Three little words can make all the difference. When it comes to a mantra, the pithier the better. Bonus points if you can turn it into an acronym. I can't exactly recall how it originated, but some years ago my best friend and I adopted three character traits as our aspirational motto, and it's stuck with me ever since. We used the phrase to keep each other in check, held our friends to our new standards, and worked them into our regular vocabulary. So now I pass them on to you:
Maganimous, Gracious, and Sexy.
Looking back it seems a little silly, but these three words have become part of me in a way I wouldn't have imagined, and even though my best friend now lives a couple thousand miles away, I still use them to keep my actions and words in check (most of the time—human is as human does).
mag·nan·i·mous adjective /magˈnanəməs/
- very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself
- greathearted: noble and generous in spirit
- synonyms: generous, large-hearted, noble-minded, liberal
Magnanimity is about stepping up to the occasion, taking the initiative, and doing what's right. It's about having a thick skin, not holding a grudge, and forgiving easily. And it's about sharing, opening yourself up to others, and giving of yourself to your community.
gra·cious adjective /ˈgrāSHəs/
- courteous, kind, and pleasant
- characterized by charm, good taste, and generosity of spirit
- courteous: exhibiting courtesy and politeness
- synonyms: kind, merciful, kindly, benignant
Etiquette is important, especially as our digital world breaks down the typical conventions of communication and social interaction. Being gracious means holding others with respect, holding yourself to high standards, and striving to live thoughtfully and with purpose.
sex·y adjective /ˈseksē/
- sexually attractive or exciting
- exciting; appealing
- interesting, exciting, or trendy
- synonyms: flirtatious, inviting, cuddly
As outward and others-focused as magnanimity and graciousness are, it's important to balance the two with a more self-focused sexiness. Being sexy is about seeing ourselves as beautiful human beings, acknowledging and accepting our flaws, and moving forward empowered with confidence. It's also about continuously seeking improvement and taking care of ourselves—whether that's eating well, dressing well, or improving our mental health. And, being sexy encourages others to do the same.
Words to Live By
These three little words are engrained in my brain and find their way into everything I do. As a human being my imperfections prevent me from adopting these characteristics one hundred percent, but that's part of being sexy—identifying my weaknesses and accepting them, then working to improve them or adapt around them.