Motivational cliches
April 12, 2005 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Motivational cliches please! I have a client that ends his emails with, "so you're going to have to knuckle down," or, "we need all hands on deck," which of course I ironically find utterly de-motivating. Can you think of others?
posted by forallmankind to Writing & Language (46 answers total)
Well, there's the old "Give a hundred and ten percent".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:55 PM on April 12, 2005

Noone said it was going to be easy!

There's no I in team!
posted by Aknaton at 5:00 PM on April 12, 2005

Work smarter not harder.
There is no I in team. [However there is a "me"]
Your number one customer is your co-workers. [An ex-boss used this one everyday]
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 5:04 PM on April 12, 2005

Chop chop!
posted by orange swan at 5:19 PM on April 12, 2005

Some motivational lines I've received over the past few years that failed to motivate me:

* I know it's not a very interesting role, but remember, you can always think outside the nine dots!

* Please try to make it to work on time. A tightly run ship makes the least amount of waves!

* You need to raise your energy level. You can make a difference!

* Last weeks were very disappointing. Perhaps it's time to revitalize and re-energise. Game on!

* You unexplained absences are beginning to worry the team. Remember, there's no "I" in team. Though there is a "me".

* What happened in that meeting? Screaming "fuck you all" is not being customer focused.

* Where the hell are you? Were you drunk yesterday?

* Get your shit together or I'll have to cut off your balls.

* I've never seen a more gross failure of competence than you efforts over the past two weeks. You're fired.
posted by   at 5:32 PM on April 12, 2005

Wow, nbsp. Have you been adding these to a list as you've gone along?
posted by grouse at 5:34 PM on April 12, 2005

If you act enthusiastic, you'll be enthusiastic.

posted by alan at 5:38 PM on April 12, 2005

Step up to the plate!

Think outside the box!

What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve!

I seriously had to use a lot of these many years ago in an internal communications/marketing job at an insurance company founded by a Depression-era motivational speaker/get-rich guru (yes, really)... I'll try to dig out some old files and post some particularly hilarious ones. They all usually centered around bad sports cliches -- time to knock one out of the park! Sink a three-pointer! Go for the gold! First and 10, do it again!
posted by scody at 5:40 PM on April 12, 2005

Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?
posted by O9scar at 6:10 PM on April 12, 2005

"As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

"Come-to-Jesus meeting."

"Eating our own dog food."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:10 PM on April 12, 2005

"Customer perception is reality!"

Can I list the book Who Moved My Cheese? as a motivational cliche?
posted by agropyron at 6:11 PM on April 12, 2005

I find the most inspiration from second one down (also seen hanging in Karl Rove's office).
posted by glibhamdreck at 6:19 PM on April 12, 2005

If you're not fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired... with enthusiasm.
posted by Clay201 at 6:21 PM on April 12, 2005

Wow, nbsp. Have you been adding these to a list as you've gone along?

Who needs a list when you've got your current inbox?

Also, a slightly better line from kirkaracha would of been:

Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives... in your back!
posted by   at 6:28 PM on April 12, 2005

If it's not worth doing, it's not worth doing well.
posted by Rumple at 6:29 PM on April 12, 2005

I've always loved Demotivators. Make sure to look through all the categories listed under "Individual Designs" on the left.
posted by tanminivan at 6:49 PM on April 12, 2005

Let's give it the old freshman try!
posted by quadog at 7:00 PM on April 12, 2005

Nbsp, kirkaracha was quoting from Glengarry Glen Ross. And, in that spirit:

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.

(I work in a public library--most of the motivational cliches I've heard come from movies.)
posted by box at 7:05 PM on April 12, 2005

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

All of us are smarter than any one of us.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Seriously, I think you could go back and watch some old Matt Foley skits from SNL. Then, you can end your e-mails with "...or you'll be living in a van down by the river!"
posted by Miko at 7:11 PM on April 12, 2005

My favourite Dan Quayle quote of all time: "We must succeed or we run the risk of failure".
posted by biscotti at 7:43 PM on April 12, 2005

"Do or do not. There is no try." -Yoda
posted by Doohickie at 7:55 PM on April 12, 2005

There's gotta be some to mine in the movie Office Space. Incredibly, I can't find the script online, aside from a PDF of an early draft.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:02 PM on April 12, 2005

when life hands you lemons, stick 'em in your bra. Can't hurt, might help.
posted by carmen at 8:22 PM on April 12, 2005

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
posted by sanko at 8:42 PM on April 12, 2005

I worked at this dot-com (incredibly fun company, albeit short-lived) where the founder often exhorted us (and others) to "get on the bus."

