Do you get fed up and roll your eyes when an older relative or family friend spouts some saying or well-meaning words of wisdom in an effort to give you some advice? Have you heard it all before?
Well perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss their kindly advice because actually a lot of it makes sense. I use some mantras to keep me going and remind me of why I am doing something and they do help, so let me share a few with you:
Nothing is easy, but who wants nothing?
Doesn’t that just put things in perspective. If you want something, you have to make an effort, things won’t just land in your lap. So take the first step and make things happen. It might be difficult but the harder it is, the greater your sense of achievement.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
When someone gets that dream job, goes on an exotic holiday or gets tickets for that sell-out concert, our first reaction is usually to say “Aren’t you lucky!”. Well luck doesn’t usually come into it. To get that job, they would have gone through a rigorous selection process, spent hours on research and refining their application and practised interview questions.
That holiday would have involved careful planning, saving up money and organising time off etc., while the concert tickets probably meant they registered in advance and sat for hours on the computer refreshing ticket allocation pages. So basically, you make your own luck.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
I like to be prepared so this is a no brainer for me. Besides, if there is something I don’t want to do, I prefer to tackle it head on and get it over and done with. It makes me feel so much better and I don’t have it hanging over me like a black cloud. That essay, for example, won’t go away if you just keep ignoring it. That email will still need an answer, and mum will still want you to tidy your bedroom. If you don’t tackle this stuff, you are carrying unnecessary baggage around with you all the time and believe me, it weighs you down. So clear the decks and it will make room for all the other things you want to do.
Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
Now this is a parent talking! But the good thing is they will have done most things you want to do – and more – and made the same mistakes along the way. Perhaps they just don’t want to admit it. When my mother said to me” Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” she would always add: “And that will give you plenty of scope”…
You always regret what you don’t do, not what you do.
This is so right when applied to decisions. Making a decision is the hardest part, whether it is what course to choose, what accommodation to rent or what friendship group to join. Once you have made that decision, you don’t think about it again. It’s a done deal. But if we don’t do something, it lingers like a question that will never be answered. You know what I mean. What if I had gone to Australia, what if I had gone for that job, what if I had tried a little harder at school?
And that is why that overused but succinct command from the Roman poet Horace resonates to this day and trumps all other sayings. Carpe Diem (to seize the moment), basically means enjoy life while one can, and you can’t argue with that.