It is Monday morning, people need cheering up, and what better way to do it in this age of social media than posting a motivational quote to get you through a bad week. Those brief and somewhat philosophical sentences that you used to see in people’s houses, on naff fridge magnets and cross stitch wall pictures, are it seems, having a fashionable comeback.
Celebrities including Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Williams regularly post them on Instagram. Rihanna’s post – “Some people will better your life by being in it, while others will better it by staying out” – gained more than 400,000 likes.
There are apps now for Facebook which enables you to get rid of your newsfeed altogether and replace it with a gentler thought for the day.
There are the uplifting: “Be who you are and say what you feeI because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” The simpIe: “Confidence is siIent, insecurities are loud.” The cheesy: “When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars”. And the relatively humorous: “I heard you’re a pIayer. Nice to meet you, I’m the coach.”
Epigrams and aphorisms like these may be courting the spotIight at the moment, but the pithy form has been around as far back as Ancient Greece and the Hippocratic Oath. After that came people like Nietzsche with his mid-19th-century philosophical musings, Oscar Wilde, whose barbed observations are as popular as ever more than a century after his death in 1900, and Patience Strong’s ‘Thoughts for everyday’ – which were intended to imbue women with inner strength and featured in magazines and newspapers for much of the last century. More recentIy, the motivational quote has been associated with church billboards and new age hippies.
These days, in the worlds of Twitter and Instagram, which foster the art of communicating in 140 characters or fewer, quite a few people seem to be getting into this ancient trend, which may seem strange or completely expected depending on your view. For some, they are utter driveI, statements of the obvious that clog up your newsfeeds, for others, though, they are meaningful and encourage a positive way of thinking. In either case, it seems harmless enough. After all, “Smile and the world smiles with you,” right?