Wise truths that are pure crap

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by NYJmpMaster, Jun 29, 2014.

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  1. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    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.
  2. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    I have to agree, especially with the last one.
    At school, my chemistry teacher told me hell would freeze over before I ever passed chemistry and my physics teacher told me to go sit in the library.
    I thought I would never be able to do these subjects and made no effort whatsoever to learn them.
    Later in life, I needed all 3 sciences and maths (not a hot subject either) and went to college, I studied like a dog...and I mean studied! Even took my physics books with me on holiday.
    Result: 4 A levels all at A*
  3. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    I think like most things, they have multiple faces to them. It's not about knowing the concept or "wise words", it is about being able to know when to use them. Some situations they apply, other situations those words can have detrimental effects. Besides the first phrase, I can think of many examples where 2 and 3 apply. It depends alot on the situation, and the individual. Especially on who they are, and what they are working through. Characteristically, if someone is striving, number 3 can be quite a defeatist approach to progression. However, for others, the simple act of strengthening their will to simple attempt the task can be enough, for that moment in time. It depends on where they are at.

    These are defiantly your points of view on how they can be applied. More power to you, but they aren't as poor as you are making them out to be.

    To not sound like an ass, I do get what you are saying though. It's a royal nulling effect when someone spouts conceptual words at your situation. Words of wisdom have a much deeper and wide effect of influence. So, especially on a child who is branching left right and center, and strengthening everything about themselves.. saying things like these in the wrong situation can cause delays in their ability to be honestly aware of themselves and the situations infront of them. Catchphrases can be quite damaging if used improperly.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
  4. Twocky61

    Twocky61 Banned Member

    Thanks for posting Ben

  5. TJW

    TJW Member

    I'll add one more pet peeve:

    4) doting parents who tell their kids "you're so good" on a daily basis, when the kid hasn't done anything worthy of praise at all.

    What a disappointment they set the child up for..... and worse, thinking that everybody is going to react with compliments....and, when they don't, the parents lose all credibility
    in the kid's mind, so that NOTHING the parents said to them seems to be correct.
  6. Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut Guest

    I generally agree sayings of this type are worthless. It would be interesting to know where they came from before appearing in media outlets "all over the world."

    I think some of them are from Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking during the 1950s. The ideas resonate in American society, which bubbled over with optimism after winning WWII. That you can achieve anything you want regardless of initial circumstance is bedrock belief here; so I expect future generations to have versions of the sayings.
  7. CD110

    CD110 Well-Known Member

    Regarding no. 2, I would add that society generally hates non-neurotypical people. Not just hates them, but actually goes out of its way to limit their quality of life and inflict misery on them. 'Be yourself' don't fly if you're a humble, lonesome type and are trying your hand at certain minor lifestyles like applying for work. You're expected to toot your own horn, lie about how good of a team player you are and then actually live up to those lies even though it's absolutely unnatural to you, but you need the work to keep from starving.

    Personally, I'd rather starve than pretend to be something I'm not, but for extreme introverts that actually have an instinct for self-preservation, I don't blame them if they put on a mask for these purposes. But changing yourself to fulfil societal expectations? Well, to quote Rambo, fuck 'em. When general society is blantanty corrupt and you have better ideas as to how to live morally, changing yourself is the worst treason imaginable. Never compromise principle for convenience, or you'll just be adding to the cesspit.

    No. 1 is a decent mindset to have but only if heavily diluted with realism and cynicism. The point of it is to set lofty goals and affirm the determination to pursue them, then let the actual rational part of the brain see it through.

    No. 3 has the effect of making people try their best, and really, how much more could you ask from anyone? If you can't do it after giving it your all, you have the best excuse possible. How much that excuse matters in the long run depends on the person. Me, I'm content with knowing I tried my best, and I don't feel the need to kick myself for failing. The trick is not to get into situations where you're banging your head against the wall to no effect whatsoever. And if you do, get out asap. Provide a detailed explanation to those who are counting on you as to why you just can't do it and should be replaced. Make sure it's 100% rational and honest, with as much detail as possible. Again, how much more could you possibly ask of a person? 100% is 100%.

