Motivational quotes.

There was once a time when they adorned the walls of each and every office you entered, including those of deeply uncool scientific academia. And if they had penetrated that far into nerdiness, than you know that they must have been popular.

Those days have long gone now, and the motivational quotes have been replaced, in many cases (especially those of scientific academia) by memes. You have to be a bitcoin-mining, entrepreneurial LinkedIn fanatic who wakes each morning a 4am to do meditations and emails, and enjoys equal numbers of coffees and organic smoothies before a lunchtime power stance hour, to still be into motivational quotes.

Which probably explains why they remain so popular in Cape Town.

I have a couple of social media friends who still share them, though. And because they’re not my thing (the quotes, not the friends) when I see them, more often than not, I tend to dissect them a little.

Like this one:

It’s some moss. Mostly out of focus moss. I hope your climb wasn’t actually too hard if that’s “the best view” that they’re referring to. Really, who’s that going to impress? Bryologists*, sure, but not if they’ve left their glasses at the bottom of the mountain. And if that’s the view they’ve got, then that’s clearly (no pun intended) what’s happened.

“Sometimes a hug is worth more than a thousand words.” Wow.

Look, I get it. Absolutely. In some situations, any number of words will never be enough, and all one needs is a little physical contact. But there needs to be some sort of disclaimer here. My son read this, and now he’s ended up in detention for not doing his English essay and then cuddling his teacher**.

But at least the background image on that one fits. Just look at this:

I mean, what’s that clearly recently-fed lion got to do with this? Is this supposed to be advice for the now legless impala that he’s just partially devoured? And let’s just look at that quote:

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

Yeah, don’t give up, no matter what life throws at you. No matter how many challenges there are and no matter how desperate the situation seems.

Just. Keep. Going.

But… firstly, this surely demonstrates a degree of extreme clumsiness. Who falls down seven times? It seems excessive. Have you been drinking? Just take stock of your situation and surroundings after the first tumble or two. Give it a moment. Hold a railing or something solid. Maybe even just hug someone.
You probably won’t fall over another five times. And that’s got to be a good thing.

And secondly, surely “Fall down seven times, stand up seven” would make a lot more sense, no? Why – and how – are you going to stand up on that last time? You’re already standing, because you stood up seven times after you fell down seven times. Down, up, down, up etc etc, right?
Now what? How do you stand up again from a standing position? I can only surmise that maybe you were already lying down before the first fall? But then it would definitely offer some clarity if it were to say “Stand up once, fall down seven times, stand up seven”. Probably not as catchy though.

And while we’re on the subject:

Yes, we’ve been through the falling down thing. But the choice bit? Well, not if you’ve broken your legs. Imagine: there you are at the bottom of the stairs, blood and bones, snot en trane everywhere and someone wanders over to tell you this? I’d make the effort to stand up for an eighth time just to punch them squarely in the face (before collapsing in agony).

Anyway, I hope that these four images and this post have filled you with motivation for the rest of your day. Remember: always think positive! (unless you’re at the STD clinic).

* yes, I had to look this up.

** obviously, this is a made up situation for attempted comedic value only.