7 Fresh Approaches to Cliché Advice

When you’re feeling down and unmotivated in life, how often were you simply told, “Don’t give up” as if it was so easy?

Or, let’s say you’re a feeling really depressed from a breakup or losing a job, and someone just tells you, “Move on”.

“Look at the bright side of life”

“Let go of the past”

“Move on!”

They’re all so cliché that it borders on being annoying and not helpful at all!

Wouldn’t it be great to get real advice from someone who can truly understand what you’re going through?

egg-brainClichés feel cold

Whenever we hear a cliché, it feels like the piece of advice does not relate to us at all.

It also comes from outsiders who do not have a perfect understanding of the pain you’re going through.

Take for example the friend, whom you just poured your heart out to gives you a simple,” Oh… Well  hang in there and don’t give up okay?”

 Though the intention is good, it feels completely redundant.

 But they’re here for a reason

And it’s because cliché advice works.

They’re here to stay and at the core, they’re essential in helping us grow as people.

You can’t escape them. It’s just life. We’ll always have our challenges and we’re going to have to rely on our strengths, through these advice to push on.

Here’s a more fresh approach and look at cliché advice and how you can truly utilize them to better yourself.

1) “Don’t give up”

The problem with this cliché: Everybody knows this. It’s a complete no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done. When you actually hit the point of having to choose not to give up, it feels a lot harder than you might think.

 Welcome the pain: I say, if you ever hit a wall or a low point in your life, just welcome the pain. Acknowledge that it doesn’t feel great and the future seems bleak. Then tell yourself that this pain is going to make you stronger.

And you WILL overcome whatever that is ahead as long as your mind is set to it.

Don’t worry about how it’s going to be done. Just keep trying. Remind yourself of your Why (your goals and vision) and it will be done.

2) “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

The problem with this cliché: It sounds as if we’re supposed to turn every challenge or obstacle we face into a grand accomplishment. Are we supposed push ourselves for everything?

Make a positive turn out of things: What this actually means is to simply choose to take the positive out of the negative.

Whatever life has thrown at you, realize that the world will never stop doing that.

Don’t spend so much time harping on the problems you have or worse, finding ways to get even.

It’s up to you to let it go and move on.

And a good way to do that is to take a positive spin out of it all.

Learn, grow, and move on.

3) “Let go of the past”

The problem with this cliché: Yes we all know we have to look ahead and stop letting whatever that’s behind us haunt us. But we’re all only human, and we’ve our own regrets which are hard to let go of.

The past was a different you: In the past, for whatever mistakes you’ve made, know that you were not the same person back then.

You’re now different, and stronger.

Don’t let that old version of you creep back onto you. You’ve the future to look ahead to, which means you’ve unlimited opportunities to keep growing.

Remember, the past does not exist anymore. You do not belong there. Others may use that against you, but let them deal with the imaginary themselves.

4)”Always look on the bright side of life”

The problem with this cliché: It implies that our problems are insignificant and negativity can be easily conquered.

Mere thoughts in your head: When people say to look on the bright side, they mean to shift your thoughts to more positive ones.

When you feel overwhelmed with negativity, it’s usually because of the negative thoughts in your head.

Personally, what helped me a lot was acknowledging that negativity are absolutely nothing but mere thoughts.

Whoever I’m angry with, whatever that has upset me or things which I feel are unfair towards me are only thoughts.

It takes only a simple shift. Just be wary of pops up in your head and change it to something you’re more comfortable with.

You’ve your whole life and your bodily senses to create new, awesome experiences. Don’t let some thoughts ruin that.

5) “Get over it”

The problem with this cliché: This remark comes off as dismissive towards your problems.

And that’s because people believe in you: Has it ever occurred to you that your friends or family who tell you this believe in you with all their heart?

They may come across as dismissive, but it’s their point of view that actually sees the strength and capability in you.

It’s not that they don’t care about you. It’s that they know it’s something you can overcome.

So, if others think highly of you, why can’t you?

6) “Follow your heart”

The problem with this cliché: It’s not easy to follow what our heart says sometimes as we aren’t sure whether it’s the right thing to do!

You’re special in your own way: All you got to do is experiment in life a little to discover that.

