Three Clichés That Get Me Focused

Aaron ElseBlog, Lead Better, Reflect Better


  • Living by clichés can give us a better outlook on life.
  • Be consistent in your words and actions.
  • Choose how you are going to respond to obstacles and challenges.
  • Stay positive and optimistic. It makes life easier.

Life clichés. We hate them. We apply them incorrectly. And we all say them.

A bird in the hand…

Play your cards right…

The grass is always greener…

I was bored to tears…

The straw that broke the camel’s back…

Every staff meeting has a silver lining…

Ok, I made that last one up. But we hear them every single day. We say them, but do we take them to heart? Do we stop and try to understand what they mean? Or do we just throw them out without considering the impact? The words we tell ourselves can make a difference in our outlook on everyday life.

My mom was the best at throwing clichés at me. When I was younger, I had enough of her clichés, and I told her so. As you can imagine, my mom stopped and looked at me and said, “My dear, the secret to life is found in the clichés.”

At the time I didn’t get what this meant. It took me years to figure that out, but now I live my life by clichés and quotes to guide me daily. In fact, I think of three every day to help guide my decision-making.

But it is the words we tell ourselves that can make all the difference in our outlook on our life. The words we use when the latest challenge lands in front of us. Click To Tweet

Cliché 1: Actions Speak Louder than Words

When you are young and naive, you believe the hype. You believe the talk. As you get older, you stop believing the words and wait to see the action.  Anyone can say anything, but you realize few will back it up. As a principal, I know my words will be hollow if I don’t follow through. We have to be consistent in our words and actions. Without being consistent, our words will fall silent.

Cliché 2: Play Your Cards Right

Every day we are presented with different cards. Some days we have big meetings with huge outcomes that hang in the balance. Others are open and stress-free. Sometimes a different card is handed to us that can completely change the direction of our life. Each day is filled with obstacles, challenges, joy, laughter, tears, pain, wins, and losses. But the key is how we respond to each of them. Do we take it in stride and positivity, or do we take each one as if it could break us? The response can help guide the outcomes.

Cliché 3: View the Glass as Half-Full

Similar to playing your cards right, we have to look at each person and situation in the best way. We have to give the benefit of the doubt, assume the positive, hope for the best. That doesn’t mean you don’t plan for the worst possible outcome, but instead, we are hopeful for the best. Don’t let negativity ensnare us. Rather, take each challenge with optimism and undeniable positivity.  When you look at life as positive, no matter the cards you’ve been dealt or the challenges that lay before you, life has a way of being a little easier.

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Words We Tell Ourselves Can Make the Difference

Since March of 2020, one challenge after another has filled our lives. A raging pandemic, wildfires, job loss, political division, and even murder hornets!

But it is the words we tell ourselves that can make all the difference in our outlook on our life. The words we use when the latest challenge lands in front of us.

I fall back on these overspoken cliches. I listen to what they mean and apply it to my life. It is amazing how it can impact you. It might even cause others to think that the grass is a little greener on your side.

About Aaron Else

Aaron Else is an enthusiastic optimist entering his 22nd year in education. During his time in education, he has taught 1st, 2nd, and 5th grades. He has worked in administration for the past 14 years with the last 8 as principal at Hosp Elementary in Frisco ISD. Aaron is married to Heather, and they have five kids combined and two dogs. He loves to read, work out, and watch sports.