I am sure you have heard your elderly often say “Old is Gold ”. Parents never fail to remind their children how things were so much better in the golden days of the past:
(1) Cinema was cleaner and moral;
(2) Things were cheaper;
(3) Traditions were respected; and so on.
Our elders would always have the wild card of ‘in our time’s things were better with their pack of motivational quotes to preach on to kids. Of course, the ground reality is far more different.
Those sayings of the old wouldn’t prove as sharp as blunt swords in the face of the modern world today. Go into this world thinking old is gold and you’ll find that the new is actually platinum.
So it’s time we take a look at the motivational quotes of the past and remove our rose-tinted glasses:
- Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. –Charles Swindoll Most of you must have seen this quote at least once in your Instagram feed or in some Facebook post. This motivational quote has been used like a wrung towel that has nothing left to squeeze out of. And yet it’s one of the favorite quotes our WhatsApp uncles love to forward in group chats. So let’s start our journey of debunking quotes of the old with this one, shall we?
This quote might have been applicable when times were simpler and life was slower, but in this fast-paced world we barely even have to react! Just think back on last year. There was so much happening. Let me just count it all for you: (1) The Covid pandemic; (2) Australia bushfires; (3) Kanye announced his run for American presidency; (4) Meghan and Harry stepped down from British royalty; (5) Olympic was postponed; (6) And finally, Elon Musk named his child X AE A-12!
That doesn’t really look like 10% of life happening. Rather it looks like a full 90% of life shooting us with surprises and us just reacting with what 10% sanity we had left in 2020.
But don’t just let us convince you. Psychology is on our side as well in this side of the debate. When faced with life, you will have either of the two reactions:
- You’ll stay and fight. Face the events of life with your chin up whether your decisions leading up to them or not.
- You’ll take off in a flight, running away from your life. Now, there’s no shame in running away. Sometimes life just presents you with threats in which you have no choice but to take the flight option. Just take Covid for instance. You definitely should wear your mask and keep away from the virus by staying home.
We believe we have presented evidence to prove that the above motivational quotation just doesn’t apply to our modern world. But don’t let yourself believe that life is scary and not controllable. Whether 10% or 90%, your reactions will always be in your hands. Fight or flight, it’s your choice!
- Life is about making an impact, not making an income. –Kevin Kruse
Hefty ambition but is it rationally possible? It might have been in those days of the ancient old if you were a wandering warrior slaying dragons. But even then you require a coin to buy your sword and armor. Which is exactly the flaw in this motivational quote. To make an impact you need resources and how do you get them? With your money, that’s how!
If life is making about impact then you need income to make one. Even Mother Teresa had to secure funding to run her charities. It’s the unfortunate truth of today’s life that you need money to get anything done. Whether you want to make an impact in your life or in someone else’s, income is a prerequisite for it.
But don’t let yourself feel small. A few caring words or a smile is free of cost. You can always brighten up someone’s day by just taking a minute of your time being kind.
- The mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha
Perhaps in Budhha’s time, this was possible. Lord Buddha did attain enlightenment just by mediating. But can we say this motivational quote holds true to even our modern world?
Common sense dictates this motivational quote is just metaphorical and not literal in meaning in today’s world. No matter how much you think about being as rich as Bill Gates, you can’t become that rich unless you have his smarts and business acumen as well. If your mind is your cheerleader then your actions and resolve are the trampolines that will propel you to become what you want to be.
Of course daydreaming once in a while means no harm! Who doesn’t want to dream about going to a nice restaurant with your friends who you haven’t met since this pandemic started? But it takes action to make one’s thinking a reality.
So don’t just keep thinking but act too! Take charge of your thoughts and start up a zoom meeting and make your own in-house party!
- It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. –Confucius
Do you remember that childhood story of a race between a rabbit and a tortoise? The one where the super-fast rabbit lost to the utterly slow tortoise just because the tortoise never stopped? It’s a preserving tale of how steady hard work always pays off in the end. But there’s a key reason why the tortoise won, and it’s not the one you’re thinking. The tortoise won because the rabbit stopped to take a rest. To hope for a win by thinking someone else will stop for you might have worked in these old stories, but in our present life, you’ll be left in the dust.
Life in the twenty-first venture is not like being a horse in a race. It’s like being an F1 car in a race that doesn’t have any pitstops. The moment you take the first steps you are put into this race and you are expected to run when you only know how to stumble. It starts from you: (1) being put in a preschool so that you can prepare for school; (2) preparing for college while you are in your school; (3) preparing for your job while in college; (4) working long shifts in your job because if you don’t then someone else will.
No one can dare to take a break in between this cycle of modern life. Take a drop year and your place will easily be replaced. There are hundreds ready to outpace you if you falter just for a second. There is no friendly rabbit that will stop for you to catch up.
So yes, this motivational quote while feeling good, unfortunately, cannot be reliable in our current day-to-day. Life is a race and you can’t afford to take a break. There is no sugar coating this fact with motivational quotes.
- You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. –Maya Angelou I wish this was true. It would make finding new words for every article so easy for us! But the reality is that with everything having been researched and found, it’s just too hard to dig up something original every time!
You yourself must have noticed that songs of today are so repetitive. Their music has that same familiar beat and lyrics familiar in meaningfulness. That’s because the world of music has become so saturated that finding a new tune that is different from the already made ocean of past music is difficult. Plagiarism is rampant in the music industry for this reason alone.
If you don’t the above example, just ask any college student how hard it is to find an original topic for their thesis. If creativity is the synonym of originality, then less is not more but rather more is saturation. So keep your creativity close to your chest and don’t waste it. Leave it for the best opportunity that comes to you because creativity doesn’t come cheap.
We are sure there are many more old motivational quotes in your WhatsApp and Instagram feed that need some good dose of reality, but we have to conclude it here for now. We hope that despite us dismantling these quotes you will still keep motivated in your life. In that spirit we sign off with a motivational quote that does hold true to this day:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” –Zig Ziglar