Ok How I Met Your Mother fans, it would seem there has always been a lot of speculation about the “butt load of motivational posters” in Barney Stinson’s Office. I actually get a question or comment related to this once a week or so… given the popularity of this topic I did some research, and feel it’s time now (before season 4 changes the wall again) the drop some knowledge. This post is only accurate through the end of Season 3, so feel free to comment and I’m sure there will be a revised post in the future.
You see, there is really not a simple question. For one thing, you never see all of them in one shot and when you do, you might catch a title but the catch phrase is a lot more difficult to see. The other, and more important issue is that they change from season to season! You may remember in my article about the Awesomeness Poster, that I posted this theory:
Finally… I feel the need to start a conspiracy theory. So what we know for sure is that the Awesomeness poster is first mentioned in Season 1 Episode 17 (Life Among the Gorillas) of HIMYM. And when it is mentioned Barney motions to either the back left corner of his office behind his desk. We also know that the poster makes it’s first “on screen” appearance in Season 3 Episode 1 (Wait For It…) (..stop waiting that was the name of the episode, sheesh) and at this time it is behind Barney’s desk to the right of the center of the room. So he just moved his posters around right? Wrong. ….
Let me point out a few things. First, in the area Barney pointed, the awesomeness poster is not there. Behind his desk there is no poster with the F-16 jet we saw in season 3 or the correct number of letters for the word “Awesomeness.” It can’t be on the wall to the left of Barney because as you can see there is just a huge set of windows. Was there even an awesomeness poster is Season 1…or just the mention of it.
And to help prove my theory came shots from Season 3. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Lets start with what’s on Barney’s office walls during Season 1 of How I Met Your Mother. What’s more I’ve tried to let you know where you can either buy or make your own from stock photos. Hope this helps.
During Season 1 there were 12 motivational posters. 10 Behind Barney’s desk and 2 on the wall next to his door. Given the way his office is laid out I don’t think there were more but I’m no Architect, though once I…ah, you don’t care so onward. As I mentioned earlier, despite the fact that Barney said there was an Awesomeness Poster in season 1, there is not one on the walls so it won’t count toward the “original 12” this time. Some are sold already and some were probably made by some HIMYM peeps, I couldn’t find everything but I do consider this to be the definitive work on the subject. It has taken many hours of research and browsing posters, stock photos, websites, etc… so enjoy.
1. Courage – “True greatness comes when you’re tested. Theodore Roosevelt”
This one is relatively easy to find, if you click on the word courage above you’ll see one place to buy it. You’ll notice the courage poster in the most top and left position behind Barney’s desk with a picture of firefighters on it.
2. Challenge – “We either find a way or we make one”
Funny that it should say make one, because that’s probably where this one came from. I can’t seem to find it on any rock climbing or motivational sites. The stock photo is no where to be found either. I can tell that is what the poster says but that’s about it. If I find out otherwise this will be updated. If your stuck on having one, here are some alternatives that I can recommend, since it can’t be exact:
Challenge skiiing (wording not the same as above)
Challenge running (still different)
And if you want to make your own these look like stock photos that would work, The Climber 3, Leading, Freeclimbing , Climbing or Rockclimber. If you plan on buying a stock photo then read this for info on some free iStockphoto credits.
3. Opportunity – “You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
A cool little basketball motivational poster. It is to the left of the courage poster also larger in size. You can could find it, like the courage poster at allposters. However it is discontinued. Maybe they will bring it back soon until then try amazon: Opportunity Motivational Psoter
4. Teamwork – “The chain is only as strong as the weakest link”
Another homebrew poster. The stock photo can be found at iStockphoto (like the awesomeness poster stock photo) but the poster was probably made for the show and isn’t available online that I can find.
5. Perseverance – “Continuous effort is the key to unlocking your potential. sir Winston Churchill”
A few guys in a rowboat…seems a little too peaceful for Barney Stinson, but who am I to judge. This can be found at allposters also.
6. Perfection – “It is not good enough to win, everybody else should lose”
It either says everybody or everyone, but I’m pretty certain on the rest of it. For me, this is the coolest poster in the office. Put this one in the “not found” category too because it’s a no show online. The planes seem to be Boeing F/A – 18 Hornets from the Blue Angels. And from the literally thousands of photos of them, this photo called formation flying is the closest to the one in Barney’s office I could find. If you are into making your own I would use that, fighter jets, hornet shockwave or airplanes in formation. And now there is a version of the perfection poster available in the be awesome instead store! Want to use something else? I would love to see your version of the Perfection poster. Post it below or email me!
