THE BLOG

At the End of the Day Stay Away from Cliche

08/23/2010 09:53 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.
--Salvador Dali

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, my dad deadpanned, after a dynamite performance of Hamlet, that while Shakespeare was for sure an awesome dude, the Bard went overboard, cliche-wise. Sensing that the Shakespeare/Hamlet line itself might be a cliché, my gut told me that, going forward, I should avoid them like the plague.

But like Michael Corleone -- that unreal Dawg in The Godfather -- just when I thought I was out, those wormy clichés kept pulling me back in. One come-to-Jesus confab with myself later, I took my best shot at kicking the habit cold turkey.

I literally gave 110 percent 24/7 -- from time to time, even more. Anyways, it goes without saying that clichés are like catnip, or crack, and I am like a hobo on a ham sandwich, and so time and time again I still drink the Kool-Aid.

Take it from me, you can't beat clichés at their own game. Having said that, I offer 10 tips for fighting the good fight. Are you ready for this?

1. Walk back your expectations: This is no picnic, nor is it a piece of cake -- and no way is it the icing on the cake. Speaking of cake (which, by the by, you can't have and eat too), someone left it out in the rain. And since it took so long to bake it, it's only half-baked. But that's the way the cookie crumbles, and you must let it be and let the (chocolate) chips fall where they may.

2. Truth be told, in terms of win-win there's no smoking gun. First order of business: Put one foot in front of the other, one baby step at a time, one day at a time.

3. On the one hand, a game changer and/or a paradigm shift could be in the Hallmark cards. On the other hand, in terms of staying the course, it couldn't hurt to push the envelope a tad.

4. If you find yourself flip-flopping down a slippery slope, remember: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. In any case, you'll hit bottom -- or reach a tipping point -- sooner rather than later. At the end of the day you're either in or out of the loop. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

5. Don't think too much. Quite frankly, just do it. Hit the ground running, keep your eye on the ball -- or both eyes on the prize -- and hit it out of the park. But don't hit the wall. Are we on the same page? If not, what part of "just do it" don't you understand?

6. See the big picture front and center, but know the devil is in the details. Every now and then, tweak a hackneyed phrase. Deep six "think outside the box." "Think inside the box" can be just the ticket.

7. If you can't cut the mustard, no worries. God works in mysterious ways and everything happens for a reason. Go figure.

8. It takes a village to tango, so put more boots on the ground. Friend your friends, tweet your tweet-ees and link to your linked-ins for best practices. Liaise and synergize with them to grow your awareness. After all, five hundred heads are better than one.

9. It's never too late to learn. Never say "words will never harm me," "never say die" or, most importantly, "never say never." There, I've said it again.

10. Bottom line/net-net-net: Be here now, in the moment. In addition, let go. When all is said and done, it's all good. Because -- drum roll -- it is what it is.

It goes without saying that pop songs can make pitch perfect clichéd lemons into boss lemonade. Here, the most-repeated phrase in world history is the sine qua non of the just-released, most excellent single in years.

My dad liked to get busy as a bee, plucking phrases from the vernacular for song titles. At the end of the day, it's all in the game and all too soon it will be over and over. Till then, enjoy yourself: it's later than you think.