Charmd Baker
Aug 26 · 5 min read

Just because some advice is simple and cliche doesn’t mean it’s not effective and won’t work.

Photo by Sam Mgrdichian on Unsplash

When things don’t go right in your world, how do you normally handle it? Years ago, I used to slip into depression when things didn’t go according to the plan I had previously mapped out for my life. Nowadays, I handle my failures and lack of success a little bit better.

I try to stay positive by using daily affirmations and think about what I’ve accomplished, not about my failures and shortcomings. This enables me to keep it pushing and not give up. Among the many life lessons that I’ve learned, I now live by 3 popular but very cliche motivational sayings.

Familiar Sayings

You’re probably already familiar with the 3 sayings I’ll be sharing in just a moment. One or more of these expressions may have even crossed your mind in the past, a time when you felt like nothing in life ever seems to work out. Let’s face it, we’ve all felt this way at one time or another. For me, this feeling used to occur right after something in my life that I was looking forward to, didn’t pan out. Whatever the failed activity, event, or opportunity was, it left me feeling deflated.

If you understand the feeling I’m talking about, you know it’s a mixture of sadness and disappointment, and of course, it’s probably not the first time you’ve been let down. That is why we end up with a feeling that things NEVER seem to work out as planned (even though in reality, that’s not completely true).

Now that I know how to stop bullying myself about mistakes and my shortcomings, I rely on the following expressions to help me stay focused and motivated so I can complete my task the next time I try.

  • “The best made plans of mice and men”
  • “If at first does not succeed try try again”
  • “Rome wasn’t built in a day”

If you’re anything like me, you’re no stranger to these sayings, but since we’re all only human, we sometimes need reminders. So let’s briefly consider each of these expressions. Hopefully, you can see how they can help motivate you when you need it most.

Plans Fall Through

“Best made plans of mice and men” is one of those old sayings that carry a lot of wisdom, once you know what it actually means. Basically, the expression is meant to convey how even the best of plans can fall through. You could expect to hear it whenever someone had a specific schedule, agenda or “plan” in mind, yet for one reason or another, that plan didn’t work out.

The failure, or lack of success of this plan might not even be through any fault of your own. Since the expression refers to the plan as being “the BEST made plans,” you can bet that a great deal of effort and forethought went into constructing the plan. Regardless, just as the saying emphasizes, things still don’t always work out ALL the time, no matter how much you do your best to succeed.

It’s true, that preparation is always a good way to help prevent and avoid obstacles that may get in the way of our best made plans. But at the end of the day, never forget, that even the best made plans of mice and men…

Things Take Time

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” is an expression that could be applied to just about anything you try to accomplish in life. If you’re trying to learn something new, or form a good habit, you have to allow yourself time for the habit to develop.

Clearly, not only was Rome NOT built in a day, but according to the calculations of some researchers it took “approximately 1,009,491 days to build Rome. This is based on the traditional founding of the city (21 April 753 BCE)…” Of course, others speculate that we can’t say how long it took to build Rome, because it is still being built today!

However long it took to build Rome, the fact still remains; It takes time for things to come together properly, if you really want them to succeed. That means sometimes you may have to cut yourself some slack. Instead of being down on yourself for all the time you put into a project, give credit where credit is due. Learn to pat yourself on the back for your staying power, and the fact that you haven’t given up.

Don’t Stop Trying

“If at first does not succeed try try again” has always been a favorite saying of mine, even as a kid. It taught me not to allow myself to get down, but instead, to keep going. Most children are taught the expression a at an early age, but as we get older, apparently we seem to forget it.

When things don’t go right the first time you try,it’s foolish to give up and quit. Giving up prematurely will only cause you to start cheating yourself out of countless missed opportunities in life. I know, because I missed out on enough of them in my own lifetime. This is a lesson that we constantly need to be reminded of, and some of us more than others.

Now that I’m older and I’ve lived a lot more life, I understand things better. I try hard to apply the “try try again” expression to all my writing-related goals and activities. But I also use this same good advice when it comes to dealing with other life challenges that I periodically have to face. This is definitely among those cliché expressions that I grew up hearing and it always made a lot of sense to me.

Patience and perseverance will win out every single time. So when things don’t go right the first time, I know exactly what to do. If I fail once or twice, or even three or four times, it doesn’t matter. The main thing to remember is “if at first does not succeed…” (You know the rest!)


Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the simplicity of these cliche expressions. I encourage you to do like I do. Take a few minutes to meditate on the wisdom of this very basic advice.

  • Remember, no matter how hard you try to cover every base, stuff happens in life. Planning and preparation is good, but it can’t guarantee that things will always work out.
  • If you want to succeed at something, be prepared to put in the time that may be required, even if it takes longer than anticipated.
  • Recognize that some of your projects, activities and goals might require you to make more than one attempt before you succeed or complete your task.

Daily Charm

A seasoned freelance writer and self-published author provides candid, entertaining, and informative stories about personal life experiences before, during, and after becoming an online writer.

Charmd Baker

Written by

Hello — I’m an L.A. based writer and self-published author [novels and ebooks]. I love it here! The more I read, the more I write! Follow me and do the same.

Daily Charm

A seasoned freelance writer and self-published author provides candid, entertaining, and informative stories about personal life experiences before, during, and after becoming an online writer.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade