Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Stop telling yourself that: Life’s biggest lies

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Several months ago, my wife and I were discussing truths we want are children to know. Although I’ve covered the topic before, I’ve since recognized several more while reiterating others.

Granted, you can’t expect to learn the below principles in a couple of sentences. But maybe, just maybe, this commentary will spark your curiosity and challenge your worldview for the better: 

  1. You are good at everything you do. Incorrect. You are only good at what you practice often and have a natural aptitude for. More here.
  2. You can be anything you want to be. This is only true if you have the perseverance, physical capability, and natural “knack” needed to succeed. Hard work only accounts for one third of the equation.
  3. The longer you work, the more you make, the more you acquire, the happier you’ll be. Otherwise known as the hedonic treadmill, this is false.
  4. You must be married, own a house, and fulfill your dreams by [insert arbitrary age here]. Says who? Some young whipper snappers even impatiently expect to accomplish this before their parents did. In other words, you won’t have to work hard or wait to get what your parents worked hard and waited for.
  5. A good job requires a college degree. False. A good job sometimes requires a degree. But even the most marketable people can negotiate their way past that sometimes. In truth, a good job requires either luck, knowing the right people, hard work, and sometimes all three.
  6. Blaming others will change your lot in life. Your parents are to blame for the way you are… up to a point. Unless you’re being held physically captive somewhere, you’re to blame for not becoming who you want to be.
  7. If it sounds too good to be true, you’re probably extremely lucky. A lot of gullible people believe this. The best way to avoid this is knowing what motivates the seller, declining “you must act now” transactions, and checking online reviews before departing with money.
  8. You should do and be what your parents, peers, and society want you to be, NOT what you want to be. Wrong.
  9. Fruit snacks are an appropriate snack. Incorrect. They’re candy, which have a place in life, but not as a snack.
  10. If you lower your expectations, you’re lowering your standards. False. Standards are the floor. Expectations are the ceiling. Compromise is somewhere in between.
  11. I’ll be happy if or when [insert personal event] happens. Fact: If you think like this, you’ll never feel satisfied. Happiness doesn’t requires patience. It requires courage.
  12. Getting old and wrinkly and gray is bad. Old age may not be the prime of your life, but it’s still golden for those who accept it. Chasing the fountain of youth is a fool’s errand.
  13. People who are successful are naturally gifted. Nope. You can be successful too if you work really hard and don’t stop until everyone in the room tells you “no.” 
  14. If you don’t win, you lose. Or as Ricky Bobby says, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” This is untrue. Read this if you don’t believe me.
  15. Nice guys finish last. False. They may not finish first, but I promise they sleep better at night and feel less guilt.
  16. Wisdom is the accumulation of knowledge. Inaccurate. Wisdom is recognizing what you don’t know while applying what you do.

Readers, what did I miss?

See also: Growing pains: Top 10 lies in life

Special thanks to Josh Steimle, Jacki Snow, Wesley Lovvorn, Adam Miele, Dylan Denny, and Steve Richards for adding to the list