Mantra or mantras are powerful techniques to improve yourself, using self talk to drive you to do anything. What is a mantra? How to create a mantra? Here I give practical example how this has changed my life in a positive way.
Thanks Colin and Sarah Northway for for the above photo (take a look at their other great photos).
Years ago, during the dot-com bubble (here’s a more formal dot-com bubble definition), almost all programmers were thrown out of work. The system it seemed, was in collapse and wherever you turned, programmers were flipping burgers, serving tables and I was pulling pints in The King’s Head (a British pub in Guildford – there are two, the one in Kings road).
I’ve been more accustomed to sitting on the other side of the bar. But during this period of my life, it felt as if my head should be on a pike. There I was pulling, pint after pint thinking “how the hell did I land in this position”. Now working the bar until late in the morning, sounds like fun and for the most part it would be, but I had gone from earning 40 quid an hour to 80 pounds a week!
That’s sure to put an upside-down smile on anyone’s face. For the first few weeks, while I tried to be diligent and thankful for my job – I honestly admit, that I was the worst barman in the whole of England… and all the people around me, sort of sensed it. I was not pleased with what had happened to me.
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into a couple of months. But then things started to change in me and I moved on, here’s how I did it.
What is a mantra?
But first, we need to understand what is a mantra. There is two ways to understand mantra, the “religious” side and the “practical” side. Invariably, mantra is believed to originate in India, particularly for Hinduism religious purposes. Monica tells of mantras to the Padmanabhaswamy temple and Promod gives a more contemporary explanation of mantra. Both are great explanations and as you can see, these allow us to also use the mantra for the practical side, the side I like.
Looking for more examples for mantra on Wikipedia, we find mantra means “secret or protected speech” and has origins “to think”. It is also important to note, that mantras are not exclusive to Hinduism because other religions have employed them too. Moving on from religion, you will certainly come across the term in self improvement strategies.
For me, a mantra is a statement or set of words or better still a sentence you say to yourself and I’ll be more detailed below on how to use a mantra.
Examples of a mantra
I have my own example of mantra and want to also show you how other people use mantras in different ways. As you can see from others mantra examples listed blow, there are different ways you can use a mantra.
Here are some examples of mantras:
- On liner story: Life Mantra where this mantra is used for their life, how they choose to live their life, according to their mantra statement.
- Here mantra is more a set of words that this PoeEternal uses, perhaps as a way of living her way against an idea or philosophy.
- Used here more like a poem in Rain Mantra by Jen.
For me, a mantra is more technical and it needs to be really well thought out. There are specific details you need to think about when creating a mantra, which I will explain later. However, for my own mantra example, I’ll continue with my story.
Real life story example of a mantra
Back to the dot-com crash time… and I was not happy with pulling pints. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for barmen/barmaids and waiters/waitresses because I’ve been both during different times of my life. You need to understand my thinking at the time. You see, I was working for a whole week and getting paid what I would usually get for 2 hours work. Not only that, I like to program and programming is my craft.
So as you can imagine, I wanted to get back into action. The trouble was, no one was hiring at the scale previously. Programming jobs were scarce and I wasn’t feeling all to good about my circumstances. I was miserable, angry and getting a little depressed.
Now a couple of weeks in, I knew from previous experiences, that there was something wrong with my thinking. For me, I felt I was in a terrible frame of mind. Remembering back then, I distinctly recall how I was in a “one-track mind” state. It was awful because the more I thought about things, the more I thought about my situation in a negative way. Not good, not good at all!
The pub shifts were long and I was lucky because in England, when you work in a pub (bar – for people outside the UK) you can have the option of staying on the premises. My little room I shared, was upstairs. Thus I didn’t have to commute and the free time I had – I spent walking about, thinking. It was during these walks, that I recall reading about mantras along time ago.
The example mantra I want to share with you is one I created for myself, during that time and was the following:
“I’m going to get a job because a company wants me”
How to create a mantra
There are a few things I know about the mind because I’ve been reading about it and have had a fascination interest with the mind, brain and thinking for many years. Here are the steps I use to create a mantra:
- Understand what it is that you want to achieve – this we’ll refer to as the “what”.
- Write down some ideas of what you want to achieve (using the brainstorming technique is best for me).
- Understand what it is you need to do, again write down some ideas – this we’ll refer to as the “how”.
- Construct a sentence comprising these two ideas, namely “what” + “how” parts.
- Test this sentence by stating or saying it out load.
It is highly advisable to do this alone in your own time. Once you have something that you think is good enough, then ask people around you who you trust, to talk about it. For example this can be your partner. It is not necessary to ask for another persons advice, but can help you with your refinement process.
The mind and the mantra
Now this might sound easy, but as soon as you get to the testing side of things, you will notice a few odd things about your mind.
