What are three motivating thoughts that we can reflect on to keep us on track with our purpose and life’s mission?

Rabbi Akavia, the son of Mahalalel, would say: Reflect upon three things and you will not come to misdeed. Know from where you came, where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give a judgment and accounting.

From where you came—from a putrid drop; where you are going—to a place of dust, maggots and worms; and before whom you are destined to give a judgment and accounting before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He. (Pirkei Avot 3:1)

Since the teachings in Pirkei Avot are very succinct, why the repetitive wording? Why the elaboration, in the second part, which could have been included originally?

There is a two-pronged message here.

The best approach to motivate ourselves and others is an encouraging attitude and a positive self-image. Remind yourself about your greatness so that you will live up to those expectations. If you are aware of your true strength of character, you will strive to follow a moral code of behavior that won’t include actions that are beneath you. That is what the first part of this Mishna teaches us.

In more severe circumstances, however, we may need the shock of stronger, more negative language, as the latter part elucidates, to fully understand the consequences of our decisions and to stop us from falling further.

Here are three encouraging thoughts to meditate on regularly to help us make better decisions and reach higher:

Know from where you came

At the core of our being is a Divine soul, an actual part of G‑d. This is who we inherently are and what defines our self-worth. No matter what we do, this part of us always remains undefiled, pure and pristine. When we are tempted to act in a manner unbefitting our sacred soul, we need to remember our source. Realize your greatness, and your actions will reflect this awareness.

Where you are going

Every morning, we thank G‑d for entrusting us our soul for another day. Think about the tremendous potential and the heights you can attain. Think of where you are going, your life’s mission and all that you can accomplish in this world.

Additionally, if you are experiencing a challenge or difficulty, look at the bigger picture. Realize that this is only one piece of a much larger puzzle, and that you can prevail.

Before whom you are destined to give a judgment and accounting

If someone isn’t important, their actions, too, are inconsequential. But our lives are so significant, and every one of our actions counts. Each person is an entire universe. We can build or destroy worlds with our words and deeds. Knowing that I matter and my every decision matters motivates me to be more mindful and to spring to action.