My favorite mantra for four years now has been founded upon these two succint phrases. I found them in an article penned by Randy Hunt in 2008, when he reminisces about his time as a student under famed designer Stefan Sagmeister while thinking about how to introduce him at an upcoming speaking engagement. Hunt recalls the two biggest things he learned from Sagmeister, and they are as straightforward as they are simple. Here's what they mean to me.
Don't live a life of oblivious happenstance. Don't just let things happen to you. You are in control. Your life is what you make of it, and the first step to making it is being aware of what's going on around you. This is just as applicable when driving in traffic as it is when you're in a meeting or you're catching up on the news. Paying attention means recognizing when a problem needs solving, applying critical thought to what you see, hear, and feel, and being mindful of your surroundings.
Observe. Listen. Learn. Absorb. Bask. Process. Perceive. Record.
Give a Shit.
This builds upon paying attention. It's like that tired phrase that transit authorities and the TSA use in public transportation spaces: "See something? Say something!" Seeing something is being aware—paying attention. Saying something is caring enough to speak up and take action. Giving a shit is the key to following your passion, making a difference, and participating as a global citizen. It's about putting ourselves out there and standing up for what we believe in.
Care. Vote. Act. Decide. Ignite. Inspire. Share. Discuss.
What's your mantra?