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Five slogans to live your life by

In Radio 4 documentary The Slogan Warrior, comedian Isy Suttie challenges two of her friends to live their lives by the words of a slogan. But which slogans could you live your life by? Here are five ideas.

Live every day as though it’s your last

Isy’s friend is a little confused by her challenge to “live every day as though it’s your last”. Should she do something she had always dreamed of, or should she spend her last moments with her loved ones? Either way, this slogan doesn’t seem like a very smart way to live your life. You could never plan for your future, never enjoy the pleasure of anticipation, and after a few days of doing whatever the heck you like you’d probably have racked up a massive amount of debt, lost your job or else got well and truly fed up with those pesky loved ones.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for

The other slogan challenge Isy sets is the polar opposite of living every day as though it’s your last. Doing something today that you not only won’t regret tomorrow, but will be actively grateful about has obvious long term benefits. Eating and drinking healthily, exercising and looking after your body, as well as saving for a rainy day are all things you thank yourself for later. Equally you could learn a new skill, like a language. Basically this is all about putting in the legwork – being boring now so you can have fun in the future. This slogan is perfect for the pious, parsimonious and those who love to feel superior.

Keep calm and carry on

As hideously ubiquitous as this British government slogan of World War Two is today, it was hardly known at the time. Designed by the Ministry of Information in 1939 and printed out on over 2.5 million posters, "Keep Calm and Carry On" was meant to evoke the Victorian stiff upper lip spirit but was deemed patronising and so the posters were largely left in cold storage. Rediscovered at the start of the 21st Century, it seems we have no trouble being patronised in the age of the internet. Well there really is no point in panicking, is there dear?

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

“In centuries past we all used to know the bible off by heart and scripture would provide you with those little proverbs that to get you through the tough day,” marketing expert Branwell Johnson contends. These days, he says, “We’re groping for these kind of platitudes elsewhere.” One place we turn is to literature, and who better to provide words than William Shakespeare? Neither a borrower nor a lender is actually a quote from Hamlet, but does it really make sense? Sure, lending cash to a friend may (as Shakespeare says) lose you both the loan and the friend, but what about when you want to buy a house? Should you not take out a mortgage for fear of being a borrower? Isn’t our entire system of economics based on borrowing and lending? Back to the drawing board, Bard.

Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions

This is a quote from the Dalai Lama. Isy Suttie deems it: “simple, precise and something I totally agree with”. And who are we to argue with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people? His message – that we have to take responsibility for our own happiness – seems reasonable, but isn’t life a bit more complicated than that? Depression, grief, illness and terrible events happen all the time to all sorts of people whatever their attitude. Blaming people for their own unhappiness is hardly helping...

So maybe life is a bit more complicated than a single slogan after all? Well you know what they say – Life is tough, but so are you!

Listen to Slogan Warrior to find out what it’s really like to live your life by a handful of words.

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