4 Popular Sayings that Stop You Dead in Your Tracks

NOTE: Before taking another step, go check out my guest post at My Super-Charged Life and leave a comment! It’s similarly called, 4 Life-Sucking Sayings to Avoid like the Plague . Then come back here and finish reading! The two together paint a more complete picture of what I want to say.

Common sayings are everywhere, used by just about everyone: “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” “Practice makes perfect.” “You are what you eat.” “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

Such sayings have been absorbed into the collective consciousness. But some sayings may have the unexpected consequence of limiting our potential.

Following are four such sayings to avoid … like the plague!

#1. “All good things come to those who wait”

The Meaning

Don’t be impatient. Wait. Wait your turn. Wait for circumstances to change. Wait for good things to show up in your life.

The Truth

Those who wait for all good things rarely ever get those things that are all that good. They get stale and left-over things from those who sprinted toward the things they wanted instead. Stiff joints and dull minds come to those who wait. Goals must be pursued. Futures must be constructed. Cathedrals rarely fall into place. To build the mansion of your life, you must actively participate as its architect and builder.

The Challenge

Don’t wait for life to reach down and benevolently pick you from the crowd to give you your day in the warmth of its generosity. Never! Go get what you dream of! Stand up and scramble to the front of life’s line. Create conditions that produce the life you dream of living even if it’s no more than a single step at a time! And start now.

#2. “Better safe than sorry”

The Meaning

Play it safe. Don’t take risks. It’s better to avoid the sorrows of failure by staying behind the safety of locked doors. Safety, after all, is the primary concern of life. So stay on life’s sidewalk. Don’t cross the street of possibility. You may get run over!

The Truth

Sure, if you’re talking about flying a kite on the freeway or pole vaulting in a lightning storm, it is, in fact, better to be safe than sorry. But most successes have been built on the trash heap of former failures. Disappointing results are learning opportunities that can catapult us over obstacles and into the kind of life we were meant to have, one more closely resembling our amazing potentials.

The Challenge

Safety is fine for those who are content to live comfortable lives of routine and repetition. But greatness (of industry, intellect, creativity or character) does not lie at the end of carefulness. It requires jumping off cliffs of all kinds – emotional cliffs and entrepreneurial cliffs and intellectual cliffs – into the unknown. It requires courage of conviction and dedication to purpose. It comes from challenge and internal revolution – a revolution of heart and of creativity, of insight and virtue.

Life is messy, after all. So be it! Don’t try to control everything. Bumps and bruises are part of the learning experience. Don’t resist it. Allow it. Even welcome it. And start floating toward the deep end of life.

#3. “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”

The Meaning

Perform your best work, or don’t perform at all. If you’re going to do something, give it everything you’ve got.

The Truth

Life is all about priorities. Time is a limited resource. We only have so much of it in a day and only so many days in a life. But the things that demand our time are almost limitless. Some things are important. Some things are urgent, but not important. Does it really matter if the garage is cleaned only fairly well? Does it really matter if the garden isn’t weeded and pruned just right? Sometimes a job done okay is good enough so you have more time to do the important jobs in life well.

The Challenge

If everything in life that we do is done particularly well, to the level of our best ability, there will never be time enough to take a walk, to write a book, to score a symphony, to rekindle love, to spend enough time wrestling with your kids on the living room floor. Sometimes a mediocre job is good enough to free up time to do the things that matter most.

#4. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”

The Meaning

If the battle is too difficult to fight, if the enemy won’t surrender, if circumstances seem implacable, put down your guard and join the other team. Stop fighting, stop resisting, bend in the wind, give up and give in. Adopt what at first you fought. Take on the characteristics you originally opposed.

The Truth

If they’re worth being beat (bad habits, negative attitudes, self-defeating beliefs, ignoble character, opponents to human freedom), never join ‘em!

The Challenge

Fight them! Overcome them! Defeat them! Transform them! But never become them. Never give in to them or welcome them. Never. Such self-defeatism will always lead to sorrow, frustration, guilt and regret. Instead, stand your ground. Refuse capitulation. Be strong. Stand tall. And stay on the correct team doing the right things in the right way. This way, you can always look in the mirror without the sting of shame and regret.

Final Thoughts

The words we speak can quickly become part of the very blueprint from which our lives are built. As we consider the words and phrases we use to describe life, begin to analyze those thoughts and beliefs that underlie the words we habitually use. Then begin to de-weed your vocabulary of those sayings that work to undermine the beautiful life you wish to live.

Now, if you haven’t already, go check out that guest post at My Super-Charged Life to see what other common phrases are undermining your potential!

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