Brave Birds Fly Through Fog

I like bumper sticker-type phrases, as my regular readers already know. But they can mislead me if I don’t stop and think it through. I can be guilty of reading and concluding too quickly.

Take this Blog title as an example. It can inspire me not to resign myself to the obstacles before me. I am encouraged to persevere against all odds, disregard the risk, and move onward and upward.

Change a couple of words and I’m not so sure.

Brave car-drivers proceed through fog. It sounds like a foolhardy thing to do. 

Flip this bird coin over, and you’ll read the bumper sticker saying, “It is better to switch than fight.”

Another expression is not to count your chickens before they hatch. It’s a cautionary tale, for sure. But too conservative for me without further thought. Life has its risks.  Life doesn’t come with guarantees unless it is proverbial death and taxes.

“Good enough is good enough” has often helped me stop being a perfectionist. At this point in my life, the expression has dramatically reduced my stress and increased my joy.

“How’s that working for you?” is my friend’s expression when he asked me when I was in a tough time. My answer was, “It isn’t!” He didn’t need to say anything further. I knew if I wanted an outcome different from the one I was having, I needed to change my thinking and my behaviour. Years later, I still use my friend’s expression to help me evaluate my current approach to problem-solving. It has significantly reduced my time-wasting whining.

“How about those Oilers?” is one of the expressions that I share with others. I insert it into conversations that seem to be going in circles. It also works well when the group is stuck or likely slipping into strong emotional topics. The conversation has stopped, and simultaneous monologues have taken over. Everybody laughs, and we switch to sports, or everybody stops talking for a few moments of quiet reflection.

Finally, when I get frustrated over things happening “to” me I Stop and try to put things in perspective. My favourite self-talk about an issue is “It’s a first-world problem.” Nine out of 10 times, it usually is.

Please give this a bit of a think. What are some expressions you use that you find helpful? Are there any that others use that you find not helpful? And just to stir the pot, what do you think of “Everything happens for a reason.”

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “Brave Birds Fly Through Fog

  1. Patti Dolman says:

    “It’s better to switch than fight” resonates with me because I recently applied it to my “membership” in a WhatsApp chat . Occasionally I would add my opinion but I soon realized that all the comments were becoming filled with more and more negativity. I was looking for a way out but I didn’t want it to be obvious “ Patti just left the party without even saying goodbye “, so I hung in. Then, someone started a very strongly worded personal rebuke to another member and my decision became so easy. With a simple click, “ Patti left the group.” It was so liberating. In future I will be very careful about accepting an invitation to a group chat – the only one I’m on now is gardening as I’m one of 30 fellow gardeners in a community setting.
    Our vegetables are not very demanding, just a little water each day.

      • Gail says:

        I pay attention to bumper sticker-type phrases. They reveal a lot about the person, whether you agree with them or not. They’re interesting. Many (not all) of the phrases I’ve seen resonate because they strike a chord with my beliefs. They say a lot about people who are not afraid to express themselves. Some of the phrases are funny, provocative, religious, inspirational, political and informative. Generally speaking, they evoke a positive feeling. I ignore the negative ones. That’s why I pay attention to bumper stickers and one-liners, wherever I find them. They bring our awareness to whatever speaks to us.

        The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) had a great slogan for drivers: “Take the car they said. It’ll be faster they said. Next time take the TTC.” There’s another one that catches my attention. It’s a large sign on the Allen Expressway going south (Toronto). I can’t remember the exact wording but it’s something like “If you can read this sign, you’re too close.” I like that one because I take issue with tailgaters. They annoy me to no end. So, hooray to TTC for posting a large sign as a reminder to hazardous drivers.

        My co-worker has a bumper sticker on the back of her car that says, in so many words, her dislike of our PM. It’s not vulgar. It’s her message and I don’t pass judgement.

        I can’t choose between fight or switch because it all depends on the context. What are we really talking about when we say “It is better to switch than fight”? Some things “are” worth fighting over. Like human rights and freedom of expression. As the old saying goes “We have to “pick our battles.” I lean towards that one. Some things in life are worth fighting over. On the other hand, some things are not worth fighting over and are best to leave alone.

        I did a quick google search to see if there were examples of “It is better to fight than switch” and found ads for Tareyton smokers in the 1960s promoting this phrase. Maybe this is where you found the phrase. The slogan appeared in magazines, newspapers and television advertisements for a few decades. It was a catchy phrase and I guess it worked because the ad ran right into the ‘80s if I’m not mistaken.

        The phrase “with all due respect” bothers me. I hear it from time to time and it sounds condescending.

        The phrase “But I”m only human” kind of irritates me. I understand the meaning. We, as humans make mistakes and cannot be blamed for everything we do. But the way I see it is – we are both human and a soul, something so much greater than simply being a human.

        “Everything happens for a reason.” Of all the phrases out there, I’d say this one resonates loudest, even though I can’t really explain it. I believe that everything that is happening to us right now has a purpose, even if we aren’t fully aware (awakened) to what that purpose may be. It is up to us to find our purpose in life.

        There’s a quote along the line “Sometimes you get what you want. Sometimes you get what you need and sometimes you just get what you get. And sometimes what you get becomes far greater than anything you ever wanted.” Some people may call this a ‘master plan.”

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