While I am not a big fan of most inspirational quotations, I have always liked these particular few words.

These days a large part of what I see posted on Facebook, rather than being original thoughts from supposedly intelligent people that I have “befriended”, tends to be pithy little sayings that are meant to make us all feel better about ourselves, and which are meant to inspire us to ensure that we understand that our “attitude determines our altitude” and that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (see “Les’s Life Laws” posted march 26, 2012).

Author: takomabibelot; CC BY 2.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: takomabibelot; CC BY 2.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

I believe that most of these are just being used to ensure that, through these regular over-postings, we do not forget that these people who keep posting these aphorisms are still alive and needing some attention, rather than any real belief on their part that we are somehow going to be uplifted by reading “Don’t stress the could haves. If it should have, it would have”.

Wow, I feel so much better by just having read and written this down, and my stress levels have dropped so much as a result, that I will now be able to cut my daily valium intake by at least 50%, will immediately start facing life with a totally positive attitude and stop worrying ever again about anything that I shall confront …. NOT !!!

To the contrary, I have actually discovered that worrying does work, as 85% of what I do worry about doesn’t happen !

The reality is that I get significantly more emotional uplift, and much more stress relief, from watching a short video clip, like the one which was posted recently by a friend, of a bunch of cute kittens and puppies jumping into various cartons and paper bags, from a friend’s clever use of language and imagery such as “I gained so much mass in the last 4 days that NASA have registered me as a gravitational anomaly”, or something funny such as “Jokes about German sausage are the wurst” which recently came up in a post on pub signs.

So why is it that I really do like the saying “Life is not about learning to weather the storm … life is about learning to dance in the rain.”?

Author: Tadam; CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: Tadam; CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

I think that the main reason that I like it is that it is not trying to make me suddenly feel uplifted, de-stressed and at peace with the world, but it is trying to make me think about what it implies. When I re-posted this expression recently on Facebook, the responses that I received had a large variety of interpretations, which is as it should be. These varied from “When life gives you lemons make lemonade” to the Monty Pythoneque “Always look on the bright side of life” to “The true meaning of life comes to you when you dance naked in the rain”.

Author: Kriti Deep; CC BY-SA 2.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: Kriti Deep; CC BY-SA 2.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

I have always taken it to mean that rather than expending energy and effort in learning how to cope with the negative things that happen in life, that we just accept that “life happens”, and that it is real life whether it is negative, positive, neutral or indifferent.

The way that we interpret an expression like this doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we take the time to interpret it in a way that makes sense to us personally.

An expression which makes us think about life, such as this one about dancing in the rain, has significantly more value than one that professes to supply an answer to life, such as “Your life counts”, when we all know deep down that “Your life counts down”.

I would therefore suggest to all “good news” posters that you should just get off your arse and do something interesting, rather than wasting your time and everyone else’s by trawling through the “Inspirational quotes” sites on Google, looking for something unoriginal to post on Facebook. If this was important to us, we could all do it ourselves.

I know that these are the rants of a grumpy old man, in the twilight of his years, but I have no doubt that you will achieve significantly more in your life by telling someone that you love them, tickling your dog’s tummy, scratching your cat’s head, giving someone a hug, having a really good laugh, helping an old person carry their supermarket shopping bag to their car, listening to a child tell you something that they think is important, looking at a sunset, having a good glass of wine, going for a walk, listening to Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, taking your partner breakfast in bed, planting a tree, reading some Gary Larson or Dilbert, singing in your church choir, letting your partner win an argument, mowing your front lawn or a thousand other things that mean you are actually partaking of life, and then even posting some of these actions on Facebook, rather than believing that you are adding value to your own life, or those around you, by posting a string of other people’s pithy little sayings that seem to have come out of a rah-rah speech to a gathering of insurance salesmen.

Author: Christian Thiergan; CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: Christian Thiergan; CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

I love Facebook and I absolutely love seeing photos of your children going to their first day at school, your animals, your family, your grandchildren playing, your holiday snaps, your bike rides, what you have cooked, your broken nose x-rays, your boat trips, where you are travelling, which mountain you are climbing, what country you are in and even which restaurants you are visiting and what you are having for lunch. I also love to hear about your political and philosophical views on life in your own words, things you found amusing, your views of what is happening in the world, your brushes with government agencies, your wine adventures, the fact that there are over 25,000 castles still standing in Germany today, and even marketing snippets from those of you who feel compelled to let us know what your company is doing.

Author: Taxiarchos228 (own work); Free Art License 1.3 (FAL 1.3)

Author: Taxiarchos228 (own work); Free Art License 1.3 (FAL 1.3)

I love all these and more.

Please just spare me from seeing another version of “When you point your finger at someone, at least three fingers point back to you”. I have seen this one so many times, that I now only point with my elbows.



  1. Colin says:

    Good read Les…and very funny!
    Great to catch up with you and Vic in Singapore last week!
    Best regards, Col

  2. Scott says:

    I have to agree
    100 years ago it was called a bromide it did not help then and nothing has changed.
    Regards Scott

    • leshayman says:

      Scottie, they may have some impact in a speech to fire up some sales people to go out and not take “no” for an answer, but it annoys me when people just trawl through quote sites to look for something
      to post. It’s a real “here I am” cry, rather than any true belief that it will be uplifting for someone else … quite sad really. Les

  3. Sean Liberty says:

    did enjoy this… had to put it on my FB

  4. Pingback: The Friday Five, Blogs That Matter – September 20, 2013 | The Transformational Leadership Strategist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: