On my Momentum dash (Chrome plugin) this morning was a quote:
“Don’t go through life, grow through life.”
My immediate thought was, “That’s cheesy”.
But why? The sentiment is simple and important. It’s also pretty deep if you contemplate what happens when you switch your life from a motion metaphor to a growing one. What’s with my immediate aversion?
A pithy quote or inspirational phrase is great. But if it rhymes it moves one notch too far up the cheese ladder.
I thought about why this might be. Why do I have a bias against rhyming?
What about songs or poems? Most of those rhyme, and the verses can be profound without necessarily feeling cheesy.
My current theory is this: something profound is memorable. But when it rhymes, my brain begins to suspect a deliberate effort to make it memorable, which makes me think it might not be profound enough to be memorable on its own. The use of rhyme has a trying-too-hard vibe.
But songs and poems are formats with baked in constraints, and the use of rhyme throughout doesn’t convey a stretch effort to be memorable (of course some lines might feel contrived just to fit the format).
I often have a dismissive reaction to anything too cute or cheesy. It’s worth resisting. I get the most value when I forget the messenger and the medium and take away something of value from everything I can.