6 Words, 2 Phrases: A Simple Guide to Life

Derek Perspectives 8 Comments

As you’ve read, surfing has yet to happen. Well, that’s life. It turns out that things don’t always go according to plan…but at least it’s also true that eventually you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

So I’m not worried.

Besides, my life is guided by some words of wisdom that provide inspiration and explanation for everything that happens, either to me or in the world around me.

These six words, made up of two three-word phrases, don’t come from any religious text nor do they hail from the mouth of some celebrity or from a popular song.

In fact, one of the sources is an entire nation and the other is a dead humanist.

So here they are…


The first three words:

“Sab Kuch Milega”

This Hindi phrase is translated as “everything is possible”.

In India, “everything is possible” is an undeniable fact. Through a combination of resourcefulness, pure generosity and an uncanny ability to extort a bribe, the people of India will never let you down. You’ll get whatever you need, whenever you need it, no matter how bleak the situation or how absurd your request.

Did your sandal just rip in half? Don’t worry, there’s a shoe-wallah across the street, ready to glue it back together. Do you want to pet the rare albino rhinoceros at the Mysore zoo? For a tiny fee the attendant will be more than happy to let you into the cage.

Well, a few years ago, I went ahead and applied this great concept of “everything is possible” to my life in general. ‘Why not?’ I said.

I immediately gained more motivation and confidence as I chose to make the decision that none of my dreams were out of reach. How cool is that? You actually get to make that decision for yourself. Talk about self-empowerment!

Even the most absurd, far-fetched dreams can become reality and even the most daunting challenges can be overcome. After all, how else have we ended up with airplanes, foot gloves (you have to check these out!), Indian lunch buffets and disco bowling? Because someone understood that everything is possible.

Of course, this concept surely isn’t anything new. Yet, we all seem to forget its validity more often than we should and end up falling back into thinking that most of our dreams are out of reach.

So just remember, sab kuch milega, my friends. Sab kuch milega.


The second three words:

“So It Goes…”

These three seemingly insignificant words were written by author Kurt Vonnegut in his book ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ and there is no other phrase I rely on as much as this one.

A powerful message is hidden in these eight letters.

The idea is to remember that we’re all mortal and therefore there’s no reason to fade into darkness when the worst occurs in our lives. We are far better off just accepting the worst as another part of this ludicrous ride we’re on and then carrying on with our lives.

Life happens, and it’s full of good moments and some horrendous ones (and plenty in between). It’s been happening that way forever and the truth is, we can’t change any of it. So why get too upset? There’s enough anger and negativity in this world already.

Sounds a bit gloomy, I know. But I’m telling you, “so it goes” can really get you through the toughest of times.

I say these words when little things occur – when I stub my toe, spill re-fried beans on my shorts or discover that my flight has been canceled. I also say it for the bigger stuff too – when my entire wallet was stolen, when I was kidnapped in Bangladesh (long story), when a family member became gravely ill.

When you look at everything from the “so it goes” perspective, nothing really seems as devastating as it once might have. Suddenly, every bump in the road, whether it’s a pebble or a 3-foot pot hole, becomes manageable, making it so much easier to maintain your sanity and motivation.

For example, I once stepped on a broken wine glass while running on the outdoor track of a cruise ship I was working on. Yep. The stem of the glass went through my sneaker and straight into my foot (see the photo above). It was lovely. What did I do? I said, ‘Damn that hurts, so it goes.


There you have it – my life is governed by those six words. And they’re all I need. It’s so much simpler than any other system and it covers absolutely everything that occurs in my life.

Write them down everywhere, add them to your email signature, yell them out loud and teach them to your parrot.

And if you have any words of wisdom that guide your life, I’d love to hear what they are. Please add them in the comments section below!

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Comments 8

  1. Pingback: 51 Reasons Why Life in India is AWESOME - Drifter Planet

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  3. Bharat

    Best philosophy of life to go on with…
    Being an Indian myself, i know “sab kuch milega” is so integral part of our life.
    I will like to add a very positive statement i learned in third grade and follow personally- “Everything happens for our own good.”

  4. Emmanuel

    Well, I’ll try to do it short cause I’m becoming a little irritating with all my comments to moderate hehehe
    My two mottoes are (in Spanish, so you can practice:)
    “Querer es poder” – something like To want is to can,
    “Nunca es poco cuando lo que se da es todo lo que uno tiene” – nothing’s few when what you give is all you have.
    And when I’m in trouble I just recite “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá”, a short but very powerful prayer in Arabic 🙂
    Abrazo desde Argentina!!

  5. Christina

    I say “shit happens” ALL THE TIME. Which, I guess, is just a more vulgar way of saying “life happens”. My friends always laugh at me for saying it, but then they also tell me I’m one of the most easy-going people they know. It helps me not get frustrated with people or situations.

    1. Earl

      Hey Christina – Well, that phrase works as well! I think it’s important to be easy-going because as soon as we start to take life too seriously, stress and all of that other nastiness begins creeping in…

  6. Pingback: 6 Words, 2 Phrases: A Simple Guide to Life | Wandering Earl | Just Stuff I Found

  7. Adrian

    Came across a good one, albeit longer than yours, in Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations (the emperor of Rome’s personal stoic diary of sorts!!) : “Whatever lies outside my mind has no hold whatever over my mind.” Powerful.

    And when i think shit is happening to me, I think about the millions of people born into shitty situations, people i’ve seen while traveling, and the others unseen, and think to myself, “it could be worse…in fact, im pretty damn lucky.” Humbling.

    Oh, and “Love and Respect.” These are pretty good governances, too!

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