Words to Live By

Five Mantras that Help Me Live a Better Life

Travis W. King
9 min readJun 15, 2022


Where should we meet up later? That Rumi field, man! Photo by Adriel Kloppenburg on Unsplash

I still remember 5 years ago when I first heard the Rumi quote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” For the next week, my internal voice would quietly and constantly remind me There is a field. I’ll meet you there. It got stuck on a loop in my brain and was a very helpful chorus to play on repeat.

I can be overly opinionated and too demonstrative at times. Thinking of that field (I see it with glowing tall grass), and thinking of Rumi, helped me to be more open. To listen more. To be less sure I was right. These are things that nearly everyone could do better — and picturing that field certainly helps me.

These other 5 mantras below, are ideas and expressions that I keep on the soundboard in my brain. I just have to push the right button and the one line plays, reminding me of something I want to keep top of mind. All of these mantras are ideas that I believe can help humanity to be better overall. But for now, I’m just worried about myself. They make me a better version of myself.

Come on! Where’s my skateboard? Photo by Brandon Cormier on Unsplash

1. Structure Breeds Creativity

Make up a story for me right now! Think of something from scratch that’s entertaining. Ready, go!

I’m not sure what your brain does with that type of instruction, but mine becomes a blank whiteboard drifting at sea with no lifejacket.

Now, if I ask you to make up a story for me involving a corgi, a yellow skateboard, and a house fire, what does your brain do? With just a few prompts, my creative juices start swirling together like a finger-painting, and the story vividly begins to play itself out in my mind (The corgi obviously has to ride the skateboard). Giving someone these details, in other words, a structure, provides a launch pad from which to jump.

This idea that structure breeds creativity has implications beyond storytelling and creative pursuits. I find the advice useful in nearly every situation in which you feel “stuck” or like you’re sinking into the depths of the paradox of choice.



Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at www.traviswking.com