Six Words to Live By.

June 23, 2022

Six Words to Live By.

May 29, 2023

Is it possible to guide a life with a six-word mantra?

I am intrigued by the Arthur C. Brooks New York Times bestseller, Strength to Strength. Mr. Brooks concludes his book with “Seven Words to Remember.” I won’t share his valuable words in this guest post. Please order his book; it is worth your time.

Strength to Strength has become my muse. Before I share my six words, I want to provide guiding parameters for you to create your own six words to live by.

Could your words apply in all life circumstances?
Will your words stand the test of time?
Are your words based on all your life or at this moment in time?
Are your words intergenerational?
Will your words cross all cultures?
Would you want these words as your epitaph?

I wanted the words to be all-important, all-encompassing. I wanted to distill the essence of my life in just six words. I wanted a mantra to help me focus.

As I considered these points of reflection, my six words came quickly.

Breathe. Be Present. Everything Is Temporal.

Breathe. For me, life is all about the breath. I must breathe to live. I came into this life on a breath, I will leave this life on a breath and my life is the hundreds of millions of breaths that comprise a life.

Be Present. If I’m not fully present, I’m missing the meaning of any given moment.

Everything Is Temporal. When I fully embody this concept, any day could be my last and everything will change or cease to exist. This then defines everything as temporal. Is it possible to embody this concept? Yes.

My choices have consequences and I intend to leave the world a better place. Aren’t we all living to make the world a better place? Remembering everything is temporal helps me recognize and value what is most important and dismiss the trivial.

I would have liked to include the beautiful word Gratitude and the essence it represents. Gratitude cannot be forced. There are moments we don’t feel gratitude for what we experience and yet at life’s end, most people embrace all that life offered us.

I breathe to live. I have a choice to be present rather than fantasize about the future or dwell on the past. When I remember everything is temporal, I do not sweat the small stuff. These last three words remind me to keep life in perspective. How does my life make a difference? What is mine to do?

Now, imagine your six words coming to you and let your creative juices begin to flow.

What are your six words to live by?

Rocky Blumhagen, Stanford DCI, (Distinguished Careers Institute, Fellow/partner Class of 2019) is a yoga and mindful practitioner. Follow Rockys 1000-day yoga challenge at

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