- Thoughts for inspired living

August 8, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:22 am

Do you have a motto? According to Wikipedia, a motto is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. The modern day usage has come to mean “words to live by.”

Do you have a personal motto? There are so many to choose from.

“Life is too short to drink cheap wine.”

“Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

“Stop whining.”

The list is endless.

I think it’s wonderful to have values and encapsulate them in a motto for quick reference. The difficulty I encounter with many people is they want their motto to be your motto. That practice has the success rate of converting someone to your religion. The telltale sign that you’re dealing with a motto is the precursor phrase, “It’s like I always say.”

The larger difficulty is the person preaching their motto lacks the sensory acuity to notice they aren’t getting through. That doesn’t make the prattling cease. It intensifies. They are so blinded that their way is the only way that they go on automatic pilot with their missionary mantra and it takes on a life of its own.

These people become caricatures and lose their humanness and approachability. They are so caught up in right and wrong that they box themselves into a corner of the world that no one else wants to inhabit.

The way out of “Mottoville” is simple and takes practice.

First, notice that people aren’t paying attention to you. That will take some outer attention. You have to get out of your head.

Next, begin to morph your motto by eliminating “right” and “wrong” from it and replacing those words with the word “preference.”

Preference communicates your position without making the other person wrong. “I prefer to eat with my elbows off the table” is much more communicative than “As I always say, people shouldn’t put their elbows on the table.” If you can’t see the difference, you’re manacled to your motto.

It’s like The Grasshopper said the other day,

“If you live in a world of right and wrong, you will always have enemies.”

Here’s my motto: Stop beating people over the head with yours.

All the best,


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