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Top 10 worst motivational quotes

By Amanda Wilson, August 5 2022

Sometimes we all need a little pick me up and positive affirmations to motivate ourselves and one another. While some quotes can be very sweet and insightful, others have been overdone to the point of becoming no-more than a cliché and others are just flat-out ridiculous. Here are the top 10 “motivational” quotes that are bad enough to disrespect the hustle.

10. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” — Friedrich Nietzsche

In some cases this may be true, but what doesn’t kill you can also result in irreparable damage. What could kill you is pretty extreme, and I don’t think that immense trauma is necessary to motivate a person’s ambition.

9. “Only the paranoid survive” — Andrew Grove

This quote also stems from an extreme situation that is attempting to flip a negative experience into a positive one. Survival instincts are important, but in a motivational context the quote seems to encourage toxic competition. It’s okay Mr. Grove, we can all survive.

8. “Never give up” — Everyone and anyone

I think everyone has encountered this quote at least once in their life. The sentiment is well-intentioned, but in some situations it is okay to give up. There is no reason to keep investing energy in what is not meant for you. Abandon and try something new!

7. “Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed” — Alexander Pope

It is good to have healthy expectations, and Pope would be surprised at how many ways we can meet disappointment.

6. “Live, laugh, love” — Your mom’s decor

This quote speaks for itself. There is so much more to life than living, laughing, and loving. Shoutout to the complex system of human emotions.

5. “Everything you can imagine is real” — Pablo Picasso

This quote is dangerous because it can be both positive and negative. I would not like my intrusive imagination of giant spiders to become real.

4. “It can always get worse” — Ving Rhames

While this quote is a realistic outlook, knowing that it can get worse is not exactly motivating.

3. “Great things never came from comfort zones” – Peer pressure

The comfort zone is great, we all love it. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to push your boundaries, but claiming there is nothing great in the comfort zone is simply incorrect.

2. “Business opportunities are like buses — there’s always another one coming along” — Richard Branson

I would like to know when the last time Branson had taken a bus is, and if he has ever had to run for the last bus of the night.

1. “Get your f***ing ass up and work” — Kim Kardashian

This quote was widely criticized for being tone deaf. The reception may have been different if the quote did not come from Kardashian. However, achieving success is much more complex than simply working. Exploitative working conditions and income inequality is not a good look, Kim.

My favourite motivational quote that I’ve heard growing up with my father is, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit,” by W. C. Fields. Verbal prowess is a tricky skill to master, but being an original will always be better than being a cliché.

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