1. "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among stars!" Les Brown
Let's get this popular piece of crap out of the way first, because you know what? Fuck your stars. If I wanted stars, I'd be aiming for stars. I aimed for the moon. And I'm certainly not about to let you bait and switch my life ambitions with some vague celestial analogy. How about something more realistic like "Shoot for the moon and prepare to be encompassed by crushing darkness when you miss." or "Shoot for the treetops and while you're up there, can you check the roof for your brother's Frisbee?" This quote has probably been poetically scrawled in at least half of the classrooms of your childhood and does nothing but encourage acceptance of your inevitable life failures.
2. "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Your Parents/Guidance Counselor
Oh really? Let's play out this recommendation in real life. Let's say the job I want is that of an eccentric billionaire and the job I have is lifeguarding at the local pool. Well I gotta tell you, it's going to be increasingly difficult to tread water in this three piece suit and top hat. See, the problem with this stupid quote is that it assumes the job you have is somewhere in the realm of the job you want. But assuming your goal in life is not to become manager at whatever depressing hourly wage job you're stuck at this summer, dressing for the job you actually want is more likely to get you fired than promoted. They're not coming to the strip club to see you dressed as a kindergarten teacher. Wait. Nevermind, bad example
3. "That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Your Coach/Friedrich Nietzsche/Kanye West
False. Talk to someone who's been hit by a car. Or had a massive stroke. Chances are that if something came close enough to killing you that people are sending you motivational greeting cards with kittens hanging from tree branches, you're probably not coming out of this stronger. The exception, of course, is if your injury dictates the implantation of something metal in your body. Like some awesome steel rods in your back for example. But that quote should really be "that which doesn't kill you will make getting through airport security really interesting." Other exceptions include rapper 50 Cent, who taught us all that getting shot nine times will result in flawlessly chiseled abs.
4. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." proverb
Did you know that back before people could bitterly announce their deep discontent in their Live Journals and Facebook statuses, they sat around thinking up proverbs to piss of the parents that totally didn't understand them? Okay, I just made that up. But it may as well be true because this quote is straight up emo. Most overused quotes and proverbs at least serve the purpose of being vaguely motivational, but this cliche is more of a gentle reassurance that if you think someone else's life is better then you're probably right. Think Brad is better at sports than you? He is. Think Stacy has a sweeter rack than yours? She totally does. If I'm complaining about my life and your only response is to assure me that I'm right, you're a horrible friend. What you should be doing is heading to your stepdad's garage. Because if the only thing standing between me and greener pastures is a fence than this, like most life problems, can be fixed with a chain saw.
5. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." James Dean
Right okay, but what if I'm not dead tomorrow. Now I've got to explain a $5,000 bar tab, the Shetland pony in my apartment, and the three male escorts in my trunk? If I'm dying today, my 21 year old bucket list is not nearly as poignant and touching as what this quote assumes it will be. I'm not gonna waste my last hours weeping with family members over what an outstanding individual I was or making some finals strides to end world hunger or sitting in a park pondering the exquisite beauty of life I'm going to spend money I don't have, steal things I don't need, andget thischange lanes without signaling. Plus I'd probably get that lower-back tattoo of a dolphin jumping over a sunset I've always wanted. And while all of these are perfectly acceptable behaviors for someone who is actually dying in the next 24 hours, it'll make one hell of a court date for someone who isn't.