Faulty Logic: Inspirational Quotes

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” — Wayne Gretzky

There is only miss or make, 0 or 1, true or false. But neither result can happen if you don’t take a shot. You logically cannot miss a shot if you don’t take it in the first place.

To make this point clear, Gretzky’s quote has the same logic as “You mess up 100 percent of the dinners you don’t make”. Does this make sense?

There is only mess up or don’t mess up, but neither can happen if you don’t make dinner in the first place.


But Gretzky’s quote is undeniably inspirational, is it not? Don’t you just feel motivated to take all the shots you can? But why don’t you feel motivated to make all the dinners you can? Shouldn’t these two phrases have the same amount of impact on you?

The answer is yes they should have the same (logical) impact, but for some reason they don’t have the same emotional impact.

Weird, logic makes no sense to us sometimes.


Robert Li is a Junior at the University of Michigan studying Economics. Robert is currently a DJ for Campus Broadcasting Network 88.3FM (WCBN) and has held several marketing positions via his work as a Publicity Exec, Marketing Intern at Young Heavy Souls Records, and past experiences as Head of Marketing at XenonSupply. You can contact Robert through Linkedin.