The Secret Power of A Catchphrase
There is a ton of power in mantras - catchphrases, mottos, or whatever you want to call them - for me, at least, and I suspect for lots of people. It took me a long time to realize just how effective these kinds of mental devices could be because I didn't have a clear articulation for it until a few years ago when I had a conversation with my siblings about it. At the time, my sister gave me the comparison that it's like having a heading or chapter mark in a journal as kind of a fulcrum for the rest of what you're doing.
For years, I've had some kind of short phrase that I use as motivation and since that conversation where I learned what I was doing, I have made a more conscious effort to always have some kind of word or phrase that provides me with focus or motivation. I cycle in and out of different ones based on what I'm going through in that stage of life and what my goals are.
The first mantra that I remember crafting for myself and actively thinking about was "fleeting finalities." The words sound ridiculous in retrospect, but I ran it through my mind so much that I find myself saying it at times now. Kind of lame, sure, but it helped me to realize that there's generally nothing to gain in lamenting things like the last time you drove in your first car, the last time you spoke to someone, or the last time you did pretty much anything because that nostalgic pain doesn't last and then you're on to more gainful things.
The most notable, timeless, and effective of my mantras so far has been "power through."
Power through got me through college. That's why I have it inscribed on the inside of my class ring.
This was a lot harder to photograph than I imagined.
Whenever I look down at my ring or feel it on my hand, it reminds me that sometimes you just have to put your shoulder down, grab a lower gear, and grind it out (though you probably shouldn't grind your gears in your car).
To me, having a short phrase is a way of clarifying my goals and boiling it down to something that I can routinely come back to, mentally. It functions similarly to writing my goals down somewhere because it makes an accessible concept that is a more succinct and a bit more concrete than goals are sometimes. It might sound cheesy, but there is definitely merit to it. I used to think that writing down goals was unnecessary, but there is a difference in attitude when you take something out of your mind and put it down on paper or in words in general. The same thing happens with a word of phrase that you can repeatedly come back to in your mind. I guess it's part articulation and part repetition.
The point isn't to have some profound wisdom that sounds great when you tell other people, I would say that's the exact opposite; the point is to create a mechanism that allows you to push yourself in the direction that helps you grow and be better.
I challenge you to try out making a mantra for yourself or to change it up if you already use mantras. Take something you want to accomplish and pare it down to a few words that you can repeat to yourself to remind you of your course of action and to stay focused on your goal. I'd love to hear your experience or your thoughts so definitely feel free to either shoot me an email or leave a comment below!