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5 Life-Changing Mottos To Live By

self-help books and mantras..
Propaganda is ubiquitous in the modern world.

Propaganda is in commercials. It’s in music. It’s on billboards. It’s in books. It’s in curriculum. It’s on the mouths of friends, family, and virtually everyone we interact with. Everyone has an idea about how things work and the best way to go about life. And some people have an agenda to go along with it. There is nothing wrong with propaganda in itself. No man is an island. We are all programmed to take cues from other people, both deceased and living, who may know something we don’t.

In this article, I’ve distilled a short list of the 5 mottos that most powerfully embody the philosophies and values after which I try to model my life. With the exception of maybe #5, none of these are are originally my own, which goes to show how much we are all indebted to others for whatever wisdom that we possess.

1. “Do the next right thing.”

Oftentimes, we want to fast-forward to the end result. For example, if we want to lose 50 lbs, learn a new language, or beat lust for good, we zero in on those goals. It’s important to set goals, but our processes, which consist of a series of smaller productive actions, are what enable us to achieve them. Our processes, once in place, are what we should command the lion’s share of our attention.

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

James Clear In Atomic Habits

This motto asks the question, what can I be doing right now to move me closer to my goal?

2. “If he can do it, I can do it, too.”

All people possess the same nature. Oftentimes, we don’t know what we’re capable of doing until we see someone else do it. The most famous example for this is Roger Banister. He was the first person to ever run a sub-4 minute mile in 1954 after other athletes had attempted the feat for decades. Within a few years, several other people had done it, and today more than 1,000 are credited with the accomplishment.

This motto is why this site has an entire section devoted to testimonies, mostly consisting of people who have achieved success in their battle for sexual integrity. If you read around on the blog, you will see this motto cited in many articles.

3. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

This is the Golden Rule that Jesus enshrined. It is said to be the command “on which all the Law and the Prophets hang” (Matthew 22:40). To my mind, fulfillment of the Golden Rule is the fastest thing that would get this world to resemble the literary construct of the ideal city, known as “the City of God.” So many of humanity’s problems are caused, not by the weather, or the environment, or scarcity, or biology, but by the poor manner in which people treat one another.

4. “Pray as though everything depended on God; work as if everything depended on you.”

This quote is often attributed to St. Ignatius. It practically communicates how we should interpret the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. We should eagerly seek God and be grateful for whatever he gives us, acknowledging that he has the first and last say in every situation, while simultaneously taking ownership for creating our lives.

5. “Don’t do anything during the day that negatively influences your quality of sleep at night.”

Sleep is vital to human well-being. Many factors influence our quality of sleep, like diet, exercise, stress, and so on. Another big and underrated factor that influences our quality of sleep is integrity. Inner chaos is the product of doing the wrong thing. Inner peace is the product of doing the right thing. I recently elaborated on this one in One Powerful Life Hack to Improve The Quality Of Sleep. Check it out.

Let’s ask ourselves today, what propaganda are we filling our minds with?

Is it getting us closer or further away from the place we want to be?

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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