We all have 24 hours in a day, how are you going to use yours?
This quote, as normally interpreted, says great, famous and fabulously successful people reached their goals with the same limitations in a day as you — 24 hours — and you can reach your goals too with some perseverance, smarts, and a good attitude.
And would it surprise you to learn that I really dislike this quote?
I don’t find it inspiring at all.
I find it very annoying.
Now, before you start wondering if I’ve had a bad day or something, let me share my history with this quote.
I first heard this quote about a year into my business. I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. My business wasn’t making any money and I was doing a lot of work for NO return.
And hearing this quote when at that place, instead of seeing the possibility for myself through the quote, I beat myself up with it.
I made everything I was doing and had been doing wrong and bad. Because while all those other people had created success with their 24 hours, I had put myself in debt, worn myself out, and didn’t feel successful at all.
I heard the quote and felt like I should be doing more. I felt guilty for any time that I wasn’t spending being productive.
And I compared everything I knew about myself to everything I knew about “those successful people.” And I always came up severely lacking.
The problem was I didn’t know about the crappy, stressful, overwhelmed and self-doubt filled days that I’m sure all “those successful people” had — I only saw the success.
But I compared my crappy, stressful, overwhelmed, self-doubt filled days to the success I perceived them to have.
And it felt like someone above me said “catch this foundational tidbit I’m tossing down to you” and I looked up just in time to see a brick hit me in the forehead and knock me to the ground.
Ouch! Next time can I have a hug instead?
When I heard this quote all I could see was how I was failing to use my 24 hours — I was doing it wrong. Crap.
So, that’s why I don’t care for this quote, because when I first absorbed it I used it to knock myself down and not to build myself up.
This is also why you’ll never hear me repeat this quote.
It might be wonderfully uplifting and motivating to people who are feeling excitement and success, but to anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed and doubting themselves, they might hear this quote the way I did.
Final two thoughts:
- Hearing this quote, or any other motivational quote, and feeling beat up by it is okay. It could be an indicator that you’re a stressed or overwhelmed. That’s valuable to know. When you know or recognize stress or overwhelm, then you can do something about it.
- If you say this quote, or any other motivational quote, and the person hearing it doesn’t take it the way you intended don’t make them wrong about their interpretation. Do notice it. Do get curious. Ask how they interpreted the quote and talk about it.
And this has made me wonder: what uplifting quotes do you find annoying or have you beaten yourself up with in the past? Share in the comments below.