There are so many proverbs, wise sayings, adages, and cliches that get repeated a million times a day all over the world that I believe are pure BS. Not only are they pure crap and untrue, I actually believe rather than inspiring and helping they do the opposite- they make people feel worse and like failures and cause many to waste years of their lives if not basically ruining their lives. Even in the face of insurmountable evidence to the contrary, people still repeat these sayings to others experiencing difficulties in an effort to "help". While there are lots more- these are a few of the ones that I absolutely hate. 1. You can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it. (or work hard enough or any other way of phrasing the same cliche) 2. Always be yourself - the most important thing is to be yourself- never change yourself for anybody - whatever format but the same word/intent 3. As long as you tried your best - that is all that matters These 3 are my absolute pet peeves that I believe have caused far more harm to the world and to people than ever possibly did to help. While all sound inspirational and nice and encouraging on the surface, ultimately they shift blame for every failing inexorably onto the person in a way that makes them feel like complete failures. Worse, we start preaching this crap to kids by the time they are in preschool and continue it for our entire lives- one ridiculous lie after another spoken to them, on posters with fuzzy kittens, as lyrics in popular songs, even by spokesperson role model actors, athletes, and famous speakers. What is wrong with them? Well these are my issues- You can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it Sorry but this is just dumb and clearly complete crap. Why anybody would even say it is beyond me. There a billion things I cannot and could not ever do regardless of the amount of effort I put into it. I will never be a professional athlete and no amount of training or practice in my life would ever make that happen. World class musical ability or artistic ability is not something everybody will attain with enough hours of practice. No amount of studying will make some people smart enough to do any number of fields and pursuits. Every real measure of it finds it to be complete BS. I suppose it sounds better than "Your odds of success are better if you really commit to it and work your ass off but really dude- that is not going to happen" (plus that will not fit on the fuzzy kitten picture well". But by constantly telling people this and drilling it into their heads from the age of 2 as true it makes it always come back on them to blame if they are not in fact the president or an astronaut or Rockstar. Not only does it make them feel like they just are not trying hard enough or that no amount of effort will ever be enough - it gives a way for others ot look down on them as well to say if they tried hard enough they could do it so they must not be trying hard enough. Rather than inspiration it makes people feel like quitters and failures and others to think that of them when in fact no - not everybody can be anything- just a simple truthful fact. Always be yourself - the most important thing is to be yourself- never change yourself for anybody Talk about stupid things to say to somebody - particularly as applies to many of us here and millions of others as well. If somebody is not happy, hates themselves, and hates their lives why blue blazes would it seem like a good idea to tell them to never change? I might suggest if you have hared your life and not been happy for the last decade or so than unless you really like the self hate and suicidal feelings changing might be a good idea. This really applies to relationships and dating - somebody that has never had a date in 15 years of trying since puberty ? If being themselves has not worked for 15 years then why is it a a good idea to "not change"? I would think that 10 to 20 years of trying something one way and having it not work would be ample time and evidence to suggest some small changes might be in order. While it is clear even the people saying this believe that to be true as well (since every time you hear this it is immediately followed by advice on what to do differently), what is the point in saying it at all? Basically all it says is that everybody else is just fine the way they were and was intermediately successful without having ever changed or done anything differently so if it is not good enough the way I am then I am the one that is broke or has no chance. Bull- the other people simply changed faster for the most part - likely because when they heard this starting in kindergarten they did not listen and tried to change a little bit and saw that it yielded results so learned to adjust and adapt and change as called for from situation to situation. Actually this maybe is the real reason for repeating this- The really successful tell this to the much less successful to reduce competition for themselves. As long as you tried your best - that is all that matters While this sounds good in the early grade school years, it does not even prove to be true in those times- much less as a teen or adult. Don't believe it? Look at the math test of a 3rd grader that got 9 out of 10 multiplication problems wrong after studying hard for 2 hours and being as thoughtful as possible on the test. They still failed the test, still do not pass 3rd grade and still have no chance of learning more advanced math skills even though they tried really frickin hard. Ultimately in the real world, effort is absolutely needed to achieve even the people that make things look easy if they are truly successful have put a huge amount of effort into it, but in the end it is only the (correct or good) result that brings tangible benefit and the good result brings that benefit even if you did not try very hard at all. Effort is important to attain a good result, but telling people that is more important than the result is a huge lie and proven to be a huge lie every single day. Once again it leads to people believing themselves lacking for not trying hard enough and to others using that as a scapegoat "they just do not try hard enough" when the simple truth is it is results that count and not effort in the real world. To believe differently sets an individual up for a long miserable cynical life as they watch people that barely need to try have good results and move ahead and people that work their asses off get further and further behind. They ask themselves why that is and cannot understand it. The reason is simple- effort is important to succeed and to be as successful as possible, but no amount of effort with poor results will ever get you what you are looking for so the excuse of having tried your hardest actually gets you nothing. More importantly this lie feeds into the previous two - that if try hard enough will be anything you want, and never change- so people decide to believe in this one and so continually waste time and energy in not changing and chasing the impossible.