15 years ago Rik Mayall gave us five “Mantras for Life” and they are still perfect

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

In 2008, renowned British comedian and actor Rik Mayall, best known for his roles in ‘The Young Ones’, ‘Bottom’, and ‘Blackadder’, delivered an unforgettable speech at the University of Exeter. Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters, Mayall shared his five “Mantras for Life” that still resound poignantly 15 years later.

Rik Mayall gives his 5 Mantas for Life whilst receiving his Doctorate

Here they are:

  1. “All men are equal therefore, no one can ever be your genuine superior.” This mantra calls for an understanding of fundamental human equality. Regardless of an individual’s race, religion, social standing, or professional status, each person has inherent worth and value. Today, as we strive for equality, diversity, and inclusion, this mantra echoes more powerfully than ever.
  2. “It is your future. It is yours to create. Your future is as bright as you make it.” A potent reminder that our lives are largely in our own hands, Mayall urged us to take charge of our destiny. As we navigate through the rapidly changing world of 2023, this mantra reminds us to embrace the future with optimism and determination.
  3. “Change is a constant of life. So you must never ever lose your wisdom.” Mayall’s mantra rings true with the constant flux and uncertainty surrounding us. We should strive to adapt and grow with the times, while also retaining our wisdom and judgement.
  4. “If you want to live a full and complete human life, you have to be free. Freedom is paramount.” Personal freedom and autonomy are essential to living a fulfilling life. In a time when individual freedoms are increasingly debated and contested, this mantra remains as critical as ever.
  5. “Love is the answer.” Perhaps the simplest and most profound of Mayall’s mantras, love is indeed the ultimate answer. Whether it’s love for family, friends, or a passion, love makes life rich and meaningful.
Rik doing his classic two-finger pose at Exeter University

These mantras, delivered with Mayall’s unique blend of comedy and sincerity, still hold power and relevance. YouTube user @oliverscampton5833 commented, “I was in the audience here during my own graduation, I come back about once a year to rewatch this speech, those 5 mantras currently serving me well.”

Another user, @MrFinnov8, noted, “I come back to watch this glorious speech from time to time, you were one of a kind Dr Rik Mayall and a marvellous human being.”lasting impact of Mayall’s words is further highlighted by @badhamian, who shared, “A bright light went out when this great man passed away but it shines on us brighter than ever as the years pass by.”

It may have been 15 years since Rik gave us these 5 mantras, and just over 9 years since he died, but the late comedy genius is still inspiring many of us across the nation. Whether it be his guide for life or his array of comedy, he is still and will continue to shine a light on our path.

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