Annoying “inspirational” messages
There are some venues that should be off limits …
I tend to distrust optimism. I have found that, in most cases, it is unrealistic. I can listen to a motivational speech by, say, Zig Ziglar, and I can understand how his energy and enthusiasm can inspire people to try harder. But I'm not one of those people. In the 1980s, Bobby McFerrin had a number-one hit telling people, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." I just couldn't buy in.
I tend more to favor the cynical view. I don't think that just thinking happy thoughts is going to make the rest of my life turn happy. And while, maybe, some positive thoughts are going to be positive for my performance, whether at work or at sailing, I don't think that they're going to have all that great of an influence, as compared to actually working at it.
I tend more to agree with such sites as Despair.com, which point out the absurdity of the usual optimistic platitudes. One of my favorite sayings is, "The light at the end of the tunnel is really the headlamp of an oncoming train." Another is, "The early bird gets the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese."
Meanwhile, I have recently been attacked with motivational messages from a quarter that I would have thought sacred – the wrappers on my feminine-hygiene products.
This is a brand that I believe in; the products are superior to any others. The new product line, labeled "sport," is even better in terms of comfort and performance. However, because of the "sport" label, the manufacturer decided to put motivational slogans on the wrappers. So several times a day, I get a message such as "You go girl!" or "Keep your head in the game!"
This evening, I got one that is an insult to race committees – it assumes that either the race committee didn't set a square course or that there was a big wind shift during the race: "Reach for the finish line!"