Yesterday as I meandered my way around the Bay run, Inner West Sydney where I live, I saw an advert for a running club which essentially used what you might deem as an inspirational quote, ultimately aimed to play on people’s guilt and excess over the festive period. I pondered for a minute, feeling slightly angry at their tactics, using the holiday ‘getting fat’ season to pray on people’s lack of self-esteem. But then laughed at how dumb it was.
Don’t get me wrong, some running quotes and inspirational quotes in general are quite good, even getting an old sour puss like me motivated to shift my fat ass off the couch sometimes. So there and then I pondered pulling together a:
‘Four Reasons Why Inspirational Quotes Make me Vomit in my Mouth’ article. But work got in the way and I soon quickly forgot about the whole charade.
Then last night, it’s as if the Gods had collided from above to deliver me even further inspiration as I lazily flicked through my Facebook feed, finding the salvation that I so desperately required.
There it was, shining brightly like the star from which I was born. The rather excellent and very well-informed, The Long Run had published their five best inspirational quotes and it inspired me to take the next step and write this article.
Now before the entire running community becomes offended (OK, I know we’ve been here before), I know that everyone loves a bit of inspiration every now and again. Like I said, even I get a little uplifting from the odd quote or two. But most of the time they do make me want to vomit in my mouth.
So, as a counter I thought that it would be funny to provide you with my four reasons as to why inspirational quotes are to be frank, utter bullshit, before delivering you some ‘unspiration’ on a plate full of cake and pies at the end of this article.
1.) They prey on guilt to provide false hope
An inspirational running quote is only good in the here and now – as in right this second once you’ve read it. What is it going to inspire you to do right now?
No quote, no matter how good it is, will fuel you for the next year, day in day out. You’re not going to carry that little quote around with you for the rest of your days on earth, pulling it out of your pocket when you need a little pick-me-up. Because guess what? It won’t work everyday.
Inspirational quotes pick you up for the second you read them, maybe a few hours after, but then you realise what’s being said has very little context or meaning and is highly subjective to the person reading it. They’re forgotten, gone – quicker than Stu Gibson when he comes out of hiding to race before disappearing for another six months.
Inspirational quotes, while motivational in theory, will never work because what people generally want in life never comes immediately. Big goals, like running 100kms take time, and repetition makes the best use of that time.
As runners, we all want to run well. But you’ll only run well if you repeat the process over and over again – consistency and patience. Just like anything in life, it’s about a journey. Inspirational quotes have as much to do with consistency as Ricky Gervais is concerned about offending people.
If you want some inspiration, here’s a nice little quote for you that won’t be shared across the Interwebs because it’s as dull as batshit:
“Do today what you know you’re going to do tomorrow. Repeat 7 days per week, 12 months of the year. View results and pat yourself on the back. Now eat some pies.”
2.) They’re taken out of context and quite often utterly wrong
Like in a big way. People will hear something, latch onto it like the red back did to this poor unfortunate gecko that got tangled in its web in my back garden at the weekend and then proceed to amend said quote to suit their own situation / beliefs.
Take for example this rather popular quote:
“Nice guys finish last.”
Nice guys really finish seventh. Leo Durocher, a field manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers passed comment about Giants player, Mel Ott being too nice, which saw the team finish in seventh place. “Baseball Digest” later reprinted the column in which his quote appeared but changed “seventh” to “last place.”
Leo’s misquoted words are now the ‘Bible’ for athletes with over-aggressive coaches and guys who struggle to have any sense of social interaction with women.
3.) They’re plain bullshit
Yep, that’s right. Zero context behind them, or for those that hang onto every word contained within them, no plan of action to get you to your goal. Let’s take this one below.
Now how exactly do I find myself here? I see a road, it’s looking pretty empty and there are no lines in the middle of the road to distinguish which side cars should be traveling on here. Does that mean a car could come from any direction at any moment? I think I might actually find myself plastered over the bonnet of a car at this rate. See what happened there? I let my train of thought try to find myself, taking me to whatever entered into my mind first and now I think I’m going to die.
Thanks inspirational running quote!
4.) Subliminal Marketing
Ahhh yes, my favourite one, which I’ve saved until last. Sorry The Long Run, I’m about to shit all over your parade here – please don’t be too offended 🙂
Running is indeed a gift, and so are running shoes, which Nike just happens to make and you can buy too!
So if you want to grab hold of some of that precious running gift that exists as a figment of your imagination, then you’d better buy some running shoes, quickly – preferably from Nike 🙂 I can bet your bottom dollar that this marketing campaign would have been launched around one of the major holiday seasons too. People have a bit of time on their hands, maybe Christmas has just passed and you’re busy creating lots of New Year resolutions that won’t see the light of day past January 31st. I know, buy some of that gift from Nike, it only costs $179.99!
So there you have it, my little monologue of why you should avoid inspirational running quotes like a nail in the head. Of course, I am having a laugh here, so before the fun police take this too seriously, please bear in mind the satirical, laugh at myself and not be too serious nature of this article.
Like I said, I enjoy a running quote or two and there are some good ones, but they’re only as good for the second that you read them. The better plan of action is to work out how you’re going to consistently get to where you want to be over a period of time, and you’ll need more than a running quote to do that 🙂
Looking for some ‘uninspiration’? Check out these beauties!
FEATURE IMAGE CREDIT: Mark Remy