A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 25, 2021
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”

"Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself” (or “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself") is a motivational saying that has been printed on many images. Authorship is unknown.

“The famous American novelist Mary McCarthy once said that ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself’” was printed in the book You, Inc. (1996) by Burke Hedges. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” was credited to George Bernard Shaw in the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle on August 11, 1997. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was famous and his work is digitally searchable, but there is no evidence that he ever said it. It is not known that American novelist Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) said it, either.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself...it’s about creating yourself!” was printed in The Morning Star (Vernon, BC) on March 3, 2004. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself” was printed in The Village Voice (New York, NY) on April 28, 2004.


Google Books
You, Inc.
By Burke Hedges
Tampa, FL : INTI Pub
1996
Pg. 31:
The famous American novelist Mary McCarthy once said that “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

11 August 1997, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “High Praise for Drug Court / Prosecutors, clients say county’s approach works” by CHarlie Goodyear, pg. A11, col. 2:
... from George Bernard Shaw, she added, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Google Groups: alt.support.breastfeeding
new to group
Vic
Jun 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM
(...)
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
~ George Bernard Shaw ~

19 July 1999, Vancouver (BC) Sun, “City Limits,” pg. B5, col. 2:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
-- George Bernard Shaw

Google Groups: alt.business.home.pcmisc.entrepreneurs
Moneymaking/Educational Opportunity
Torben Birkmose
Dec 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM
(...)
The famous American novelist Mary McCarthy once said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Google Books
Inspired to Lose:
Motivational stories from North America’s leading weight-loss support group

By Howard Rankin
Hilton Head Island, SC: Step Wise Press
2001
Pg. 16:
Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

Newspapers.com
3 March 2004, The Morning Star (Vernon, BC), pg. B7, col. 4 ad:
Life isn’t about finding yourself...it’s about creating yourself!
(Adventure Boot Camp.—ed.)

28 April 2004, The Village Voice (New York, NY), “Free Will Astrology” by Rob Brezsny, pg. 159:
Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.

Twitter
Handoko Sutanto
@GitaNurani
Good quote from my friend: “Life isn’t about finding yourself… It’s about creating yourself”
11:51 AM · May 3, 2007·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Tien N. Nguyen
@quotecollection
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. -George Bernard Shaw-
12:21 AM · Feb 14, 2008·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Emanuel Simonian
@EmanuelSimonian
‎"Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ Mary McCarthy
12:18 AM · Nov 14, 2010·Ping.fm

Jacob J. Walker’s Blog
Quote of the Day: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Written by Jacob Walker
December 7th, 2013 at 11:59 am
(...)
In either case, from what I could find, with the limited tool set that I now have at my disposal, I don’t think this quote came from George Bernard Shaw, as it wasn’t in his writings on Google Books, and those are still usually accurate, especially since they are often in the Public Domain, due to their age.  Yet, at least one college English professor, the founder of Project Shaw, and the U.S. Congressional Record all say it was from him.  (Maybe they are right and I’m wrong… But I’d like to see the evidence!)

The earliest citation I can find to anyone, is to Mary McCarthy, but that was second-hand, and none of my searches through her books seems to show it.  Although, a book about creative writing, has a snippet view that maybe has a similar idea, but without reading more, I can’t say for sure.

Reddit—Quotes
Posted by u/relaint May 13, 2016
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw
Disputed origin
COMMENTS
gnorrn
It’s unlikely this is by Shaw. The earliest citation in Google Books is from Burke Hedges, You, Inc: Discover the C.E.O. Within! of 1996, where it is attributed not to Shaw but to novelist Mary McCarthy. It’s subsequently attributed to Shaw in Espeland and Verdick, Making Every Day Count: Daily Readings for Teens (1998) (visible with Amazon search inside).

Google Books
Title Life Isn’t about Finding Yourself. Life Is about Creating Yourself Paperback ? A: 6x9-108 Pages Neutral Wide-Rule Journal Paper Matte Finish Journal/Notebook
Author Bentley Curations
Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018
ISBN 1724663518, 9781724663511
Length 108 pages

Twitter
Maximus
@Maximus_news
#MondayMotivation: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself” ~George Bernard Shaw
10:00 AM · Apr 8, 2019·Hootsuite Inc.

Facebook
Jillian L. Davis
October 9, 2020 ·
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” -George Bernard Shaw

Twitter
conspiracybot
@conspiracyb0t
Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
12:44 AM · Jan 26, 2021·conspiracyb0t

Twitter
@CONSCIOUSBEATS
@CONSCIOUSBEATS
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”―George Bernard Shaw
12:43 PM · Jan 26, 2021·Tweet Suite

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Monday, January 25, 2021 • Permalink