When people say, “Follow your heart”, they mean to realize the unique talents you have.

Find out what you’re a naturally good at.

Get passion.

Let the real you emerge.

With passion, you won’t ever have to battle with your brain to what’s the correct decision to make.

7) “Just be yourself”

The problem with this cliché: It’s pretty hard to be yourself and do whatever you want when you’ve responsibilities and constantly have to face different problems in life.

But if you aren’t yourself, who do you want to be?: And you only have one life.

One life. One chance. One self.

Don’t waste that. It’s no doubt that we have to be real when it comes to dealing with our surroundings,  but you’d want to grow up and look back into a life where you did exactly what you want all along.

Don’t try too hard to be something you’re not.

As mentioned above, you’re gifted with natural talents which you can easily find if you simply try.

So be yourself and accomplish things you can be proud of. And you’d be definitely proud of who you are.

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About Alden Tan

Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog and writes about motivation in unconventional ways. He tells it like it is, to heart of the matter. Check out his free report, Revive Your Life on "waking up" in life to start doing what you love.

Comments

  1. Hi, Alden. Great article! I completely agree with you that people don’t like cliche advice – it does feel cold and impersonal, while everyone believes in uniqueness of their pain. It takes people time to recognize that the reason why these pieces of advice became cliches in the first place, it’s because they are tried and true…and most people recognize that after the pain subsides. I think the reason why even the smartest and most compassionate people give cliche advice is because seeing someone dear to us hurting is disarming, and emotional, so we go to the first thing that is tattooed in our brain. Kind of like when parents are fighting with their kids and catch themselves saying things they swore to their parents they will never say to their kids.

  2. The major problem with slamming down a cliche’ on the table when someone is in need of serious emotional/spiritual advice, is that it sounds like it just came out of a movie. And in most likelihood, it did! Nobody needs quick-draw style movie scenes to overlay their personal problems with generic, buck-shotting crap. I think society as a whole needs to clean out its repertoire, or at least create some new lines in movies to keep things fresh. My personal favorites “Everything will be Ok”, “It wasn’t meant to be”, and “Time will tell”. Eeesh!

  3. Interest concept for the article. I never thought of looking at “Follow your heart” like the way you described, but that’s very sound advice. People often associate heart with passion so I suppose it’s only natural to make that connection. :) Thanks, Alden!
    Vincent Nguyen recently posted..5 Simple Things You Can Do Today to Spread Happiness

  4. Hi Alden,

    You raise some great points. I think the core of advice giving and taking is about the way in which it is given. As you say, to receive advice we need to feel the advice is genuine, and the advice giver is both concerned and aware of what we are going through. This is where empathy plays a critical role. Even if I have not walked in your shoes, I may still be able to imagine what walking in those shoes may be like and deliver advice in a genuine, heartfelt way. If I can do so, it is much more likely the advice will be well received and maybe even acted upon.

    Great post.

    Chris
    Chris Akins recently posted..Listening to your unconscious mind

  5. Hi Alden, absolutely love this concept, wonderful! :-)
    Amit Sodha recently posted..How To Let Go And Move On Quickly

  6. Excellent article! I like your take on the matter. Cliche advice can be hard to take. We’ve heard it so many times it loses its meaning.

    But that doesn’t make it any less true.

    Good advice is simple. We have a tendency to complicate problems more than we need to, but if we stick with simplicity we can solve them. Cliche advice is simple. It tells you exactly what you need to do . . . and leaves the details and how-to’s up to you. Which is how it should be. Every person is different and will handle difficulties in their own way.

    I’ll confess, I use “Get over it” all the time. It’s my favorite.

    Thanks for your cool perspective on this issue. And how the hell do you get those damn accent marks over your “e’s?”
    Trevor recently posted..How to Make a Stand, Find Your Power, and Stop Getting Pushed Around

    • Hey man,

      I guess cliche advice are important in the sense things should be too over complicated!

      It’s up to the taker though.

      Perhaps cliche advice are needed to make the person realize they HAVE to “just do it” to “get over it”.

      Otherwise there’s just no point simply always trying think about the problem, when no action is taken, it’s useless.
      Alden recently posted..Interview with Mark Manson: He attracts women with honesty

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