They’re Clichés For a Reason

There’s a reason some sayings get passed down from generation to generation. It’s because they contain timeless advice that makes sense.

Sure, some clichés make no sense like, “The cat got your tongue?” (What does that even mean?) “Dressed to kill.” (Does that mean we wear ski masks and latex gloves?) “Go the whole nine years.” (Why not go ten yards and get a first down?) “They are the spitting image of you.” (Gross.)

The best clichés are understandable, memorable, and concise. The following are some of my favorite saying that have stuck with me over the years and I plan to pass on to my kids.

“A penny saves is a penny earned.”
If you can get what you want and need for less than you expected you not only saved the difference, you essentially earned money. On big ticket items this could a big chunk of change. “Money talks” and “Cash is king” both tell it like it is. In today’s world (and throughout history, honestly) having money (and cold hard cash) gives you an advantage because as they say, “It takes money to make money.”

“You only live once.”
For some, life is going to happen for them in the future—especially young people. For others, the best of times were in the past. I believe, “This is the time of your life” because it’s happening now. As I get older and I do the math I realize I may only have a few more summers left (who knows?) and I want to dive in and make the most of every warm, water-filled, magic moment this year because, “Time is of the essence.” People often say, “Time is money.” I’m not sure that’s actually accurate. Time is life. We trade our time (which is our life) for money by having to spend much of our day having to work for it. Isn’t it better to do what you love (or love what you do) since you give up your life for the time it takes to make money?

“It’s who you know.”
It seems unfair that the most qualified, talented, and deserving person doesn’t always get the gig or the job because someone else got it based primarily on who they know. “It is what it is” (another apropos cliché) and it’s not going to change. Fortunately, we can “meet” powerful people, and others can learn about us through social media. We should spend time working on getting our name out there as well as working on getting to know others. We should also embrace that we should, “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us” and offer to help others in some way first before we ask for their help.

“Haste makes waste.”
My father used to always say, “Measure twice and cut once.” Meaning, it saves time and money to cut a piece of wood accurately versus making a mistake and having to go to the store and buy another board. There are times when “winging” it isn’t the best choice. Instead, planning ahead, double checking, and thinking things through first usually saves time and money.

“Misery loves company.”
If we believe the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together,” then it holds true that the people we surround ourselves with can have a positive or negative affect on us—and we should be selective about who we hang out with. I always find it interesting when couples are asked what attracted them to one another many times one (or both) people will say it was their partner’s sense of humor. Since, “Laughter is the best medicine,” we need to be with positive people with a good sense of humor and avoid those who drag us down.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

We are stronger, tougher, and more resilient than we know, and we usually don’t find that out about ourselves until something terrible happens. Since, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” we can hope that the trials and tribulations we endure (“No pain, no gain”) will make us better people.

“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The person who is absolutely 100-percent committed and unafraid to go all-in to make something happen is 75-percent more likely to do it than the person who is sitting on the fence and doing just enough. The superstars in any field are the ones who want it more, work harder, and never give up.

They’re Clichés For a Reason


“To infinity… and beyond.” 
—Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story
Most of us have another gear we haven’t used yet. If pressed, we may admit we could do more. It doesn’t have to be a lot more, just a little more . . . every single day. When you add up the extra effort on a daily basis, we can be “infinity” better. To get to the “beyond” part, that comes from pushing past our comfort zone. We can do more than we think we can. By trying to take small steps each day to be better than the day before, we end up at a place far beyond what we thought was possible. As Nigel Tufnel said in the famous film, This is Spinal Tap, “It goes to eleven. You see, most blokes, will be playing at ten. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, we put it up to eleven.” (He’s talking about his guitar amp, but it applies to other areas as well.)



Tin Cup

“When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.”
—Roy McAvoy in Tin Cup
I believe this quote was around before the movie, but either way its good advice. Mrs. Gump was right when she told Forrest, “Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.” We can’t control what comes our way, we can only control how we handle it. When winners are faced with a defining moment they rise to the occasion because they are ready (they have planned, prepared, and practiced so they can succeed.) If we leave life to chance and don’t have a goal, overriding mission, or plan for our life, then we must take a chance when something comes along that challenges us. Or, if we know what we want and are faced with a chance to move closer to our goal, but first have to overcome an incredible obstacle, we do it. As John Keating says in the film Dead Poets Society“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” 
Tin Cup