When you’re going through something, or about to embark on some change or challenge, you begin to see signs that support you in the words you read everywhere, and the lyrics you hear, and the things we repeat to ourselves, over and over, like mantras that lead us to transformation.
And that leads us into the first of 10 mantras that can help us all live better…
1. “We see what we look for.” — Sir John Lubbock
This is the short version of the following quote: “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
It really doesn’t need much explanation. Such a mantra gives us cause to pause and question the things we take as signs. I know many people who put a lot of weight into the signs that they see. But they need to ask themselves — did they find what they were looking for? Or, did they just create that sign?
This also gives a lot of strength to other important things in life. Situations that seem awful, if we look for the positive, suddenly are no longer so melancholy. If we break up with someone and feel desperately low, we are probably holding that person up to the times when they were at their best. The other 90% of the time? That might be a better reality for us to focus on.
2. “The past has no power over the present moment.” — Eckhart Tolle
I think this is a wonderful and empowering phrase. We limit ourselves and box ourselves in because of things that have happened in the past. When we can let go of that, how divinely freeing it can be! This also relates to the next mantra…
3. “There are no failures — just experiences and your reactions to them.”
This one really makes you take control over yourself in circumstances that cause anger or frustration or hurt. “You can’t change other people. You can only change how you respond to them” is also very empowering. Taking responsibility for your own emotions and responses is incredibly freeing, because it takes away the power of others to hurt you. (See also: How to Manage Powerful Emotions)
4. “The start is what stops most people.” — Don Shula
I know this to be true! The anxiety over the what-if’s, the challenge, and the fear of failure is enough for us to not even try to go for our dreams. But it’s just that very first step that is the hardest.
5. “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” — Norman Vincent Peale
Another self-explanatory thought. If you change the way you think about things, you change the way you see them; and when you see things so differently, the world is different. This is apparent when just comparing a situation that happens in front of two people; they can both see the exact same thing, but have a very different experience, recount the story differently, and both be correct. This can free you to think about the entire world in a more positive light. (See also: 7 Ways to Feel Happier Now)
6. “Aggressive goals require an aggressive work ethic.”
Preparation, meet opportunity. Incredible opportunities don’t just land in your lap. You must prepare yourself to be able to take hold. Have a goal? Well, you have met that opportunity head on but were not prepared. Maybe you didn’t get the certification you needed, the qualifications, the education, or the space in your life that nurtured a fertile garden for it to grow. You didn’t prepare.
7. “Comparison is the stealer of joy.”
This is a tweak of a quote from Mark Twain: “Comparison is the death of joy.”
It has been said that we measure out happiness by our surroundings, and this is so true to most of us. The neighbors have a shiny new car, or just booked a 10 day vacation to an exotic island. And we feel like we don’t have it so good. Yet, to someone else living in poverty, our home, our car, and our life is a dream. When we quit comparing to others, we stop seeing all we don’t have. We must realize the only person we are trying to beat it ourselves. This is a freeing feeling. Allow others to be who they are, and accept where you are yourself. Don’t compare, just live your life.
8. “You are who you are when nobody is watching.” — Stephen Fry
A great quote from a favorite British comedian of mine. And it’s so true. Many people truly don’t know who they are and live their lives under the spotlight of opinion. But in those quiet moments, listen and observe as if you’re sitting on your own shoulder; as if you are a parent observing a child. Finding and being your authentic self is truly the place to find your foundation, and the key to finding deep, lifelong joy.
9. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt
When you don’t you can do something, you create an enormous mental block. Something that has to be overcome before you even start. But all it takes is an attitude adjustment. You CAN change your thoughts. It has been said that “whether you think you can do something, or you think you can’t, you are right.” You have the power to change your direction in life, just remove “can’t” from the equation. Don’t think “it can’t be done” but instead think “how CAN this be done?”
10. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” — NOT Gandhi
I love this quote, even though it is not from Gandhi. His actual words were “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him … We need not wait to see what others do.” (See also: 25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today)
But whatever the variation, the meaning is clear. The truth is, we can’t sit back and criticize when we don’t have the solution ourselves. But when we do, it is our responsibility to get stuck in and make things happen. We can all be a powerful and positive influence on the world, if we have the strength and commitment to see our ideas through. Don’t be a spectator… get in the game.
What mantras do you rely on when you’re getting primed for a transformation?