SuccessStory Quotes: Inspiring Quotes by Tilda Swinton

In an industry where youth is a valuable currency, Tilda Swinton is one of the rare exemptions in the field of arts and entertainment. With her otherworldly androgynous features and magnetic presence on and offscreen, this intrepid English actress has defied all expectations from both critics and audiences considering that she is currently one of the most in-demand talents in the filmmaking business. This is impressive despite Swinton not being a much bigger household name compared to her fellow peers more than half her age.

Moving effortlessly between mainstream and arthouse projects, Swinton’s filmography reads like a dream resume for any aspiring thespian, or something that other actors would openly envy. She has starred in everything from artistic independent productions like I Am Love and Only Lovers Left Alive to major action blockbusters such as Snowpiercer and Doctor Strange. Despite her eccentric body of work, one of the most defining signatures that Swinton imparts on her films is that she always manages to fully transform herself.

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And it is Swinton’s uncanny ability as a cinematic metamorph that makes her a worthy candidate as a featured personality for our newly revamped SuccessStory Quotes series. Throughout her stellar career, this highly talented androgyne has been a huge source of inspiration for many people in and out of the world of entertainment. We have gathered some of her most profound and inspirational words of wisdom so that you could hopefully apply them to your life and see the world with a more distinctly Swintonian point of view.

Tilda Swinton on CREATIVITY

"What I make in the world is shapes, atmospheres, stories. If what any artist makes inspires others to create, then that's what I call a good, good thing."

What We Understand: Outside of her tremendous work as film actress, Swinton has expanded her repertoire to include her reputation as a performance artist as well as a muse and model for top fashion designers. Swinton has even frequently insisted that she doesn’t refer to herself as an actress but rather as an “artist’s model”, as she likes the idea of being a blank canvas that allows her the freedom to express the full spectrum of her creativity.

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Quote Application: It’s one thing to be a highly educated and logical individual, but relying on your smarts can only get you so far in life unless you are able to infuse a considerable amount of creativity and imagination into your affairs. When you’re able to tap into your creative side, then it will open more avenues for better opportunities in your professional life, as well as elevating you to being an inspirational figure for others who look up to you.

Tilda Swinton on DETOURS

"The stories I love most are about the benefits of being blown off course."

What We Understand: Swinton’s work as an actress has allowed her to travel to realms both real and imagined, and she is particularly keen on exploring stories that give her the opportunity to stray from the usual path that others might not dare to investigate. And it is because of Swinton’s relentless pursuit of venturing into such interesting detours that it has contributed to her success and allure within the creative fields of film, fashion, and art.

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Quote Application: Most people are so fixated on sticking to a set gameplan or itinerary that they often underestimate the value of doing things spontaneously. Living life in the moment can be a truly liberating feeling, and this is something that you shouldn’t miss given that it can help shape your personal development. Don’t be afraid to take those detours because you never know what kind of amazing things you might find along the way.

Tilda Swinton on DOUBT

"There is something insane about the lack of doubt. Doubt is what makes you human and without doubt, even the righteous lose their grip, not only on reality but also on their humanity."

What We Understand: One might assume that Swinton exudes a strong level of confidence based solely on her unique physical appearance and the way that she carries herself in public. But the English actress admits that—just like everyone else—she too has her doubts and insecurities. Swinton even believes that the ability to feel doubt is a strong contributing factor on what makes one human, and really, who could ever argue with her on this one?

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Quote Application: Permanently channeling confidence could potentially lead to cultivating an aura of arrogance, and being arrogant isn’t something that is conducive to your personal growth. That is why it’s okay for you to sometimes feel doubtful in certain situations where you’re not sure about the outcome. Don’t feel too bad whenever doubt clouds your mind because it forces you to be creative with finding the best solutions for your problems.

Tilda Swinton on FAITH

Faith is in the eye of the beholder.

What We Understand: Swinton appears to have paraphrased a familiar saying and has made it her own by substituting the word “beauty” with “faith”, and thus, the maxim takes on a completely different meaning. Swinton subscribes to the idea that every single individual is free to look at the world through their own belief systems, and thereby giving people the power to understand that faith is totally unique within every single individual.

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Quote Application: When you’re aiming to become a successful working professional, it’s important for you to remember that you need to keep your beliefs and morals intact because they form the foundation of your integrity and other essential ethical values. Remember to respect the opinions of other people while also adhering to your personal beliefs. This ensures that you keep an open mind even while still being true to yourself.

Tilda Swinton on IDENTITY

"I'm basically interested in identity, and I still find this question fascinating: how do we identify ourselves and how do we settle into other people's expectations for our identity?"

