Solid Advice or Hollow Phrases? A Real Look at 5 of Life’s Clichés


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Alden Tan. What’s the most common cliché you can think of? We’ve all heard them, and probably used them to explain many facets of life. Clichés often emerge in the face of challenges to help us make sense of a difficult situation. It’s a fact that everyone in life suffers (in different magnitudes) and we all have to find the strength to overcome whatever faces us. As such, when we want to be inspired or receive a little help now and then, we may turn to clichés. They seem helpful but actually can be quiet frustrating. Clichés are short, simple and factual, yet don’t specifically target or help with our problems. Instead of helping us, they can leave us with an idle philosophy that wastes our time. Have you ever turned to clichés for an answer or solution to a problem?

Why are clichés all around?

Cliché advice, like it or not, will always be around because it’s easy and memorable. People who are suffering or in need of inspiration look for a quick and simple solution and cliché advice can offer this convenience. Most of all, clichés are often right. They are correct in many ways and they’re meant to help you, whether you relate to them or not. Since I know how frustrating clichés can be, I offer a deeper look into them and how you can actually utilize them for your situation.

Cliché #1: Don’t give up

It’s always easy for people to say this. This cliché is one of the oldest in the book, and on the surface it is sound advice. A deeper look: When you have to actually tell yourself not to give up, be prepared to feel completely down on your luck. It’s easier said than done, and probably not going feel good at all when you’re at a place of contemplating throwing in the towel. Not everything will work out and some ideas will be abandoned. Learn to accept this. How to truly not give up: Assuming you aren’t making a totally irrational decision, not giving up will be essential to your success. Prepare yourself to fight through the pain. Know that it’s not going to feel good and that frustration and uncertainty is something to be expected. Then, find the courage to continue on no matter what the obstacle. That is how champions emerge. Besides, you may not know how close you actually are to success. It can be just around the corner if you don’t give up.

Cliché #2: Life is short

People say this to encourage living life to the fullest as you never know when your final day will come. Again, there is some valuable wisdom here, along with a care free attitude. A deeper look: Is it always smart to think that life is short and that we should live life according to our own rules and do what we love? We all have responsibilities, like work, family and bills to pay, which all ironically make life seem like a long drag. Most of us who lead a normal life would feel fortunate enough to live a long healthy life anyway. Life can be short and unpredictable: Life can be short, and it took my own father’s death for me to realize this. Loss isn’t something you have to go through to realize that though. I say, life is unpredictable, so start doing what you love because you don’t know what could happen. Besides, whether you feel your life is long or short, you might as well enjoy it along the way. Fill yourself up with positivity. Find your passion and start living.

Cliché #3: Scream into a pillow when you’re angry

You feel extremely upset and you really want to stop feeling like that. Then the Aunt Agony in your local magazine encourages you to scream into your pillow, as if that’s going to solve anything! A deeper look: Screaming into your pillow isn’t going to solve your problems which have resulted in you feeling angry, but it will allow you to let off some steam. Why screaming into your pillow works: It provides a proper and safe channel to express your anger. Expressing your anger and negativity is actually very important, something which a lot of people do not realize. When we hold onto grudges and repress our anger it will emerge later in a more explosive way. The whole idea is to channel that negativity out, so as cliché or weird as the technique may sound, it can actually work really well for you. Try it.

Cliché #4: Patience is a virtue

Patience is probably a very difficult practice for many people in our fast paced society today. A deeper look: It is a virtue and can make life less distressing, but there are going to be things we just don’t want to wait for, and maybe shouldn’t wait for. Do good things only come to those who wait?: Like me, there are those who would rather not sit around and wait for results. In fact, there are people who are completely against this virtue! I say there should be a balance in how you treat patience. It is good to be patient, yet it should never be an excuse to not take action towards achieving your goals, or for waiting for the “right” moment to occur. Be patient with success, but don’t sit around and do nothing. Keep taking action and moving toward your goals.

Cliché #5: Life isn’t fair

I’m sure you have said, heard, or experienced this cliché at some point in your life. A deeper look: Life is indeed not always going to be fair. This is pretty clear to most of us. There is inequality, trauma, and injustice in the world. You don’t have to make it unfair for others: You don’t. Be positive for yourself and those around you. That being said, don’t waste your time wondering why life is unfair, much less being upset about it. Don’t be a victim, be a victor. Accept that the world isn’t perfect, and if you’re ready to go a step further, accept that the universe created your life for a purpose and plan, even when life doesn’t seem fair. Once you do that, it will be a lot easier as you seek out the life you truly want to live. There is plenty of cliché advice out there. Some of it is still tried and true, and other ideas no longer fit as humans have grown and evolved. Use clichés to help you grow and learn and to meet your own specific goals. Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Alden Tan. He is a rockstar blogger who juggles his passion of breakdancing and blogging. He quit his job to follow his dream of being a full-time writer. And he does it all by not caring about what others think.