I recently saw something on an office wall that was once as common in corporate America as tax fraud. It was a motivational poster. This one read, “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability,” Walter Scott.
This struck me as odd, not just because I’d never heard of Walter Scott (he was a Scottish novelist who died Sept. 21, 1832, which means he was completely screwed out of residuals on the poster), but because in today’s non-1830s world, people probably have that figured out.
Motivational posters have always had two major problems: 1) Who are they for? If a person is so unmotivated at work their passive-aggressive boss resorts to posting a message telling them how unmotivated they are, they’re also too unmotivated to read it. And 2) quotes are too vague for even the meagerly motivated employee to bother figuring out.
“Stop texting and driving or I will hit you with a brick.” Now that’s a quote that gets things done.
In my ongoing attempt to make the world a better place, here is the hard-earned wisdom of Jason Offutt in ready-for-motivational-poster form. Feel free to use these quotes to foster better living in your home or office:
• Don’t be stupid.
• Optimism leads to disappointment.
• Make your own food. Don’t let the Kraft company tell you what macaroni and cheese is supposed to taste like.
• Crying is for those not emotionally mature enough to express themselves through destroying inanimate objects.
• Don’t talk about “Fortnite” to anyone with a personal life.
• Fear is the greatest obstacle in life. Fear nothing – except clowns. Be deathly afraid of clowns.
• Talk to someone’s face. It’s more effective than talking to any other part of their body.
• Never trust a person who says “trust me” unless that person is Han Solo in “Return of the Jedi.”
• Failure is lack of trying. Trying is lack of doing. Doing is lack of having done. Doning isn’t a word.
• Life is a delicate balance of doing what’s expected of you and not caring.
• Trust the government with your money with the same amount of faith you have in them to properly fix a road.
• You can’t sit back and expect things to fall into your lap. Life is not like an adult dance club, except it’s just as expensive.
• Trying to change your behavior means people have told you you’re doing something wrong. What do they know?
• You can never own a cat; they own you. The same goes for mortgages and bar tabs.
• Life is not a race. A race is a race. Life is what you do that’s not a race because racing is pointless.
• Never make a promise to someone you may see again.
• Nothing is impossible except non-technology-assisted human flight, making vegan food appealing and the Level Four elevators on Donkey Kong.
• Treat people with the respect they deserve, which may be less than you give to a pet that’s bitten you. I’m sure the pet had a reason.
• Creativity is when you do something that’s never been tried before because all the people before you were idiots.
• People who criticize the food you eat, the drink you enjoy, the jokes you tell and the way you live your life are called siblings. Treat them with no less verbal abuse.
• Don’t be stupid.
It bears repeating.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.