7. Lead with Vision –
….this is where things get fuzzy. Again, the photo has proven a better hide-and-go seek player than me. Stock Photo found (thanks to stfan for the comment and work!) If I were going to make my own I would use Into the Sunset, but as for what it says I have no clue. The only “Lead with Vision” m.p. I could find used the catch phrase “Leaders keep their eyes on the horizon, not just on the bottom line.”, but it looked so corny I refuse to post it here.
Now stay with me on this poster a second. This poster has a strange characteristic the we begin to see in some of the upcoming posters. Notice the white banding over the catch phrase? Not sure if this was HIMYM staff made or a characteristic of a sold poster brand but I couldn’t find them anywhere online. Keep that in mind would you, I would love to know if there is an answer. Either way a version will be in the shop soon!
8. Conformity – “It’s the one who is different that gets left out in the cold.”
These little penguins are evasive. The conformity penguins poster has the only catch phrase read aloud on the show. Season 1’s “Life Among the Gorillas” is where we get this and the bulk of the poster views. Still can’t find the stock photo but people do seem to enjoy the fan version.
9. Strength – “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve” (thanks to NPHFan in the comments for the quote!)… I know it has columns (much like the Ted’s first Skyscraper), but I can’t exactly find them. Classical Columns and Pillars look close but if you are a stickler for detail you’ll notice it’s not exact. I’ll reserve my thought on made vs. bought but if you need a different quote for your own try: “Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” Otherwise, since Barney seems to have a thing for jet posters just try out this Strength poster.
10. “the mystery poster”...I say mystery but it actually appears to be a second Teamwork poster. Skydivers in a circle holding hands (how sweet) this posters says, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. Henry Ford.” Since we already have 1 teamwork poster the title of this may be why it is hidden behind a wine rack. Feel free to compare the two and leave your thoughts:
Posters by the door:
11. Determination – … saying unknown… I do like “Climb as high as you can dream” like this determination poster. Which makes sense since it appears to to be a climber standing atop a cliff he just climbed. Here again we see that wonderful white bar over the catch phrase…making it that much harder to read from the views we have.
12. Focus – …still no bloody clue what it says… here we have a black and white photo of a cyclist riding … and it’s oddly enough out of focus. Other than the stock photo, I did find a focus poster, but it uses some inline skater instead of a cyclist…maybe that’s you but it didn’t seem too Barney. The quote does though.
Very little is seen of Barney’s office in Season 2, from what I can see it looks the same as season 1 (see the beginning of “World’s Greatest Couple” if needed). So, Nothing much to see here, keep the line moving.
In the “Wait for it” (ep. 1), you will notice the first visual of the Awesomeness Poster. It shows up behind Barney and between the “Challenge” and “Teamwork” Posters. Missing now is the “Perfection” poster that graced the wall so…err…perfectly? By the end of season 3 the “Teamwork” and “Awesomeness” Posters have switched places, but “Perfection” stays missing. There is good news though because now you can see a small wall by the windows with 2 new posters. This brings the total (through Season 3) to 15 posters total.
13. Awesomeness – “When I get sad, I stop being sad and be Awesome Instead. True Story. Barney Stinson”
This is the most famous and the one that everyone wants to own and know about. If you don’t know anything..or everything about it then take a few and read all you will ever want to know about the Awesomeness Poster.
14. Greatness – No picture is ever seen and the text is too blurry to read in everything I can find. I think the first word is “The” but don’t take that to the bank. The closest I could find was this Greatness poster, but the one Barney has is vertical not horizontal so no dice.
15. Discovery – Another white bar over the phrase, so no much clue what it say… probably something like “You can’t read this, ha, ha, ha.” I was hoping the stock photo would be at iStockphoto like some of the others, but alas it was not. I’m so sick of looking at poster and stock photos. Either way, winning the “close but no cigar” award for these is Régate Ajaccio 2007.
I know this list is not quite complete and where to buy or make several posters remains unknown. If you run across anything that would make this list more complete please post a comment here or email me using the contact page. Did you end up making your own? I would love to see them. For now I’m off to find an Advil.
Thanks and Be Awesome.