It’s another day at work and there you are, at it again. Scrolling through Facebook, trying to make the time go by, hoping your boss doesn’t ask what the hell you’re doing. You scroll past the Outrage of the Day, the latest shenanigans of Kanye and Tay-Tay and a Game of Thrones GIF before seeing it…
A motivational meme—some banal, pseudo-inspirational text over a picture of someone lifting weights or a woodland scene. It might be attributed to Mark Twain or Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama, even if it was made up by the administrator of Inspirational Quotes To Start Your Day or whoever.
If you’re a normal, well-adjusted person, you hate these with the burning fury of 10,000 suns. You only hate the person who shared it slightly less. On the grand scale of things shared over the Internet, inspirational quotes rank up there with proof of chemtrails and memes with Bernie Sanders opining seriously on the state of Norwegian black metal.
A small number of people are in any kind of a position to give good advice to other people. Virtually none of these people are typing their sage advice over pictures of women doing yoga in front of wheat fields.
They’re irritating as hell. If you’re sharing inspirational memes, just stop. If you’re not, and just hate them as much as I do, read on for some laughter, some hugging and maybe even a few tears. Here are five reasons inspirational memes drive me mad.
1. People who post inspirational memes are invariably disastrous.
It’s not your super successful, happy and well-adjusted friends posting inspirational takes on life and love. It’s the guy who’s divorced three times by the age of 30, because “my ex-wife is totally crazy.” And sure, he’s right, she is, but he’s the one who married her, then married two other women exactly like her. He’s also the guy who can’t hold down a job for more than six months or stick to a workout routine for more than two days.
Inspirational memes are basically what lazy failures do instead of actually doing stuff.
2. No one has ever been motivated by a meme.
Plot twist: I actually think that affirmations work. Sort of. Affirmations that work are basically when you look in the mirror and remind yourself of something. One of my favorites is “I work hard, because nothing feels better than achievement.” I don’t think it sounds any less stupid than what I see on Facebook, but I’m also not shitting up my friends’ feed with it. It’s for me. It’s something I actually believe and it reminds me why I need to get back to work.
On the other hand, no one is getting up from their computer and crushing their workout routine because of something they saw on the Internet telling them how much like a bear they are. The guys who are crushing their workout routines aren’t wasting their time sitting on their asses and scrolling around the Internet.
3. When they give advice, it’s awful and generic.
Sometimes motivational pages try to give you advice. It’s always on the level of “Doing something right is better than lighting your house on fire and attempting to piss out the flames.” Well, no kidding? I never would have guessed. Thanks for the protip, boss.
The worst culprits here are pages trying to sell you something. The Internet has made it easier than ever for people to peddle “life coaching” or “lifestyle products” to legions of punters. The main vector for this disease are pages offering copious amounts of relatively meaningless advice in the form of inspirational memes. It’s a strange concept: Giving you bad or worthless advice to get you to pony up cash for more of the same. But there’s a sucker born every minute, I guess.
4. “You’re Awesome!” isn’t actually advice.
Here’s a fun game: Go to one of the “inspirational” social media pages that’s also trying to sell you a product of some kind. Now see how much of what they post isn’t actually advice of any kind—good, bad, useless or other. On the contrary, what you’re going to find is a bunch of text talking about how great you are, or how you’re bound for greatness or some other feel-good hokum.
Lots of people need solid advice. Fewer people are actually able to heed good advice when it’s given to them. An even smaller number of people are in any kind of a position to give good advice to other people. Virtually none of these people are typing their sage advice over pictures of women doing yoga in front of wheat fields.
5. Inspirational memes offer nothing but pep talks for losers.
We all need a kind word from time to time to keep going. I’m not insensitive to the fact that world can grind you down over time. Still, where are you and the other successful, well-adjusted people in your life getting their pep talks from? Friends, teachers, bosses, clergy, parents. You don’t get your inspirational, uplifting talks from a meme on Facebook or Instagram.
And that’s really what it all boils down to. None of this stuff is good advice or even terribly inspiration. It’s just something that losers read so they have something to say about all the stuff they’re going to do “tomorrow.” The one thing I hate on this earth more than people who aren’t very smart thinking that they’re super smart is people who are always going to accomplish some grand task “later.”
Now get out there and take on the world, tiger.