Having one or more personal mottos can enrich your life in more ways than one.
A good motto can help you come to a decision. For instance, you’ll want to know how much (or how little) you should keep trying to master a skill.
You may be an impulsive person, in this case a calming and thoughtful motto can help you take a step back, clear your mind and make a decision when you’re in better spirits.
Other times, you may need a motto to guide you through the hard moments in life, when your efforts don’t seem to connect and you’re wondering what to do.
Finally, a good life motto can often condense countless years of knowledge, and this in turn will help you correctly analyze and interpret a situation. They function like a trusty companion who has seen much of the world and is teaching you along the way.
Some mottos are universal, but most are specialized. Some are permanent, but most are temporary.
Most motto’s are specialized and deal with a particular aspect of life: friends, motivation, habits, relationships etc. Some are very general and function as a basic guideline on living life in general.
Also, it’s very possible that a motto you use now, will become impractical in a few months or years. That’s normal. Your life circumstances change, or you grow as a person, and then you’ll abandon old mottos for new ones.
Sometimes, you might even drop a motto, but come back to it years later. It’s all part of the process.
Best personal mottos
The best mottos combine timeless wisdom, with a clear sense of where to direct your efforts and how to look at life.
All progress occurs outside of the comfort zone.
You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
Be the person you needed in life.
Measure twice and cut once.
The grass is greener where you water it.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
In order to get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.
“Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” – Oscar Wilde
“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” – Jean-Luc Picard
This too shall pass.
Live to fight another day.
The journey is the reward.
The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
Hope is not a strategy.
In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.
Pick your battles.
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is right now.
Reason is the first victim of strong emotion.
Indecision becomes decision with time.
Famous & popular mottos
These are some of the most well-known and popular mottos ever, the quality of many has been proven by time while others by the fame of who said them.
“Carpe Diem” – Seize the day.
Fight fire with fire.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
“Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.”
“Acta, non verba.” – Deeds, not words
“Ars longa, vita brevis” – Art is long, life is short.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
“There has been no great wisdom without an element of madness.” – Seneca
A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for.
At the end of the game the King and the Pawn go into the same box
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
“I only know that I know nothing” – Socrates
“I shall either find a way or make one.” – Hannibal to his generals when they told him he can’t cross the Alps.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill
Fortune favors the bold.
“Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” – Meaning it’s not your problem, thus not your concern.
Mottos to live by day by day
Motto’s that can be applied to situations that happen on an almost daily basis.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and expect nothing.
You can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow.
Work hard and be kind to everyone.
Finish your work.
Be the person who your dog thinks you are.
Never wish for tomorrow.
Perfect is the enemy of the good.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Yesterday, you said today.
Fake it till you make it.
“Celebrate the day when it is evening.” – Roman saying, meaning you should celebrate when it’s done, not almost done.
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide them in small task.” – Henry Ford
Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.
“Be as you wish to seem.” – Socrates
The answer is always no, unless you ask.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
No one thinks they’re the bad guy.
It’s not always about you.
Mottos for a good life
Mottos to help you live a good life, while also containing precious wisdom for many kind of situations.
If it’s not going to matter in 5 years don’t spend more than 5 minutes upset about it.
Determined efforts are more reliable than miracles.
Your success in life is largely dependent on how many uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.
“No” is the most powerful word.
It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.
People will make time for who they want to make time for.
Decisions made in haste are regretted at leisure.
It’s better to be alone than in bad company.
People aren’t against you. They are for themselves.
Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.
If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.
Take risks: If you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Live in reality as it is, not as you wish it was.
Don’t do something permanently stupid when you’re temporarily upset.
“Years of love have been forgot, in the hatred of a minute” – Edgar Alan Poe
We judge others by their actions, we judge ourselves by our intentions.
Confidence is quiet. Insecurities are loud.
You have 52 Saturdays and Sundays a year.
He who wants everything loses everything.
People generally believe what they want to.
Learn something about everything, and everything about something
He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.
“A man cannot build a reputation on what he is going to do.” – Henry Ford
Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure
Principles only mean something if you stick by them when they’re inconvenient.
The saddest words are “it might have been”.
Every lie has an expiration date.
Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement.
“An amateur practices until he gets it right; a professional practices until he can’t get it wrong.”
Do what’s right, even when no one is watching.
Have more than you show, speak less than you know.
Once you learn something, no one can take it away from you.
You deserve what you accept.
The best revenge is living well.
Anything that annoys you when you’re dating, you’re going to get from both barrels when you’re married.
Rome was not built in a day
Mottos that can lift your spirits, or help you see that it’s not as bad as it seems.
Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.
No one who is great at something was always great at it.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca
Never half ass two things, whole ass one thing.
Worrying is a waste of your imagination.
A pessimist is never disappointed.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
He that lives on hope dances without music.
Would you rather be right or happy?
Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.
Worrying is like paying interest on a debt you may never owe.
Mottos that are wise and edgy at the same time.
Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.
On the other side of fear is everything you’ve ever wanted.
Creativity is the ability to hide your sources.
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” – Hanlon’s Razor
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
No good deed goes unpunished.
“Never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake” – Napoleon
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
Life isn’t about who you kiss, drunk, at midnight. It’s who you text nonsense to, sober, from the toilet.
“Condemnant quo non intellegunt.” – Latin saying, translated as: “They condemn that which they do not understand.”
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”- Henry Ford
You do you.
Be decisive. Right or Wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.
He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing.
“De omnibus dubitandum.” – Latin saying, translated as: “Be suspicious of everything.”
“The only hypocrite I like is myself.”
Never quit, make them fire you.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle
You don’t get paid based on how hard you work. You get paid based on how hard you are to replace.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.