Here are 23 of the best inspirational quote fails.





When times get tough, I tend to turn into a perky cheerleader version of myself.

When I’m having a bad day, I quote Winston Churchill’s “Never, never, never give up” to myself like a mantra and it really does help.

But then there are times that I start flinging around inspirational quotes that can only be described as…questionable, unhelpful, meaningless and annoying.

Exhibit A: During my dad’s most recent hospital visit, I decided to help inspire him to work through the pain of rehab post hip operation. I actually said to him, “Pain is your friend, dad.” And his response? “Mind your own business.” Yes, he actually said that.

Exhibit B: When my sister was recently facing a huge decision about her future, I thought it would be helpful to say, “Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like crazy.” Naturally, her response was along the lines of, “Bite what? Chew? What the hell are you talking about? Just tell me what to do!”

Exhibit C: When my son had a dance concert at school that he didn’t want to participate in because he was too embarrassed, my response was: “Philip, dance like no-one’s watching and live like there’s no tomorrow!” To which he said: “But Mum, everyone is watching and there is a tomorrow. I’m sorry I even told you.”

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Disney. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words. 

But look, not all inspirational quotes fail so spectacularly. Some really are quite inspirational. But there are a few things to keep in mind when using them. Be aware of the timing, don’t say them too enthusiastically and strike these ones off your list, because they are of no help at all.


1. “Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.”

Um, yes they do. Names do hurt.

2. “Tomorrow is another day.”

Yes, but how does that help me today?

3. “Don’t think too much.”

Oh, okay then. Let me just turn my brain off. No worries.

4. “If it won’t work, it won’t work.”

I’m sorry, did you think that was actually helpful?

5. “Leap and the net will appear.”

Yes, and so will the laws of physics.

6. “Just be yourself.”

Sure, yep, as soon as I figure out who that is.

7. “Live in the moment.”

So I don’t have to pack the school bags for tomorrow then?

8. “You can have whatever you want, as long as you want it enough.”

I want to win Lotto, I want to win Lotto, I really, really want to win Lotto.

9. “When life sends you lemons, make lemonade.”

This only works with lemons.

10. “Dream big.”

Okay then. Didn’t realise life was that easy, but thanks.

11. “Lower your expectations and you’ll never be disappointed.”

See previous.


12. “It’s the things you don’t do that you’ll regret.”

This clearly does not apply to everything.

13. “Don’t chase happiness. Let it come to you.”

I’ll just be sitting in this chair then, doing nothing, and waiting.

14. “Practice makes perfect.”

As long as someone shows you how to, say, play the trombone, in the first place.

15. “The worst isn’t so bad when it finally happens.”

Yes it is. Yes…it…is.

16. “Fear is only ever in your mind.”

And your head, and the pit of your stomach, and in your fluttering chest.

17. “Never stop pushing yourself until you hear something snap or tear inside of you.”

This is a real inspirational quote. No sarcastic comment necessary.

18. “Listen to your heart.”

Keep an ear out for any abnormal, stress-induced arrhythmia.

19. “Life is like a rollercoaster.”

Oh, so life is a long line in the hot sun with children complaining that they’re tired and hungry. Got it.

20. “Never apologise for who you are.”

That is, unless you’re a bit of a rude so-and-so.

21. “If you give up on your dreams, you may free up some time to get some actual real things done.”


No aspirations at all. Got it.

22. “Don’t be afraid to be different.”

Just not too different, or nobody will talk to you.

23. “Self-pity means at least one person is listening to your problems.”

And chocolate should probably be involved. Actually make that definitely. Chocolate should definitely be involved.

At the end of the day, most “inspirational” quotes will only get you so far when you are having a seriously bad day. I was reminded of this recently after watching the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day movie trailer – and a quote from Alexander himself stuck out: “I think that you’ve just got to have the bad days so you can love the good days even more”. Wise words from a kid (albeit a fictional one) – and they are words I’ll try and remember next time a bad day strikes.

What are the worst inspirational quotes or advice that you’ve ever heard?

To celebrate the release of Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, we have 20 prize packs, which includes 4 free movie tickets, up for grabs. To be in the running, all you have to do is upload a pic depicting a bad day on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #lessgoodday

We can’t wait to see your pic so upload them today for your chance to win a prize pack valued at $139.70.

For the competition T&Cs, click here.




The new Disney film, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, follows 11-year-old Alexander (Australia’s Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—and soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Coming to Australian Cinemas December 4.