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Sunday Self-Scaler 30
5 popular quotes that are actually terrible real-life advice and the 2 books I'm currently reading
Quotes are everywhere — social feeds, blog posts, wallpapers, posters, and even tattoos. But most popular quotes are “feel good” romantic nuggets and not sound real-world advice.
In fact, some of them offer outright terrible advice. I want to share 8 such quotes. Having pervaded the internet, they goad thousands down the wrong path.
I too fell prey to them in the past. I don’t want you to. The intent behind these quotes is definitely good but a good intent doesn't always translate to good advice.
#1 — “Never Give Up”
During my disastrous weight loss journey, this was the quote that fueled me. Fatigue, exhaustion, hunger, and a deathly pallor — there were blazingly clear signs I needed to give up, but I pushed on like a stubborn bull.
And the result? More muscle lost than fat. An anorexic, not ripped look. And an unhealthy relationship with food.
Sometimes, we need to give up. What usually prevents us is the sunk-cost fallacy — “Since I’ve already come so far and invested so much time and effort. I can’t give up.”
But we need to get over this and give up when we realize we should. It sucks balls.
But better to abandon a sinking ship than drown with it.
This doesn’t mean giving up at the slightest hint of resistance. Resistance is the norm and you should strive against it. But if it's only mounting and results continue to be dismal, you might have to give up.
Again, giving up again doesn’t mean entirely, just the present way, approach, or idea — and trying something new.
“It is necessary sometimes to take one step backward to take two steps forward” — Vladimir Lenin
Know when to give up and when not to. Quitting after writing five articles as you didn’t go viral is absurd. Stubbornly sticking to it for years and earning cents is stupid.
#2 — “Follow Your Passion”
In middle school, I enjoyed nothing more than racing on my roller skates. High school saw me fall in love with lifting weights. A brief stint of coaching and I was contemplating a fitness career. Then I started writing, and it’s now taken the front seat.
There’s no “one” passion. As you grow through life, you’ll find new passions and shed old ones. Even writing that I’m fervently passionate about might fade away.
In today’s world, with thousands of things to do, isn’t it absurd to think that you would find only “one” passion?
Another problem is that this will kill your passion. I have a well-paying day job so I don’t have to depend on writing for money. But when there are stomachs to feed and bills to worry about, passion flies out of the window. As Tom Kuegler says,
“It used to be therapy for me to write something. Now I feel nothing. My goal isn’t to stop writing blog posts — it’s to not have to rely on that for money. My goal is to turn a hobby back into what it’s meant to be — something enjoyable.”
Don’t follow your passion. Find a day job that pays well. You don’t have to love it, just don’t hate it. Diligently save, invest and strive towards financial independence. Pursue your passions on the sideline.
Once you’re financially independent, pull the plug — quit your job and plunge headlong into your passions.
Be it writing a novel, setting up a coaching business, or painting — with your living expenses taken care of, you’ll be truly able to enjoy them.
#3 — “Don’t Care About What Others Think”
While it’d be great to break free of these fetters, we’re sadly wired to care about others’ opinions. But we can choose those ‘others’ — loved ones, people you admire, and ones that are more successful.
Even then, don’t dance to their puppet strings — listen to and use your own rational mind to decide.
Even loved, and knowledgeable ones can be wrong. What matters the most is what you think of yourself.
When I went on a fat loss cut, my mom dissuaded me. I appreciated her concern, but I trusted myself. And it paid off — I stepped on stage and won bronze in a bodybuilding competition.
Carefully choose the opinions you give weight to and even then, let the ultimate judge be you — you alone.
#4 — “Live Each Day Like It’s Your Last”
What would you do if you knew today was your last? I certainly wouldn’t be writing, investing, sleeping, or eating broccoli.
After spending some time with friends and family, I’d wander off on my own. Splurge on my favorite foods. Have some great sex. Pop some acid and trip on it. Basically — an orgy of pleasure.
Your answer might not be much different. This is because self-improvement and happiness boil down to just one thing:
Choosing long-term satisfaction over short-term gratification.
But when there’s no “long-term” — you’d resort to short-term gratification or pleasure. This is why this is poor advice. On the flip side is “Hustle your life off for a better future.”
And this is equally bad — while the former sacrifices the future, this sacrifices the present. There’s no guarantee of you being alive tomorrow, but neither are you sure to die.
So the present and future are both valuable — strike the right balance and sacrifice neither. Work hard but have leisure time. Exercise regularly but take the occasional day off. Eat mostly healthy but dig into that tub of ice cream.
Prioritize long-term satisfaction but enjoy those short-term delights.
#5 — “Just Be Yourself”
Nothing puts as thick of a full stop to your personal growth as this does.
Authenticity is an excellent trait to possess. Even science says so. But — we need to know ourselves to be ourselves. And self-awareness is rarer than diamonds.
So, when we try to be ourselves, we actually portray what we think of ourselves — loosely founded beliefs, weak values, and fuzzy principles. Therefore, first develop self-awareness through regular introspection.
At the end of each day, reflect on your actions, thoughts, and the day’s events. Ask yourself questions such as “Why did I react that way?”, “What made me say that?”, “Why did that thought pop up?”, etc.
The next big problem is that we tend to conveniently use it to abandon responsibility. We brush away our mistakes with “That’s just how I am” instead of owning up to them.
I did this for a long time with punctuality, or the lack thereof. My excuse was that “humans were inherently flawed”.
But most of our ‘flaws’ aren’t flaws by design but flaws by choice.
We can and need to work on our flaws. So be yourself, but constantly learn about and upgrade yourself.
The 2 Books I’m Currently Reading
While I almost always have at least 4 to 5 books in varying stages of reading progress on my Kindle, it’s only 1 or 2 that I actively devour. I want to share my present two:
The Psychology Of Money (70% In)
Money is treated as a set of excel sheets, financial ratios, paychecks, and compound interest.
But it’s much more psychology → Given that it’s a game billions of people with different mindsets and goals are playing simultaneously.
Through amazing examples and personal anecdotes, Morgan delivers powerful timeless lessons on getting and staying rich.
Psycho Cybernetics (15% In)
Let me bang my head for the umpteenth time for not finding this goldmine of a book earlier.
It explores the power of positive thinking and mental self-imaging to transform your life → but not in the pseudo-motivational wishful manner most do.
Here, Maxwell, a plastic surgeon by profession and psychologist by passion, dives into the subject of cybernetics → the study of automatic control systems;
And explains how humans are actually servo-machines!
The central concept is how humans are not machines but rather possess the machine called the body → Basically a conscious mind that operates a machine-like body and brain.
It isn’t a super-interesting book but the semi-rigorous approach makes this book much more valuable.