Shoot for the Moon

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You may be familiar with this quote:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!”

Or the more recent version, apparently attributed to Kanye West, which is weird because I heard this quote before he was, you know, born:

“Shoot for the stars, so if you fall you land on a cloud.”

I hate both of these quotes. They embody weakness. They come with a concession of failure already baked in. They are the literary equivalent of a participation trophy.

These quotes are quitters before they’ve even finished being quotes.

Dissect them. Essentially they say, “Try to do something great, but hey, if you fail, at least things are less sucky, right?” What the hell kind of motivation is that? What does it even mean? First of all, it’s not actually true that you’ll be among the stars or landing on clouds if you miss your goals. I don’t mean literally, either. I mean, let’s say you fancy yourself a decent athlete and you want to be in the Olympics. So, train for the Olympics. But hey, if you don’t make it… what? Life is awesome because you didn’t make the cut? Is it some kind of sweet deal to be standing on the outside, so close to your dream, but looking in as a failure? Is it truly oustanding to have busted your ass for four years just so you can be sitting on a gymnastics mat somewhere or next to a swimming pool, exhausted from all your effort, a loser?

Apply it elsewhere.

“Shoot for being a good person. Even if you miss, you’ll still be someone who tried to be a good person!”

“Shoot for showing up on time for work today. Even if you miss, you’ll still be late for work today!”

“Shoot for putting food in your mouth. Even if you miss, you’ll still be hungry as fuck!”

Look, I’m not saying I don’t get it. I do. It’s in the chasing of the dream you find your happiness. It’s in the pursuit of the passion, right? The quotes are meant to inspire you to understand that if you put in your best effort toward your beliefs about what make up a life well lived, you’ll be happier than if you never tried at all.

What I don’t like is that the deeper meaning gets lost when you include, “if you miss.” Why include it? Be a good person, period. Don’t miss. Be on time for work. Don’t miss. Get that food in your mouth, yo! Use good aim!

It’s time to abolish these pre-baked, weak-ass, motivational quotes. Stop re-tweeting this idiotic crap. Stop re-posting. Stop spewing the inane ramblings of others. Be original, be independent, be awesome. Shoot for the moon. Aim well.

And don’t miss.

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