These Are The Mantras That Keep Me Going In Life

Quotes Bully Girl - Ilayza

So in a recent newsletter, I wrote about how your ultimate purpose is you (which, if you haven’t, you can subscribe to here), and that served as inspiration for this post.

Because if that quote has stuck in my mind for so long, what other quotes can there be? And would they be able to help you? I don’t know, but let’s find out.

1. I get to do this

If there’s one quote that’s been at the forefront of my mind lately, it has to be this. Whenever I’m faced with dread, I just need to repeat this quote to totally flip the script on myself.

For instance, working out every day can be a drag, but I get to do it. So many other people can’t due to various reasons: sickness, responsibilities, or just the fact that they aren’t even alive. And here I am whining about not ‘feeling it’?

Also, I eat healthy most days, but sometimes wish I didn’t have to. Yet when I look at my plate of veggies and chicken breasts, all I need is to repeat the mantra and suddenly I’m grateful for being able to give my body the nutrition it deserves. Some people live in food deserts and can’t eat healthy even if they wanted to.

This simple reminder can turn even the most mundane tasks into pursuits of glory. So whenever you find yourself staring down a bucketload of dread, remind yourself how lucky you are that you get to do what you want.

And if this trick doesn’t work, then perhaps you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.

2. You gotta bully yourself first so that others can’t

Self-care is such an overused term that people tend to use it as an excuse to rescind any morsel of responsibility.

I do believe that we should always care for number one, and that we should put ourselves first before we try taking care of others, but I draw the line at making things worse in the name of ‘self-care’.

If spa appointments, shopping sprees, or eating a tub of ice cream allows you to be the best version of yourself, then go at it.

But me? I can’t find it in myself to go deeper in the red where self-confidence is concerned, because when that happens, I’ll be such a dick to everybody else around me.

Which is why I try to be stern with self, just so I can become a pillar for others.

When I wake up earlier than I want to, I’m building my self-confidence. When I go out for that run when it’s dark out, I slather another layer of confidence atop my fragile self-worth. When I finish that blog post despite being worded out for the day, I’m setting myself apart from the writers who only say they want to write but don’t.

You can’t magically start believing in yourself. It’s something you have to realise through action.

It’s like that Russell Peters joke about the terrorists: “You kill me? I kill me.”

3. The world is as you are

In a world of cancel culture and people being so quick to feel triggered, it’s inevitable to one day clash heads with someone of opposite values.

And I’m not immune to that. I get annoyed by haters as much as you. But then I remember that the world will go on, with or without my opinions and beliefs.

Plus, my reaction to external events is more a reflection of me than the world.

Think about a past problem. Does it still bother you? Think about the problems that keep you up at night. Then recall a time when you’d just completed a tough workout. How did those problems seem then?

So it makes sense to pay attention to the state that we’re in. Feel bad and everything else takes on a more sinister undertone. Feel good and even the biggest problems just roll off your back.

Just look to the people like Nelson Mandela, Viktor Frankl, Helen Keller, and Gandhi, who have managed to find peace amidst horrific conditions. I don’t know how they found the strength, but they’ve definitely proved that it’s about how we look at the problem and not the problem itself.

4. The most important time to do something is when you can’t

Waking up early and exercising is a routine to me now. It’s not easy, but thanks to the power of habit, nor is it a particularly tough pursuit.

But there are days when I just don’t have the energy to lift a finger. Maybe I ate too much junk the day before, or maybe I overexerted myself.

This is when most people would encourage rest, because life is all about balance, right? It’s better to refresh myself and come back stronger, right?

Thing is, as I’ve shared earlier, that’s not how I gain self-confidence. I need to know that I can rely on myself, especially when things get tough. And the only way I can prove that to myself is to step up when the situation calls for it.

So the moment I’m thinking of avoiding a task is exactly when I get to test what I’m made of. It’s easy to stick to a plan when everything goes my way. But life doesn’t always go my way. And I need to be ready for that.

5. The obstacle is the way

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but avoiding problems isn’t something to aspire to in life.

Here’s an embarrassing example: I hate cockroaches. So when one crawls out the woodwork, I’ll act as if I didn’t see it, hoping that it’ll go away on its own. Worse is when I ask my partner Yen to deal with it.

But that’s a terrible way to deal with this problem. I can’t run from cockroaches forever, the same way I can’t hide from my fears forever. Trying to sweep that problem under the rug is just ensuring that I never get over it.

And it’s not my fear of cockroaches that’ll get me in the end. It’s my inability to face my problems that’ll do me in.

