Mantras | Scribbling in the Margins blog

“Don’t spend your precious time asking ‘Why isn’t the world a better place?’ It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is “How can I make it better?” To that there is an answer.” –Leo Buscaglia

I found this quote in a box my friend Jordan keeps on her desk, a square little thing that allows you to switch out a quote whenever the mood strikes. Buscaglia’s quote, the first one I came across, really struck me. A part of it is recent events in my life, but also after seeing the Cinderella movie last Saturday.

“Have courage, and be kind” is the mantra of the movie, the words Cinderella lives her life by. Yet they seem to fail her, causing her to let others bully her around while she just waits for something to happen. Instead of working to better her predicament, she just accepts it in order to remain “kind” and “courageous.”

When I first left the theater, I wished I was more like Cinderella- always kind and never letting others affect my character. Which is fine, but I’ve realized since then that you have to be more than that. Wishing is not enough; you have to act to get what you want.

That’s why I like Buscaglia’s quote. Constantly when I’m faced with horrible things, whether they’re happening to the world or to my friends or to me, I feel helpless. What can I, just an almost 21-year-old in Indiana, do to help? Frequently that little voice in my head says, “nothing.”

That’s where mantras come in. Cinderella’s might work out for her in the end, but it doesn’t help me to understand why the world can be so cruel sometimes. I’ve been trying to find the right one, something that reminds me that all is not lost. I don’t have to lose a positive attitude in order to care about all the hurt that happens. I still haven’t found something yet, the perfect mantra. The perfect solution to an impossible problem.

But there’s something about the thought “how can I make it better?” that I like. One of the most important things I’ve learned in college is to ask “how can I fix this?” whenever I’m stressed or have a problem. It allows me to handle the problems in a tangible way, and almost always makes me feel better. And even if the problem is “everyone is starving” and not “I have a paper and a presentation due the same day,” this idea can still work.

It’s going to take some time. It’s going to take some effort. But I hope that, with that time and effort, I’ll be able to create a solution all my own. One that allows me to create a mantra that’s personalized, memorable, and, most importantly, mine.


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