What We Understand: Unlike most of her peers in the business, Swinton is one of those rare creatives who is focused on the examination of identity. Actors are required to embody a broad range of characters for various projects, and Swinton has consistently gone above and beyond to research her roles in order to get the identities of her characters just right. And the exploration of identity is something that you should definitely consider seriously.

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Quote Application: Knowing who you really are as a person is imperative if you want to make other people recognize you for your merits, and the very identity that you forged for yourself happens to come with certain expectations from other people. However, you should not feel too pressured about what people might think of you because at the end of the day, what really matters is you are contented with yourself and how you live your life.

Tilda Swinton on INNER BEAUTY

"I never quite understand the way society decides who is beautiful and who is not. But an open face and a capacity for kindness always feel like reliable signifiers to me.

What We Understand: One could never guess that Swinton—with her angular good looks and edgy sophistication—is already well into middle age, and yet she still looks a lot better than most actresses currently out there who are more than half her age. But underneath the gamine countenance of this English thespian and artistic muse, she doesn’t really place any importance on external beauty because she believes that the intangible attributes of people pertaining to their personality are more important to her than how they look like.

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Quote Application: You would do well to follow Tilda Swinton’s lead and judge people not on their looks, but how they interact with other people. Being a shallow person is not exactly an attractive quality for anyone to have because most people detest the idea of judging others based solely on physical appearance. If you truly want to make meaningful relationships with others, then you should get to know people on a more personal level.

Tilda Swinton on OPTIMISM

"We have to believe it's going to be for the better. What's the alternative? We have to be scrupulous for asking for what we want."

What We Understand: Many people who have worked with Swinton on various projects often remark of her friendly and maternal disposition tinged with a playful streak. And these creative talents have also commented on Swinton’s ability to always look on the bright side of things even when the situation looks particularly dire. And having a strong sense of optimism in the face of strife is something that everyone should aspire to embody.

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Quote Application: Life will always have its ups and downs, and you’re going to have an easier time dealing with challenges if you choose to be practical while at the same time having an optimistic point of view. In fact, you should take a proactive approach when it comes to channeling positivity because you can’t wait for the silver lining to appear in your obstacles; you have to be the one to chase—or even create—your own silver linings.

Tilda Swinton on PERSONAL LIFE

I don’t have a career. I have a life. I don't have an exterior judgment on what would be good or bad for me."

What We Understand: Despite her constantly busy schedule—what with her being an Academy Award-winning actress and one of the world’s most sought-after performers—Swinton has repeatedly made comments that she doesn’t like to view what she does as a career, and nor does she prefer to let it define her as a person. She instead chooses to live her life as she sees fit, and accepting the ups and downs that come with her life choices.

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Quote Application: There are some people in this world who are defined by the kind of work that they do, and this isn’t always a good thing. In fact, it’s essential that you don’t become too obsessed with cultivating your career because to do so would mean sacrificing your personal life in the process, and that’s something that you need to avoid. As much as possible, you have to be conscious about living your life outside of your work commitments.

Tilda Swinton on PERSPECTIVE

"I'm constantly fascinated with the idea of being able to know what anybody else's experience is, and how misleading all informatives, like appearance, can be."

What We Understand: Swinton’s brand of intellectualism has often led her to reveal her esoteric interests that includes the examination of the human experience and how society perceives the world around them. This intrepid English actress understands the value of looking deeper into the context of things in order to gain a better perspective on the world. And having a genuinely substantial perspective is exactly what you need to succeed in life.

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Quote Application: In order for you to attain a higher level of perception, the first step to your journey is to be more empathetic with others because empathy is a vital element that allows people to comprehend the human experience. You must learn to break free from your prejudices and allow yourself to be more open-minded so you’ll be able to achieve a worldview that is more inclusive in nature, and thereby allowing you to think differently.

Tilda Swinton on SELFDOM

"You're always playing yourself. It's all autobiography, whatever you're doing. Because the last thing you want is to look like you're acting."

What We Understand: One of the major reasons why Swinton is such a hot commodity in the field of art and entertainment is that she has this unique ability to be a chameleon on screen while still maintaining a semblance of her true self outside of the characters she plays. This is quite an impressive thing for an actor considering her extensive body of work that she has done over the years. Simply put: always put your personal stamp on everything.

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Quote Application: In relation to the previous point about forging your own identity, it’s equally important to make sure that you should remain true to yourself and to not put on a fake persona for the benefit of other people. Nothing can be more empowering than letting your true colors shine and experiencing the feeling of freedom that comes along with it. Own your originality and never act like someone else for the sake of appearances.

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