My mom still recoils at the memory of a high-school teacher who admonished them, "You'll have to buckle down!" I had a high-school teacher who informed us that "The lockers in this school are nothing but reciprocals for drugs," and I'm sure he was a veritable, um, font of de-motivational sayings, too, but I'm still totally confused by the locker thing. I always had a touch of math anxiety.

I have to admit, though, my favorite examples of such sayings come from the Dilbert newsletter, ("For this to work, you really have to be out there humping the bushes." "We want this to be effective with a capital A!" "The key to our success will be your execution.") I couldn't possibly care less whether they're "real." I'm also enjoying the Eggcorn database.
posted by caitlinb at 8:51 PM on April 12, 2005

"Raise your game."

"Don't let any shit out the door."

"Think like an owner" is a good one, though fraught with obvious peril for those who think past the surface of it.

Alternatively, I like:
"There is no 'I' in 'T-E-A-M', but there is 'M' and 'E.'"

And also: "Due to budgetary constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily turned off."
posted by scarabic at 9:04 PM on April 12, 2005

Hang in there.
Raise the bar.
Hunker down and...
Get our ducks in a row.
Step up to the plate [and any other baseball analogies].

And the things an old boss of mine actually said:
On doing a good job: "Wow Mike, you just justified your existence."
On resignation: "You did a good job, thanks. I mean, it's not like someone else couldn't have done it, but..."
posted by knave at 9:27 PM on April 12, 2005

When I get the "no I in team" line, I like to remind the person saying it that there is no "u" either.
posted by GreenTentacle at 9:35 PM on April 12, 2005

Don't put off till tomorrow what can be done day after tomorrow. ;)
posted by madman at 10:09 PM on April 12, 2005

Be proactive!

posted by deborah at 11:06 PM on April 12, 2005

There's no "my kid has cancer" in team.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:16 PM on April 12, 2005

Not a motivational cliche (which would have a little thingy over the 'e' if I was on my other computer), more of a response to them:

"There's no 'I' in 'team', but there's a 'U' in 'f*ckwit'"
posted by Pinback at 3:16 AM on April 13, 2005

If you don't know where you are going, any path will get you there.
posted by gazoo at 3:31 AM on April 13, 2005

There's no 'I' in 'team', but there is 'eat' and 'me.'

You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til you understand who's in ruttin' command here.
posted by Snyder at 4:13 AM on April 13, 2005

Ooooo...I hate these f*(#ing cliches. I worked at Sprint a few years ago and just couldn't play the game very well. Conversations consisted mostly of stringing stupid ass cliches together. Of course, I'm sure those that could tolerate the idiocy are still there, well on second thought, no one is there practically so...never mind...

Think outside the box just makes my hair stand on end.
posted by damnitkage at 4:27 AM on April 13, 2005

Let's get our shit in one sock.
Let's get/stay focused.
It's not about (that thing}, it's about {this thing}. Extra points for gerunds. I hate that last construct most of all.
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:46 AM on April 13, 2005

The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is that little extra.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:14 AM on April 13, 2005

The best response to There's no I in team! that I've heard is, "But there is in game-winning RBI."
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:15 AM on April 13, 2005

Also, my version of an oldy: "When life hands you lemonade, making lemons is an impossibility."
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:20 AM on April 13, 2005

I also hate all the subsequent versions of "It's the economy, stupid." Most of them leave out the comma. Many of them address someone besides the speaker, when the whole point was to say it to yourself (or to yourself as a representative of your organization). The phrase is a short reminder of humility and simplicity when done correctly, merely an insult when done wrongly.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:23 AM on April 13, 2005

Let's ratch it up a notch! Oh god, that brings back horrible memories from that job. Please, please never make me go back there. Ever.
posted by fionab at 9:56 AM on April 13, 2005

There's no I in team...But...there's an I in Pie, And there's an I in Meat Pie, anagram of Meat is Team...And...such...
posted by jazon at 10:53 AM on April 13, 2005

"You have to get all your stakes in the ground"

or, more bafflingly

"You have to get all your ducks in a row"

Gah! The contents of this thread are making me think of the "Human Potential Project": four days of living, breathing cliche's which terminally demotivated me. The utterly depressing thing was the number of people - all of them management - who enthusiastically bought into it and remain determined to keep living it.
posted by arc at 11:46 AM on April 13, 2005

"When life gives you poop, make poop-juice." -Bug-eyed Earl
posted by squidlarkin at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2005

Take it to the next level.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:36 PM on April 13, 2005

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:38 PM on April 13, 2005

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