Ridiculous Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes provoke thought and provide motivation with just a few words. However, some of these “inspirational” quotes are rubbish. Many are attributed to famous people, though research seldom confirms that the person ever actually uttered the quote. Here are some of my favorite ridiculous quotes.


If you’re not 15 minutes early, then you’re late.

This sentiment is pure nonsense. Time zones have been standardized since the industrial revolution. To declare that all measure of timeliness is 15 minutes slow, and those who disagree lack character, is nuts. Time is time.

Never give up. Never, ever give up.

Sometimes giving up and moving on is exactly the right thing to do. This quote infers that any change of mind or intent reflects low resolve. “Never, ever give up” is perfect when your nation is under attack (Britain, WWII) but leads to unintended consequences for just about anything less.

If you’re not doing what you love, you’re wasting your time.

Taken literally this idea is destructive. Many of life’s most noble and important pursuits are not “what you love” but “what is required.” Keep your dreams alive, but don’t consider other activities unworthy.

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

This quote has two problems: First, some things are genuinely complicated; there is no simple explanation. Additionally, understanding something and explaining it are different skills. We’ve all had smart, bad teachers. This quote is simply false.

Everyone’s a genius. If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.

I’ve been privileged to know some actual geniuses. Trust me, not everyone is a genius. The second part of this quote is an analogy, the least powerful argument for anything. There is no doubt that different people are good at different things; however, this explanation is just nonsense.


The next time you see a pithy quote, give it the “smell test.” Does it truly make sense?

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