It’s the same for confrontation. Or procrastination. Or falling in love. The more you avoid your problems, the more they’ll continue to haunt you.

So the next time you face your obstacles, don’t wish for a life devoid of them. Instead, design a life that allows you to conquer each and every one of your problems.

6. You are your purpose

In the humdrum of paying your bills and taking care of responsibilities, it’s easy to forget that you should be your main purpose in life.

It doesn’t matter if you have seven children to feed or if you just need to make the monthly payments on your car. You should always be the main focus in your life.

A wise monk once said that you need to light your own candle first before you can light others’, and I totally believe that.

You can’t kill it financially yet be one flight of stairs away from a heart attack. Conversely, you can’t be a fitfluencer but rely on your partner to pay the rent.

Every day, I try to be just a tiny bit better than the last. I try to be fitter. Smarter. A few hundred words deeper into my novel. Every day has a purpose. And that purpose is you. Me. Us.

Don’t let your day go to waste.

7. Just write

This is just a bonus that pertains largely to my unique circumstances. I stand by this mantra because every good thing that’s ever happened to me has been a result of me just writing.

I got to travel the world, meet interesting people, and become a traditionally-published author, all because I did the simple thing of just writing. As Neil Gaiman says, it’s that easy. But it’s also that hard.

Just thought I’d drop this little nugget here if you happen to be into writing (which I highly suspect you do).

Quotes only have power if you practise them

Now, you can either passively consume quotes, or you can add them to your value system. The world isn’t short on motivational quotes, but there’s no point collecting them if you’re not going to act.

So I hope my favourites have added a new perspective to your life. And in the meantime, you can also share if you want: What quotes do you live by?

Get more quotes (and goodies) through my newsletter. If you liked this piece, then the exclusive stories I send you through the mail will be right up your alley.

73 thoughts on “These Are The Mantras That Keep Me Going In Life

  1. The bit about avoidance… I think I hate it and love it in equal measure. I love a quote from Mother Theresa ‘love them anyway’ (much longer if you Google it – quite profound. It applies to people, I am claiming it for writing. ‘Write anyway.’


    • When writing is distilled to that level, it becomes so simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy, amirite? Here’s to more ’writing anyway’, because most times, it’s the hardest thing to start doing.


  2. Those are very interesting quotes, and it’s crazy because I’ve also been telling myself “I get to do this” a lot lately, and it really helps to gain some perspective out of feeling unmotivated. For other quotes you mentioned I feel like it wouldn’t work for me, as I’m already my biggest critic and don’t need to bully myself on top of that 😂 the issue is that then there is a tough balance to be found between being gentle with myself and listening to my body – and pushing myself a bit more just over my laziness. And that’s very tricky!


    • ‘I get to do this’ is such a wonderful way to shift perspectives. Suddenly, even the most dreadful task can seem almost noble.

      Yeah, we all have to collect our very own set of mantras to apply to our own unique lives. Would love to hear what’s your #1 in your personal life.

      Here’s another saying I keep repeating to you because of your constant support: “I appreciate you!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! I think lately my #1 mantra has been something along the lines of “the first step is always the hardest” and “done is better than perfect”!


  3. Love this!

    My favourite quite that I share is:

    The toes you tread on today may well be connected to the legs that support the arse you need to kiss tomorrow.

    So I treat everyone with respect because… I might want something from them tomorrow!


    • Lol I’ve always thought about that, but in a different way. Like, I used to be a hothead when driving, but when near the office, I always drive politely. No idea who I might see or offend. Eventually, that practice expanded to the entire world, so I’m a much chiller driver now.


  4. “The world is as you are.”

    Yep Stuart, that is it. The truth. The secret. Few discover it. The enlightened beings you mentioned figured it out. First, keep looking back into your mind in order to see what appears to be mirrored back to you, through people, places and circumstances. Amazing how the outer world is our mind being reflected back to us. TOUGH to practice ;)….but thank goodness we are the observer of our mind, and not a victim of the world.

    Excellent post!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Love that you put it in more eloquent words. The outside world is just nature running its course. But sometimes, we’re so quick to inject ourselves into everything. ‘That person wants to be fit so they must hate fat people. This person didn’t laugh at my joke so he must hate me.’ Great to always chat with like-minded people like you!


  5. Hey Stuart, my wife Roze told me about your post this morning and how it sounded to her, that you were describing me. I hate to admit it, but she was right. Referring to things like delaying comfort things, using phrases or mantras to get yourself to do something.

    That phrase you used – you are your purpose. I never heard it said that way before, I really like that one.