    I'd like to hear what alternatives you have to such teachings for school kids. Take an aptitude test and join the caste for which you're best suited? I'm cynical and pessimistic, but damn, if we don't give children positive messages, what kind of generation can we look forward to?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2014
  8. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    It is really simple- teach kids basic knowledge and let them use that knowledge to the best of their abilities rather then fill their heads with vapid pipe dreams. It has nothing to do with aptitude tests (though they certainly have a place in life and future planning) and castes which is an entire social/quasi political structure and nothing to do with any of this. It has to do with you can be positive and tell people that being what ever it is they choose is fine. Getting rid of the idea that rockstars and actresses and CEO's are better as people "and they can be that too if they try hard enough" and instead saying that rockstars and actresses and CEOs and mechanics and plumbers and secretaries and farm workers are all just people and none of them are to be aspired to any more than the other because none are intrinsically more valuable as a human being. Not set children up for a lifetime of disappointment built on a foundation of quaint lies that in the end are nothing but ways to elevate the status of some people as being "more" or "better" than other people or of greater importance by insisting that the difference is simply effort or desire and placing all the value on achievement of a lofty status or goal instead of simply being human and participating as one would choose and as one could find a sense of self worth in attainment of any status as all are equal.

    Be yourself has nothing to do with becoming corrupt or joining the "wrong side" or anything else- not even remotely. That is all covered by other simpler things like basic character values of honesty and morality- things these saying go against as they a pure and complete lies used to fill heads with excuses and reduce effort and in the end lower self esteem. And the be yourself issue works just fine so long as you are happy - but telling somebody that is unhappy and unsuccessful at all and everything they attempt is a joke - it is telling them there is no other way that is better and that one should not learn from their environment and those that are successful. If they are happy then by all means go with it - if they are not then just maybe trying a better way that works for most people is a good idea. Or they can cling to "I was being myself" and believe everybody else is evil and wrong as they fade into loneliness and are miserable while narcissistically waiting for the rest of the world to change to accommodate them....

    And as said above - try your best is fine for setting your own limitations- if you tried your best and can do not better then you know what your limitations are and can use that knowledge to adjust plans or goals- but in the end other then some small self satisfaction at you tried your best so their is no point in losing sleep about your efforts- but no - it does not mean anything tangible in the world and those that think it does are destined to a lifetime of reality checks about what trying hard actually means vs results. The explanation of how to use that knowledge that you tried your best is excellent and could not be worded better- but that is what try your best is good enough for- self satisfaction that you did your best and adjusting from that point- whether it is you doing the adjusting yourself or those you are working for hopefully being adept enough as a leader to see you have reached your limit in that particular area for that time and adjusting their requirements to accommodate as makes sense.
  9. CD110

    CD110 Well-Known Member

    So you're saying every person is limited in their vocational prospects by their innate talent, but yet all are equal?

    But if you're emulating other people who are different from you in order to find 'success', how are you being yourself? What if those successful people only managed to get there through being duplicitous and manipulative? You're constantly adapting to what is expected and effective, at the expense of your true self. You become a doppelganger for the purpose of self-interest. Adapting to the expectations of a messed-up society is not commendable, imo, whether it leads to success or not.
  10. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Yes - that is exactly what I am saying. Do you believe that a corporate CEO has more value or innate worth as a human than a janitor ? If not then they are equal.

    It is very common that those that cannot find success by "being themselves" decide that all others are being "duplicitous and manipulative" or some other derogatory term. There are other terms for that for example - sour grapes and bitterness- if they succeeded and I did not it MUST be because they did something or cheated or or some way are less than you... "You're constantly adapting to what is expected and effective" - yes- that is learning by experience and education. Of course you can choose not to do that and be your true self and never learn to ride a bike or walk or tie shoes either....
    "Adapting to the expectations of a messed-up society is not commendable, imo, whether it leads to success or not." - Your estimation of society is yours to have and for you to decide that it is all messed up - just as you can choose to participate and change it or choose to do nothing and embark on bitterness and resentment at how all else is bad and if were not for all the failings of the other 6.5 billion people than the world would be a better place for the minority that are "being true to themselves". That would ring far more true if it occurred with a sense of happiness and contentment but if their is instead unhappiness at not having or being included it might be wise to consider maybe "they" are not the only problem and it is not because all of "them" are evil bad or immoral / without social conscience. It is easy to throw stones at such a large target as most of the world and far easier to throw stones than to look to ones self for what we might do to effect change for ourselves instead of complaining and hoping the rest of the world changes while we "be ourselves" and get exactly what "being ourselves" brings.

