Willie Nelson’s Best Quotes of All Time: Advice on Joy and Individuality

by Clayton Edwards

Willie Nelson’s life has been long and, more importantly, full. It is no surprise that the county legend is full of wisdom.

Willie has been around for a good long time. The 87-year old outlaw country legend has seen plenty of highs and lows. From being at the top of the charts and playing the Grand Old Opry several times a year to bring millions of dollars in debt to Uncle Sam, Willie has just about seen it all.

Willie Reminds Us to Just Relax

By all accounts, Willie is an incredibly laid back guy. It’s hard to say if his near-constant calm is due to his legendary cannabis consumption, hard-won lessons on life, or a little of both. Either way, he is a proponent of taking it easy.

“The early bird gets the worm but, the second mouse gets the cheese,” pretty much embodies the concept of taking it easy. Sometimes you don’t need to be the first in line. You don’t need to run yourself ragged. No one wants to be that first mouse.

In his book “The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart”, Willie says “As adults, we try to relax from the never-ending quest for reason and order by drinking a little whiskey or smoking whatever works for us, but the wisdom isn’t in the whiskey or the smoke. The wisdom is in the moments when the madness slips away and we remember the basics”. If there’s one thing you can trust Willie Nelson on it’s the effectiveness of whiskey and smoke on your state of mind.

In a conversation with the late Waylon Jennings, Willie laid out his view on taking it easy. “Cause one way or the other,” I said, rolling a fat one, “it’s all gonna work out.” “And what makes you so goddamn sure?” I took a hit and held it in. When I exhaled, I said, slowly but deliberately, “It’s a matter of faith, Waylon. And I got enough faith to last me this lifetime and whatever lifetimes come next.”

“Be Here. Be Present. Wherever You Are, Be There.”

Just because Willie Nelson’s philosophy is centered on taking it easy, doesn’t mean he’s against taking responsibility. In fact, many of Willie’s nuggets of wisdom center on taking control of your thoughts, actions, and reactions to the world.

Gems like, “I am the only person who can set me free from what might have been.” and “If you’ve made your own hell, then only you have the power to escape it.” go a long way in highlighting his stance on taking accountability.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” If there’s one person’s advice on positive outcomes you can take, it’s Willie Nelson’s.

Willie Nelson’s Thoughts on Love and Happiness

Willie’s belief in taking it easy extends to his thoughts on happiness. “You will never find happiness until you stop looking for it,” sums it up pretty clearly. From all appearances, he is one man who knows what it takes to be happy.

Nelson is currently with his fourth wife. The couple has been married for nearly thirty years. The former Highwayman has seen both success and failure in relationships. So, you can really take his thoughts on romantic love to heart. Like many other people his thoughts on love and happiness coincide. “You will never find love until you stop looking.”

On the other hand he also said, “Ninety-nine percent of the world’s lovers are not with their first choice. That’s what makes the jukebox play.”

Willie Nelson’s thoughts on love don’t stop at romantic love. He also has some sage advice when it comes to familial love. “The older I get, the more I realize it’s never too early to start appreciating the people in your life. If you love your family, it’s essential that you tell them. They need you and you need them. If you can make someone feel better with just a few words, why wouldn’t you want to use them? Speaking for fathers everywhere, this is the best I can offer. Go hug your daddy. It ain’t too late to save him.” The country music icon is a father of seven children. You can probably take that advice to the bank.

He Encourages Individuality: Just Be Yourself

You don’t get to be an outlaw country legend with a career that spans over six decades by being the same as everyone else. In fact, some of Willie Nelson’s biggest hits came after he and s few others decided to step away from the norm.

“If you’re not crazy there’s something wrong with you.” and “There is no such thing as a normal person. There is just you and me.” really highlight Willie’s stance on being an individual. If you need any more clarification on the point, in “The Tao of Willie: A Guide To the Happiness in Your Heart, he really laid it out. “So if I’m not normal and you’re not normal and they’re not normal—why in the blue blazes do we all spend so much time pretending we are?”

Willie Nelson’s Wisdom Distilled

Willie’s advice can be distilled into some pretty simple concepts. Take life easy, but remember to take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Make your own happiness and love will follow. Above all else, don’t stress being normal. Normal doesn’t exist.