    I have to say, you certainly an inspiration when it comes to writing. I’m referring to the quantity. It blows me away. You write 20+ new comments a day not including replies and such. How do you manage to find time to write a book. I had to dig 6 feet down through the comments and your replies to comments just to find the box to post a comment. Currently I’m working on a goal to leave 3 comments a day this month. So like I said, your an inspiration due to your dedication and commitment. Roze and I really enjoy your content. Best of luck with your book.


    • Oh wow, how kind of Roze! And how kind of you to share the words you did as well. You have no idea how much that means to me, especially right now in such a transitional part of my life. Sometimes it feels as though I’m just grinding for nothing. But now I feel seen! I’m honoured you’d go on and start commenting more as a result.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and sharing this, Razz. If this is a preview of the types of comments you’ll be leaving on other people’s blog, then you’ll definitely be making a lot of bloggers happy this month!


  6. I get to do this! That is going to become my new mantra. Since developing chronic pain I often moan about having to do things that cause me pain. But with this mantra I can appreciate the fact that I can get up on my feet and do things that others can’t. I ‘get to’ get out of bed every day while others are bedridden. I love the new outlook this gives me. Thanks so much for all your wisdom.

    btw I am also a quote hoarder. I started collecting them in a binder when I was 13 years old. They have helped me get through some low times. We can learn alot from the wisdom of others if we choose to listen and act on it. Have a wonderful day Stuart!


    • Yeah the ‘get to do this’ bit is super helpful in changing my perspective! It’s easy to watch the the hesitance fade away once I remind myself how much of a privilege it is to do what I don’t want to be doing.

      Thanks so much for mentioning this post to Razz too. I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My favorite is “just write”, though these are all great! I definitely see the value into making something routine so that we can continue through on those days we feel unmotivated. I think there’s also value to trying something new or adding something into a routine to spice it up, but I’m not sure if there’s a quote about that.


  8. I love the wisdom in this post, Stuart. Something I often say is “Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.” Some people might see that as a cop out but, for me, it’s a reminder that we are not always in control. When things don’t go our way, we can cry “woe is me” or we can accept things as they are and find a way forward.

    I have so many examples of this in my life. When I was in my 20s and didn’t get the job that I really, really wanted, I found a different job and that’s where I met my husband of almost 30 years. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I took it as an opportunity to grow and learn.

    I could go on but I think you’ll see my point. We often work so hard to make things go “our way” that we overlook the opportunity that’s presented to us when things don’t go our way.

    As always, thanks for inspiring some thought to start my day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whoa, I know many cancer survivors here on WordPress, but I never knew that about you! Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

      And the quote you shared is amazing. The person who first comes to terms with acceptance will have a much easier time in life.

      I love that perspective, because it gives us the freedom to work for what we want, but not put too much on the results.

      Thank you for this lovely comment today!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, thanks for putting this together. I do believe that we have many of the same reading interest with regards to personal development and general outlooks on life! 👌👊


  10. What a wise post ‘Guru Stuart’😃 I agree with facing your problems and sitting with those feelings – as brushing them right under that rug won’t make the dust settle.You mentioned Victor E Frankl and that made me think of ‘Mans Search For Meaning’ which was a great read. Always put yourself first and become more self-aware. Oh you can read a zillion quotes but as you say you have to practice until it becomes easier and it does when you start believing in yourself and your worth! Thanks for sharing Stuart and keep up these uplifting thought provoking articles 😉


    • I had that exact book in mind when I mentioned Frankl. It was a harrowing read, yet a beautiful one, seeing how he managed to find strength in such a place, and having lost what he had.

      I gotta admit, I can be a bit of a quote- and information-hoarder. I gotta remind myself too that one small quote applied is better than a thousand memorised.

      And thank you for leaving such a lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. When I am feeling lazy, I remind myself of one word, ‘ONLY’. For example, ONLY do 10 minutes of exercise and not more than that or it’s ONLY music, close your eyes and enjoy it and the pattern of the choreography will come in its flow or ONLY research about this topic and may be write about it whenever you like. It’s self-talk and also as you said be stern with yourself.


  12. I’m especially with you on #4. When I have the self-discipline to complete a task that I don’t feel like doing, I get off on that. I love having a lot of self-discipline. It makes me feel stronger and, as you stated, gives me self-confidence.


    • Oh yeah. And I learn so much more about myself during those times than when everything goes according to plan. Mainly how much more I have to give when I think I’m done.

      We share the same aspirations there when it comes to self-discipline. I definitely falter more often than not though :P

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I love this post. Thanks for it. Just write, the obstacle is the way, you get to do this…I need to write these in my writing notebook tomorrow at 6 am when I “get to” write. I would add- What other people think of you is none of your business. :) Have a brilliant day.