    Doing it our way is not the way we learned anything else in life - every skill from walking to speaking is learned from emulating others. The suddenly there is a moralistic high horse about "being ourselves" because if you emulate or adapt you are a doppleganger fake and part of the problem? I do not think that is true or based in logic, common sense, or higher moral value. It does allow us to blame others however.
  11. CD110

    CD110 Well-Known Member

    Don't be disingenuous. When I said duplicitous, I obviously wasn't talking about skills like riding a bike. I was talking about interpersonal relationships like gossiping (at the expense of someone else), workplace power dynamics (ditto), bullying (yup), lying in order to make yourself look better, and generally being a douchenozzle because it's already socially acceptable and even expected. But it seems that to you, a utopian society has already been achieved, no one is ever wronged or singled out unfairly by the majority, and the only ones who disagree are sad, sorry holdouts like yours truly who just don't 'get it'. I guess everyone who ends up committing suicide simply refused to adapt, right? That's the key to success and happiness, after all. Just gotta hack and slash at your original personality until you're perfectly normal and 'adjusted' and your true self is gone, that's the ticket.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2014
  12. CD110

    CD110 Well-Known Member

    Of course they are both equal in the eyes of the law. But to claim they have equal worth to society and even to themselves flies in the face of... all reason, really. Of these two examples, who has the most power and influence? Who has a higher standard of living? Which one was most likely born into privilege? Would the janitor choose to be a janitor rather than a CEO? Only in a deeply, deeply ingrained caste system would this happen.
  13. Much afraid

    Much afraid Well-Known Member

    I hope you don't mind my chiming in here. I view these phrases as a means of trying to motivate some - usually children - to help them learn to navigate this life. They are meant to help children learn that they can aspire to things THEY desire and accept themselves when they don't achieve the goal they aspired to reach.

    You can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it

    As a child or teen, learning that we CAN make choices and set goals for ourselves is a good thing to know. Recognizing there are choices and sacrifices involved is also key. Believing that anything is possible without effort is foolish.

    I never really thought about choosing a role I wanted. My life has been a series of jobs done because someone had to do it. Now that it's almost too late for me I see there was another way I might have gone if I d been more secure in who I was and what was interesting to me.

    Now I see that it IS possible to achieve some things through determination and practice but it is also different for every child/every person. As a child I COULD choose to aspire to be an astronaut (or maybe, as I grew I would find for some reason astronaut wasn't realistic.) That doesn't mean if I really enjoyed the sciences involved with that that there was NOTHING I could do in that field of study or industry.

    Always be yourself - the most important thing is to be yourself- never change yourself for anybody

    It's true there are a multitude of reasons someone would want to change how they are, how they look, or what they do. Wanting to change yourself because someone ELSE is basically dictating that you should be different than you naturally are raises so many red flags for me. Women are especially vulnerable in this area (imo) and it is an important concept to learn because so many young girls (and grown women) operate on the basis of "I must be this IMAGE of someone so person X will like\accept me." We get so caught up in being someone else that we lose ourselves. We lose our voice. We have no opinions. We unwittingly set ourselves up for abuse and oppression because we DO try to change based on what others tell us.

    Maybe the cliche should be "Never expect another to change to become your image of an ideal. Learn to accept people as they are. Appreciate them for who they are not who you wish they were."

    As long as you tried your best - that is all that matters

    If we try and do not achieve our goal, it is not the end of the world. At least that is how we try to console ourselves or others.

    Sometimes our best is not good enough and we don't get the brass ring, job, raise, whatever...I need this idea because I don't cut myself any slack. When I fail I go to despair because I wasn't good enough. My fear of judgment from others kicks into high gear. Recognizing that I did my personal best should help me stay off the ledge.

    Instilling this concept in children MIGHT help them to grow into more balanced, self - accepting teens and adults.

    Should these things be used as blanket statements in every situation? I don't think so. Are there situations where these phrases may be appropriate? Until just now my thought was "absolutely! " It seems the concepts are vitally important but we may need new/different ways to communicate the concepts.
  14. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Yes-people imitate poor behaviors as well - but the skills involved in interpersonal relationships are just as much a learned behavior as any other- and like any other skill who you choose to imitate will have a great effect on the style and outcome. Good manners are learned just as easily as the bad manners you speak about, and while everybody can pick out a person out of a crowded room that they believe is unworthy of a certain job or position because of the types of things you mentioned not everybody chooses to believe that applies to every person that holds a job in every company.

    I do not believe a utopian society already exists- far from it- the utopian society you are referring to that does not exist is the marvelous fantastical place where those myths are true and valid where everybody is a perfect clone with similar skillsets and abilities and reactions. It is because that Utopian world does not exist that these things I mentioned are such BS statements for the most part as they fill heads with beliefs that are simply not true and make people question why THEIR best is not good enough and why EVERYBODY ELSE can be anything they want but they cannot, and why if THEY TRIED THEIR BEST why it was not good enough. That is why there are so many depressed people in the world now in my opinion - because they bought into these phrases that would be perfectly reasonable in some perfect utopian world of clones but have very little applicability in the real world.

