up new. Take my guests out charter fishing…you know, in a place like that, I could use a man that knows how to get things.Andy Dufresne
This is Andy talking about his dreams. One of the things he holds onto is the dream that if he ever got out of prison he would live in the Mexican coastal town of Zihuatanejo, a place that he fell in love with after going there with his wife.
Like hope, our dreams and goals are important to hold onto. They give us the motivation to work towards achieving them.
Without dreams and aspirations we can become directionless. Our dreams give us focus and remind us what we are trying to achieve.
Continue Pressing On
If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.Andy Dufresne
I really don’t want to give a spoiler here so I’ll have to be very careful!
In this quote, Andy is giving Red encouragement. He has advised him on a course of action, which Red has started to take.
These words are saying to Red that, since he’d started on the path that Andy had advised him to take, he just needs to continue a little further to reach his goal.
To me this is about committing to a plan, and that once you’ve put the plan into motion you may as well push on further to see it through to the end.
Starting a blog is a commitment but as with many things in life, the most difficult step is often the first one.
In my own case I know this to be 100% true. I can labour over decisions about which direction to take, but once I make the decision, the steps required to come a little further see more simple to take.
Listen to Advice
You’ll have to pry it up… to see.Andy Dufresne
This is Red’s goal. Andy has given specific instructions to Red about how to reach the goal, but it’s up to Red to take a hold of it and find the goal himself.
No one can create and maintain a blog for you. There are plenty of “Andys” out there in the world who have given us clear instructions about how to be a successful blogger in any niche.
It’s up to us to use these instructions and do it for ourselves.
Summary: Shawshank Redemption Quotes as a Guide to Blogging
- Develop ways to adapt to a changing world. The Internet, technology and search engines are constantly evolving and we have to evolve with them.
- Routine is important. We need to keep to routines and schedules in order to maintain our focus and be productive.
- Hope can keep you going when times are tough.
- Give yourself the best chance of success through doing… or do nothing and fail.
- Give yourself the best opportunity to achieve success through sustained effort over the long-term.
- Be persistent.
- Fight for what you want.
- Set yourself goals.
- Once you’ve made a decision, press on towards your goal.
- There is so much information available from bloggers that have gone before us… we just need to take it and do it for ourselves too!
If you haven’t yet seen The Shawshank Redemption I urge you to watch it as soon as you can because it’s truly one of the most uplifting movies I’ve ever seen. Ask anyone else who’s watched it!
That’s it for now but please read more of my motivational posts. Thanks for reading!
Please share your favorite Shawshank Redemption quotes, your thoughts about this movie or how it’s inspired you in the comments section below. It would be great to hear from you!
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