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Matt Kinnaman

Seven (actually five) Powerful Words

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Why are clichés clichés?

It strikes me as worth thinking about. Clichés are clichés because they get repeated to the point of becoming clichés. But why do they get repeated enough to become clichés? Clichés get repeated enough times to become clichés because of the meaning contained within each cliché.

This really hit me a little more than two years ago when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and our entire world took on new unwanted shades of light and shadow, making my previous vantage points on life largely unrecognizable.

In the early days of this new reality, I heard myself saying, “It’s one day at a time,” and “We need to live in the moment,” and “Today is all we have,” and surprisingly, these clichés suddenly sounded very powerful to me, and totally true. Even deeply meaningful.

“Aha,” I thought, “That’s why they became clichés. Because they contain so much meaning and are actually worth repeating.” I quickly found new meaning in phrases I previously would quickly toss aside as overused and mostly meaningless. It makes me wonder, in a larger sense, if we might find deep value and meaning and power in simplicity when simplicity speaks loudly into our complexities and our unknowns. I believe the answer is yes.

With that, let me offer another cliché with transformative power. Yes, I admit, it’s simple. It is a combination of only five words, used to construct a seven-word sentence. And in that resides its power. Transformative power.

Five words:

  1. YOU
  2. NEVER
  3. KNOW
  4. IF
  5. TRY

And with those five words, one seven-word sentence:

You never know if you never try.

Now, that’s a cliché if there ever was one. But it’s true. It’s simple. It’s powerful. And it’s transformative when combined with the faith and courage to put it into action. Focus on your dream. Articulate your aspirations. Let your motivations be fueled by love. And then, act. Try. Do. Take the risk. Watch what happens.

Success is never guaranteed. But even when you encounter failure, your spirit will come alive when you exercise the courage and vision required to try. You never know if you never try.

A closing thought: Intimidation always threatens to stop us in our tracks. Yes, it does. Many times for me, it has. Somebody is always better, faster, stronger, smarter, richer, younger, better looking, more popular, or too far ahead of you for you to have a chance. All of that is true, but none of that is worth your time, distraction, energy, or doubt. Just remember this: You belong in the game, because you are here, you’re alive, you’re breathing, and you have an idea about something you’d like to see happen in your life.

You never know if you never try.

You’re not perfect. But don’t let that stop you.

Because who is perfect?

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