Your mind likes patterns and can get tricked. For example, crack a silly joke by saying: “Joke, joke, joke… what’s the white part of an egg?” (with high probabilistic certainty) the person will respond “Yoke”. As you know, the white part of an egg is not the orange yoke. But the mind of the other person got primed – the difference is in how words sound.
I’ve read of other cases where sequence in numbers, can influence your choice in the first letter of a word. Also how your will focus on pattern sequence of the beginning of the letters of the words. For example, starting a sentence with the word beginning with the letter B and therefore it is best that the next sentence should start with the word starting with the letter C. There are these subtitle subconscious associations happening, without you being aware.
Okay… what does this all have to do with my mantra creation?
You see, in order for a mantra to be powerful and easy for the mind to work on, you need to be mindful of the above. Saying a mantra, needs to be as easy as possible for the brain to digest. The mantra has to be like an injection of “words” directly to the brain – almost like these set of “words” are like a fast acting drug. So any obstacle that gets in the way of the “word” drug to brain delivery – will hamper the process. A classic word example “she sells sea shells on the sea shore” – you hear how this will be in the way because you have to pause and think.
Recommendations of how to create mantra
Bearing all this in mind, some criteria for refining your mantra is recommended. These are some recommendations that will help you make your mantra easy (to deliver directly to your brain).
- The mantra needs to be easy to say (so no tongue twisters).
- A rhyming mantra is best.
- Leverage mind subconscious tools like priming and associations.
- Draw dots above the words for the counting the syllables of each word.
- It needs to be your own words i.e. just using someone else’s mantra will not work as effectively (think about it being you tailoring your own mantra, specifically for yourself).
- Very important, this must be something that is true for you.
Putting this all together to create a mantra
For example my previous mantra as a base example.
“I’m going to find a job because a company wants me”.
What part = company wants me.
How part = find a job.
Here are the steps broken down:
- If you read the mantra, you will see it rhymes.
- Put these pieces together in a way that causes you to take an action.
- For example, who should do this (you) and you say to yourself “I’m”.
- I’m what? what are you doing or needing to do?
- Which means you need a verb (present tense). Here I’ve used the present tense verb “going”.
So the first sentence is easy “I’m going to find a job” – then join with “because” – then finally the result, which is “a company wants me”.
Is this mantra a true statement? Companies are always looking for people. If you presented yourself over and over again to a company and you cared about the way you spoke, presented yourself and advertised your skills. Of course a company needs skills and if you have these, then they would need you i.e. want you.
I’m going to find a job, is this first part a true statement? Of course it is. If you keep looking and searching, over and over again… you will find a job (in the literal sense). Naturally, you may get rejected, but searching over and over will eventually result in a job. These statements are true.
Just a note on “true” statements
Of course, repeating a statement over and over to yourself – you could convince yourself that it is true. Yes, this is another powerful way. But I think if everyone knows “grass is green” and you say over and over to yourself “grass is red” this is certainly possible. You would actually eventually convince yourself that “grass is red” is true – not only that, you would actually believe it.
Without going into philosophical rabbit holes… Generally, your true statements, should be generally true. Perhaps another example to explain: “I’m going to be rich because I’m going to rob a bank”. Whilst you might be rich for a short while, it is with high probability that this sentence is false because you will be caught eventually… and the net result is that you will be poor, hungry and in jail.
How to use a mantra
From the examples above you can see that there are many contexts and ways to use a mantra. For me, what I have found very effective is to use a mantra when ever I can. For example if I wake up, I’ll lie in bed and say this to myself in my head.
On other occasions, I really like to go for a long walk and repeat this over and over to myself in a low voice. Now, you don’t want to look like someone who is crazy, so when you walk past people – say your mantra to yourself in your mind.
The core idea is as follows:
- Repeat the mantra sentence over and over.
- You can say this out load or in your mind.
- You can do this while moving or stationary e.g. walking, sitting or in bed.
- Your mantra can be said anywhere.
- A mantra can be said in a short bursts or repeated over and over for longer duration.
You will start to find that you are reprogramming your mind. Its odd at first, but I assure you from first hand experience… keep doing it for a few days and weeks, you mind will align itself to finding ways to think and come up with ideas – which are in context of your mantra. A Mantra is very, very powerful.
Do you use a mantra?
Today I still employ a mantra, but the words have changed. However the daily usage of employing a mantra is still the same. Hope this helps you and if you have some mantra advice, please comment below.
Using a mantra is up to you. For me, do you use a mantra now? The answer is yes because I’m in a different chapter of my life. As I turn the page and want to achieve a successful outcome and experience… A mantra is a super important tool to guide my thinking in the direction I desire.
For me wanting to achieve understanding in how to create an online business, which is true to my own Distributor Philosophy. It is important to be doing something according to my personal philosophy. So right now, this period includes contributing to my project and experiment How to make money starting with 150 $. I think there are many who can benefit from this experience.