Monday, September 29, 2014

Inspirational Quotes - Boost or BS?

If you're like me, you get the odd "inspirational quote" on your Facebook news stream or, heaven forbid, sent in an e-mail from a well-meaning friend. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's good to read them and be reminded that having to empty the dishwasher isn't the end of the world. More often than not however, I read them and think "What on earth...?"

I mean, take the Maya Angelou quote I got yesterday. (Not wanting to speak ill of the dead here, but she was starting to get on my nerves a bit with the preaching.)

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you". 

Really? Really? There is nothing worse than having a book in your head that you can't, won't, or just never got round to writing down? Agreed, it's very frustrating when you think you have a great book idea but you don't have the wherewithal to get it down on paper. Believe me. I have about four swimming around right now, and every time I try to even draft the plot, a million questions come into my head and spoil everything. I have huge admiration for fiction writers who can spin a good yarn, develop great characters and keep readers turning the pages.

But still - "nothing worse"? Tell that to the millions around the world who have to walk miles for a gallon of water.

And then I got one from Maya Angelou's favorite student - none other than Oprah.

"Think like a Queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness".

Hmmmm. Now, given as how I don't know any queens (of any description), I can't say for sure that they are afraid to fail, but I would think it would be a bit of a no-no for Elizabeth II and it certainly wasn't an option for Victoria or Elizabeth I. I agree that you can learn and move on from failure; whether or not it leads to greatness is another moot point though. But seriously? Why can't these people just say "Learn from your mistakes"?

And then there's this one from Doug Ivester, (Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1990's) -

"Never let your memories be greater than your dreams."

OK, I get what he's trying to say; always have aspirations, etc. etc. But if you've done fabulous things and are getting a bit long in the tooth, wouldn't it be exhausting to always have to have another big dream or plan? At some point surely you earn the right to take your teeth out, sit back and reminisce fondly about the glory days.

Like I said, there's nowt wrong with a good inspirational quote, but let's make sure it actually make sense. Like this one....


  1. Oh totally agree. I have had to actually block people from my FB feed for posting too much stuff like that. And that queen quote makes no sense at all!

  2. I think what Maya Angelou means is that there is nothing worse than holding onto a terrible secret--child abuse, rape, mental illness in the family, whatever. I agree with you that for those who can't get enough food and water, bearing an untold story is a much lesser agony when it comes to matters of life or death. But I am glad that people are being encouraged to tell their "stories" because it will be much healthier for them. But it's not on the level of starving to death because there's no food, or dying of Ebola.
    But as to the other comments? Very, very stupid! I would want to avoid them too!

  3. Virginia - Well, that meaning makes much more sense and I would hope hope she meant that. Thx

  4. My personal favourite (which I abide by):
    "Pick your battles wisely".

    Says it all.

    LCM x

  5. Good points, well made lady and I love that last one!


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