We all have values and aspirations that are important to us whether we realise it or not. These values may be specific career goals or a more general set of guiding principles which bring direction to our lives.

For some people, the family and friends they surround themselves with are vital to building their identity. Other people may find their motivation by continually setting themselves physical or mental challenges.

Understanding what you want from life can be difficult. But one way of finding out more about yourself is to determine your life motto, which can then help you shape your future in a more proactive way.

In this post, we’re taking a look at life mottos, from what they are and how to develop one, to some of the most inspirational mottos uttered throughout history.

What is a motto?

A motto is a brief sentence or specific phrase that captures the beliefs, ideology and objectives of a group of people or an individual. A motto does not have to be a fixed concept, instead, it can be more of an idea or general outlook that you wish to adopt.

Mottos are all about challenging yourself to do things that may seem achievable or which defy expectations. They push you to question the world around you, and urge you to reject the status quo when it doesn't match your values.

Using mottos can be a useful way of thinking. All too often, you may shy away from making changes that go against convention. They can give you the inspiration you need to branch out and try new things, diving headfirst into all kinds of new challenges and experiences.

man riding a bike

Developing a motto might sound a little fanciful, but it can provide a much-needed steer – particularly during formative periods of your life. Whether you’re studying, searching for a job or looking for a change in your career, a life mantra or motto can give you the gentle nudge you need to take your next step, whatever you're moving towards.

How to Discover a Motto for Your Values and Aspirations?

Discovering your motto may not necessarily be straightforward, but there are useful ways of finding one that suits you.

A good place to start is to jot down any key phrases or words that mean something to you in either the form of a list or mind map. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, you could also ask friends and family what they feel is important to you.

Think about what you want from life; is there a word or phrase which seems to marry with your aspirations? Whether it’s a successful career, a happy home life or the pursuit of personal wealth, be honest about your hopes for the future and let this inform your life’s motto.

Remember, you don’t have to have a specific sentence – your motto can be just one word, such as ‘belief’, ‘adventure’ or ‘determination’.

10 Famous Quotes to Inspire Your Own Life Motto

Many of the world’s greatest politicians, artists, writers, scientists and philosophers lived by some truly stirring mottos and mantras. Here are 10 of our favourite quotes to inspire the creation of your own life motto.

  1. “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy
  2. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
  3. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
  4. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
  5. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
cheerful woman sat at her laptop
  1. “You must do the things you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. “When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
  3. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
  4. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and fail, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” – James Cameron
  5. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

So there you have it, a complete guide to life mottos and some inspiration for developing your own. Once you have your motto, all you need to do is live by it. And if your mantra involves pushing yourself to try new things, why not consider signing up for one of Oxbridge’s distance learning courses? For more information or to browse our complete course selection, visit the homepage or call our experienced course advisers on 0121 630 3000.