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Image / Editorial

Do motivational quotes have the opposite effect on you?


by Erin Lindsay
31st Jul 2018
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“Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day – no excuses!”.

“Eat, sleep, grind, repeat”

“Good things come to those who work their ass off”

Why does it feel like these sentences are shouting at me?

A few months ago, I wrote about how motivational quotes on social media can be a great source of inspiration for an unmotivated brain. I was so into those aesthetically pleasing typefaces, blissfully saving them to my camera roll for future ‘hustle and grind’ days. Until I had a day where I was dead tired after work and didn’t want to do anything productive. It was then that those quotes that had served as my little cheerleaders turned into aggressive little bullies.

As I was scrolling through my ‘motivational’ feed, I started to feel more and more uncomfortable at the sight of all these positive mantras. Every atom in the universe seemed to be screaming at me to get off my ass and get to work, that unless I was ‘hustling’ 24/7, I was useless and about to fall behind the pack. Not exactly what you want to be thinking when you’re trying to enjoy Love Island of an evening (RIP).

While I’m writing about this lightheartedly, the fact that I do suffer with anxiety from time to time means that these posts were actually having a bad effect on me. I began to feel stressed when I wasn’t in work and could never fully relax unless I was doing something ‘productive’; which, by definition, isn’t relaxing either. It’s no secret that social media paints a picture of other people’s lives designed to make you feel bad about your own. But now, it’s actually starting to paint a picture of your own future to make you feel bad about your present. If you don’t work harder, better, faster, stronger (Daft Punk who?), then you will ultimately fail, while those who are working that hard will get ahead. But guys, I have to tell you – this isn’t true.

Much like everything else on social media, what we see is almost never the full picture. While these posts are silently screaming at you to get back to the slog, try to remember that they don’t know you or your story. That whole “everyone has the same 24 hours in a day” is total bull – have you ever considered that the millionaire who said that probably has a cleaning service, a driver, no children and is stinking rich? If I had none of that to worry about, I’d probably be happily working my brains out all day too. Also, consider the fact that the person making these quote posts which are peaking your anxiety literally spends hours on a mobile app overlaying bold capital letters over pictures of lions – hardly the success story of the year to be preaching to you.

Also, it must be said that ‘hustle and grind’ has to be the cringiest phrase in the English language and if you model your life after it, you need to take a good look at yourself.

Self-care and relaxation is as integral to success as hard work. You will not be able to do your best and get good results if you’re not rested and healthy. Success is not something that happens after a week of working so hard you end up ill – it takes years of work, rest, learning, experiencing life and plenty of fun along the way. Success is a process, and it has to be enjoyed to be worth it.

There is absolutely no room for guilt when it comes to taking each evening as a time for yourself. Trash TV and a face mask is 2018’s ‘hustle and grind’ (puke).

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