    • That’s a wonderful addition. I admit that I can be affected by what other people think, and often forget that it doesn’t matter what they think. But then again, I guess I’ve always expected that since I tend to have a bit of anxiety regarding social stuff. You have a brilliant day too!


  14. Haha…I too have a deep fear of roaches. Especially the flying kind! So I totally get what you mean. Thanks again for yet another important post that encourages us to keep writing no matter what. To know that we’re not alone and we need not give in to our fears however real they may be.


    • When I first heard that quote, my mind was blown too. It made so much sense. I got it from Iron Wolf’s workout vids on YouTube. Here’s to bullying ourselves towards improvement!


  15. Thank you Stu ❤️
    I don’t have much time to do anything other than try to do as much as I can with our little business on a daily basis.
    I have pretty much unfollowed all blogs.
    But, for what it’s worth, yours is the lone survivor in my inbox.
    Because I usually find a nugget I can use.
    It feels personal.
    You are likeable, not too cocky, but intelligent and helpful.
    When I have some time, I would rather go back to posts I have missed in your blog, than find or scan another.
    In a prior post you turned me on to Canva. I subscribed and it’s saved me so much time and energy. Thank you for that.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m absolutely sure you’re loved and appreciated more than you think.


    • Whoa. Every once in a while, I’ll come across comments like yours that totally humble me. I’m honoured that you’d share such words, and it’s always a great feeling to be told that the words I put out on my spare time actually mean something. Do know what you made someone very happy from all the way across the world! I hope I’ll continue to do justice to being the last man standing in your inbox. Thanks once again, Andrea!


  16. Ya know Stuart you may be on to something. I am particularly guilty of #5. Keep telling myself pick and choose your battles – but am I? Thanks for gicving me something to think about.


    • As an avoidant person, I often shy away from the obstacles rather than address them head on. It’s a continuous process for sure, and I have so much to learn when it comes to confronting my challenges. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Danny!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I never realized that I was bullying myself all this time. You put it in better words than I ever could.

    Also, when you’re harsh with yourself, then other people don’t affect you that much. “I’m already hard on myself. What else are you going to do to me?”

    That can be quite a powerful thing to get a boost when you need it.

    Thanks Stuart for another great article.


    • Hahaha, that’s exactly what I think too! Actually, mine is more like “Oh, you want to complain? I’ll give you something to complain about.” Then I go ahead and do something arduous till my daily problems don’t feel bad in comparison. I wonder if it’s healthy or not sometimes. But whatever works, works, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Look at you, all motivational speaker. :)

    My favorite of two favorites here was “You can’t magically start believing in yourself. It’s something you have to realise through action.”

    (I also thought “The Obstacle is the Way” had a Jedi- training ring to it. )


    • I’m going down the dark side, aren’t I? Will have to start selling courses like Tony Robbins soon, lol. And yeah, growing up reading those books, I almost believed that I could ‘affirm’ my way to confidence through repeating phrases in my head. Turns out, the most reliable way to get there is to actually do the work, and not look for shortcuts. Thanks so much for dropping by!


      • I was going to snarkily suggest some sort of speaking tour, but I think you could actually do it. I read an article written about what advertising is actually functional, in the NY Times, and I couldn’t help but think of your writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. If I could…I’d figure out how to infuse your thought from #3 into the DNA of everyone I love…and maybe a little extra for those I loathe: …my (or your 😉) reaction to external events is more a reflection of me (or you) than the world…
    Thanks, Stuart! 😊


    • I forgot who said it, “something something thinking makes it so.”

      Every time I find myself hating an external event, I take the time to evaluate what I am feeling. Of course, there are exceptions, like when cruelty happens and I should feel bothered enough to something, but most other times, my negative reactions are due to my low vibrations.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I can’t I perfectly live by it, but I try to remember that life is very short and to make the day worth it, even if only mentally. Or to remember to be grateful. My non-negotiable is writing in my gratitude journal every night. There is something to find in every single day to be grateful for even if it’s something that other people might find lame. It turned my emotional life around.


    • It’s wonderful practice to switch perspectives, isn’t it? I am inherently negative, but things like gratitude journalling is beneficial because of that in my case. But like someone famous once said (I forgot whom, maybe it was Chuck Palahniuk again) that he looked for the positive in everything. When his dad died, he was glad he didn’t need to introduce his late father to a Hollywood celebrity anymore. That was his silver lining. So there’s definitely something in every day we can be grateful for.

      Thanks so much for sharing your methods, Hetty!


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