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25 clichés that are actually true and how they could change your life.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the things we’ve learned, over and over again.

25 clichés that are actually true and how they could change your life.

Socrates, considered to be one of the founders of Western philosophy, was once called the wisest man on Earth by the Oracle of Delphi.

When Socrates heard that the oracle made that comment, he believed the statement was wrong. Socrates said, "I know one thing: that I know nothing."

How can the smartest man on Earth know nothing?

I heard this paradoxical wisdom for the first time from a teacher when I was 14 or 15. It made such an impact on me that I used Socrates’ quote as my learning strategy from then on.


"I know nothing" means, to me, that you might be an educated person, but still you can learn from everything and everyone.

One thing I like better than learning from my own mistakes is to learn from other people’s mistakes. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have great mentors, teachers, family, and friends who have taught me about life. Of course, I learn from my own life too. But learning from others is often faster and deeper.

Plus, while we might learn things quickly, we often forget those things at the same rate. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the things we’ve learned, over and over again.

So here’s my list of 25 things about life that other people have taught me.

These are things that have changed my life completely and that I wish I’d known about 10 years ago.

1. Struggle is good.

Never say, "I can’t take it anymore." Say, "Bring it on!"

2. Don’t complain.

Complaining is the biggest waste of time there is. Either do something about it, and if you can’t, shut up.

3. Spend time with the people you love.

That’s your family and best friends. If you don’t have a family, create one (in whatever way that means to you). Most people in life are only visitors. Family is for life.

Photo via iStock.

4. Don’t start a relationship if you’re not in love.

I’ve done this more than once. You kind of like someone and think, "We might as well give it a shot." Not a good idea. You’re either in love, or you are not. Don’t fool yourself. It’s not fair to you and the other person.

5. Exercise daily.

I didn’t get this until recently. A healthy body is where you have to start everything in life. If you can’t build a healthy and strong body, what CAN you build in life?

6. Keep a journal.

No, keeping a journal is not for children. It helps you to become a better thinker and writer. "I don’t want to be a writer," you might think. Well, how many emails and texts do you send a day? Everybody is a writer.

7. Be grateful.

Say "thank you" to everyone and everything. "Thank you for this beautiful day." "Thank you for your email." "Thank you for being there for me."

8. Don’t care about what people think.

We all die in the end; do you really think it matters what people think of you?

9. Take more risks.

Don’t be such a wimp.

Photo via iStock.

10. Pick an industry, not a job.

If you want to become good at something, you need to spend years and years doing that. You can’t do that if you hop from industry to industry. Pick an industry you love and start at the bottom. You will find the perfect role for you eventually.

11. Lead the way.

When you find yourself in a situation where everyone looks at each other, it’s time for you to lead. You‘re a leader when you decide to become one. There’s no initiation or a title. Just a decision.

12. Money isn't important.

It really isn’t. But you have to train yourself not to care about money. Don’t become too dependent on the stuff you own — otherwise, the stuff will own you.

13. Be nice.

I don’t mean you should be a pushover. You can be someone that doesn’t take shit and be nice about it. Just don’t insult people, think you’re better than them, or act like an idiot.

14. Learn every day.

You’ve got to train your brain to stay alert. You don’t have to read a book a day to learn every day. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the people around you — be open to what they can teach you.

Photo via iStock.

15. Rest before you are tired.

Even if you love your job and every day seems like a holiday, you need to take time to rest. You’re a human and not an android; never forget that.

16. Don't judge.

Just because people make different choices than you, they are not stupid. Also, you don’t know everything about people, so don’t judge them — help them.

17. Think about others.

Just be mindful, that’s all. We all have families, bills to pay, and our own issues. Don’t always make everything about yourself.

18. Give without expecting something in return.

Don’t keep score. You will become a bitter person if you do that. Give solely for the joy of giving. If you get something in return, great, and if you don’t, great.

19. There's no end game.

We, as a species, just are. Don’t try to figure it all out. Enjoy your journey.

20. Enjoy small things.

I like clichés because they are (usually) true. Especially this one. You know why? Everyone says they know it, but no one lives up to it. They just chase big things.

Photo via iStock.

21. Don't take yourself so seriously.

Yeah, yeah, you’re an individual, and people have to take you seriously. I get it. But at the end of the day, we’re all a bunch of ants trying to chase the same things. Lighten up.

22. Don't blame people.

What’s the point? Do you want to punish them? Also don’t blame yourself — you’re only human.

23. Create something.

Not to leave a legacy (you won’t be here to see it anyway), but to be of use. Make music, write a book, build a table, anything. You’ll feel good about yourself, plus you give something back to people to use or enjoy.

24. Never look back for too long.

Reflecting on the past is only good for one thing: learning.

25. Take action.

Don’t just sit there; do something. Without action, there is no outcome.

Photo via iStock.

You might know a lot. But like Socrates, you and I also know nothing at all. So we have to keep learning.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."