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10 Corny Cliches About Life That Are Absolutely True
Living life in platitudes.
I used to hate cliches.
I still kind of do.
They’re corny, preachy, and annoying. They take the complexities of life and oversimplify them into platitudes that frankly piss me off.
I never stopped to think about why they pissed me off until recently.
Cliches have always bothered me because, despite being cornier than a box of Corn Pops, cliches are often right. They often offer a great deal of insight.
Here are 10 cliches that I have found to ring pretty damn true.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Now I know what you’re thinking:
Didn’t Kelly Clarkson also say something like this?
Yes, she did, but Nietzsche said it first. Either way, they’re both right.
Strength comes from being able to endure pain. Strong people suffer to earn their strength. True strength is not inherent.
That’s why things like ice baths, saunas, hard workouts, etc are all so popular. Physical discomfort — that doesn’t kill you — is the pathway to strength and growth.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
People are complicated.
It’s impossible to make an accurate assessment of someone based on your initial assessment of them. Just ask the archaeologists — with people, the less you dig, the less you know.
Nice people are often cold and distant when you meet them. Douchebags are often nice when you first meet them.
In order to judge a book, you have to read the whole book.
“Fake it till you make it.”
No, you shouldn’t be a fake person.
No one likes liars. Deceipt makes you an asshole.
However, the truth is that when you begin anything new, you’re going to run into roadblocks. You’re going to face imposter syndrome.
If you have any ounce of self-awareness, you’re going to ask yourself “Who am I to do this?” or “Who am I to be who I want to be?”
You have to shut that voice off and keep going — especially if you’re still early in the process. Fake it until it’s not fake anymore.
“You only live once.”
Most of the time when I hear this quote it’s a way that people justify making absolutely terrible decisions.
That’s not what we should be thinking of when it comes to #YOLO.
“You only live once” should be something you remind yourself of in moments of fear. Moments where you're going to let anxiety win. Moments where you want to give up.
The truth is that as far as we know, you do only live once.
Make it count.
“Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you.” — Michelle Obama
I guess I’m a part of the feelings generation.
Gen Z catches a lot of heat for caring about our feelings a lot, protecting our self-esteem, and listing our pronouns in our Instagram bios (what a weird thing to get mad at — but that's for a different day).
Regardless, I wouldn’t be happy as a successful car salesman — even if I was successful. I have the audacity to believe that I deserve to be happy. Even if my version of success looks different from other people’s that doesn’t make either of our versions wrong.
The umbrella term of “success” is subjective. Listen to your gut a little bit when building your life.
“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”― Michael Jordan
I’ve taken my writing/Jiu-Jitsu career further than I ever thought possible, and I’m still kind of at the beginning.
When I first started doing this, I thought that it might be a nice way to subdue the inevitable of me having to get “a real job”. I never expected to make a living. I never expected to be traveling the world training and competing and teaching.
These were limits that I set for myself because I didn’t think what I was doing was possible. I was afraid to fail, so I lowered the bar.
Raise the bar. Do something that scares you. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work.
The best thing that can happen is that you change your whole worldview and alter your life.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs
This might not be true for everyone, but this is very true for me.
If my heart isn’t in something I’m doing, the quality of my work diminishes.
Okay — I lied.
If my heart isn’t in something I’m doing, the quality of my work sucks.
When you love what you’re doing (or love what what you’re doing is going to bring you), you will do a better job.
“Be the hero of your own movie” — Joe Rogan
I desperately want to hate this quote.
It’s corny and incredibly cliche.
However, Joe is right about this framework. If you want to improve your life, a great thing to do is view your life as a movie.
Do the things that a character who wants to improve his life would do.
If you were in a movie and wanted to lose weight, would you keep eating Cheetos on the couch every night while you watch Family Guy and drink Dr. Pepper? If you were in a movie and you were broke, would you keep shopping online and buying sh*t you don’t need?
Do the right thing — even if it’s corny.
“Discipline equals freedom.” — Jocko Willink
I was having a conversation with someone recently, and I was trying to explain why I need to train every day to feel normal.
Part of it is that being a competitive athlete is my job, but it goes deeper than that. I need that discipline to feel comfortable in my own skin.
I need to feel in control of my impulses, not the other way around.
I want my conscious mind to be driving my life, not my monkey brain that constantly craves cheap dopamine. Discipline is the key to building this control.
“Life is about the journey, not the destination.”
Is this the single corniest quote ever?
However, there’s also a lot of truth in it.
In our lives, we often get so focused on success, achievement, and pushing forward that we forget that the beauty and joy of life are actually in the little moments.
Take Jiu-Jitsu, as an example:
Everyone wants to win and tap people out and get good results, but your improvement actually comes from the weeks and hours in the gym before the competition. Beauty is the journey to and through the competition — not the end result.
The same is true in life.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
― William Shakespeare
Other articles from this week:
This week’s premium article (next one comes out tomorrow):
Also make sure you check out this guest post from my friend Alvin!
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