    So far as equality - yes - I do think a CEO and a janitor is just as important as the other as a human because I do not believe having money makes somebody more than somebody else or that being an actress makes them a better person - so it is not just the law (where you could find a million examples of the inequality) it is whether you believe the person is more than the job or the amount of money they have in their wallet. It seems many people do not. If you want to rate humanity on monetary wealth and influence I guess it is very hard to be satisfied with life if you are anything except the CEO or Prime Minister. I personally think many of those people are complete idiots and have no respect for them as humans at all and I do not believe you actually think they are better as humans either, simply you believe some are less because they do not have those material things.
  15. CD110

    CD110 Well-Known Member

    OK, I think I gotcha now. I think our main difference in opinion is that you believe interpersonal relations are governed by acquired skills while I believe that honesty, clarity and some tact are all you need, while anything more is manipulative. See, I've had some very bad experiences in my young adult life that left a bitter taste in my mouth regarding people of my generation. I've also been betrayed a couple of times and because of all that, I've turned to stoic values for communication.

    And no, I don't believe the janitor and CEO are unequal as human beings. My point was, the ruling class are notoriously lying, duplicitous, sociopathic scumbags. It's how they get elected and rise through company ranks, which also reflects poorly on the electorate and companies. These people have the most power and the fewest scruples, so no wonder society is ill.
  16. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I think there is far more agreement than disagreement between us on the ills of the world and the causes - and in the case of this thread the biggest disagreement is not even one at all - I said these phrases are useless in the world as it is and you believe they should be true if the world was not screwed up (which is not a disagreement at all- just different way saying the same thing is wrong really). My reason for posting this thread is simply because i see so many people (including my own kids in teens and early 20's) that are told this is the way things are and end up bitter because it is not the way things are - though I do not in anyway disagree that it would be better if they were.
  17. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Very well said and I could not agree more - those ideas of pushing be yourself I can completely agree with and is too bad that is not what is taken from it usually...
  18. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Lol I saw that someone mentioned applying for jobs and how you have to lie your ass off if you're not the outgoing, talkative, positive, type...and that caught my attention cause it's freaking ridiculous how badly I have to lie on those things. I mean, if I was actually honest on every single one of those questions, I would never EVER get a job to save my life. This is pretty much how it would look if I answered some of those questions truthfully (and I remember a lot of them because I've had to do at least 2 or 3 every day for the last few months):

    I am generally a positive person.
    Answer: Completely disagree

    I get along with pretty much everyone.
    Answer: Completely disagree.

    Most people can't be trusted.
    Answer: Completely agree.

    If someone took their lunch break at the time you were supposed to take yours, what would you do?
    Real Answer: I'd be like bitch, this is my lunch break, follow the damn schedule.
    Fake Answer: I'd take my lunch break during their scheduled time.

    If you bought several expensive items at the store and then noticed when you got home that they forgot to charge you for one of them, would you go back and pay for it?
    Real Answer: HEEEELLLLL NO. I'd be like "Woo-hoo!!! I saved money cause the cashier was an idiot."
    Fake Answer: Absolutely. I would make it my first priority to go back and pay for it even if it was only a dollar.

    And etc.
  19. Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut Guest

    I'm not picking on NYJump, only that these two posts contain the specific wording I wish to respond to.

    Reviewing the thread: The sound reasoning we see at top (from post #1) has collapsed by the second quote at post #10. Some people in fact do possess more innate worth than others, in every measurable way, and no matter how the worth is measured.

    The truth of this is easier to see in the negative than in the light of our world's imperfect reward systems, such as between CEO and janitor. For the world contains many people it would be better off without--people who take and don't give, people who hurt and kill, people who lie and cheat.

    Although I'm not qualified to judge each individual as sole arbiter, I still know that differences in moral worth exist, even when the moral values used as estimates vary from culture to culture and historical time to time.

    The reason I think all this is because, if everyone were innately equal in personal value as a human being, then we would not have the concept of human worth to begin with. As Aristotle said, a thing or concept cannot be distinguished and given a name if everything is the same as everything else; a contrast is needed. I see no reason to think people are equal in "innate worth" any more than they are equal in other respects.

    This has been an interesting discussion, and I thank everyone posting here, including the ones whose replies I couldn't address.

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  20. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    I agree with you Hats, in worldly terms....... in how the world rewards those who are perceived to be able to contribute a lot to society and who make it their task and their decision to do so. But that isn't the only arbiter of worth.

    Those who have made it their life mission to come to understand human worth from God's perspective know (as does any child if they were 'unbiasely' asked) that God is no respecter of persons. He tells us that he does not judge the way the world judges and that "with God there is no partiality"..... Each human soul is just as precious to him, whether it be the Queen's or an inmate's on death row. Believe it or not. Personally, I am so thankful for this fact, otherwise I doubt I would be here today :)

    I know many would disagree, and that's fine......
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