Book: Busting Cliches.
Author: Mahevash Shaikh
Format: Paper back & Kindle edition
About the book: Mahevash Shaikh, in her debut, has collated 20 cliches that are (often) misinterpreted, and used inappropriately, resulting in their true meaning being lost on us. She has expounded on the actual thoughts behind the cliches for us to understand and follow. She has also included anecdotes by people whose experiences could teach us a thing or two about how we need to make amends in our way of following those cliches/beliefs.
She has included popular music references as well as stick figures to drive home the point she intends to make in every chapter. A chapter typically consists of first the cliche, for example, “Look before you leap”, followed by its intended meaning (weigh the consequences before you make the move) and then the misunderstood version (always be cautious and don’t take risks) and then a music reference ending with the stick figure cartoon.
At the end of every chapter, she has provided space for the readers to write down their thoughts on if and how they need to change their beliefs and their perspectives in order to handle life situations in a mature fashion and work towards reaching their goals.
My review: The book, for me, was an eye-opener. Every cliche discussed in this book is one that we use in our day to day lives. The ones that seem outdated, haunt us with their modern meanings, testing our beliefs at every step. Mahevash states that the book is “for young people everywhere”. Well, I would say, it is for everybody, irrespective of their age or experience in life!
We form certain beliefs based on the knowledge we attain, or by what is passed down from generations. Seldom using our own discernment, we follow the “cliches” blindly. Then, even if we are required to “jump into a well” by these beliefs, we do it, without pausing to reflect if our actions make any sense! It makes most of us look like the rats who blindly follow the Pied Piper and plunge to their death!
Here are a couple of cliches I would like to share.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Intended meaning: People are a lot like their parents, in terms of habits, personality and appearance.
Misunderstood version: The capabilities of a person are predetermined by their genes. As in, what you can and cannot do, depends on your parents’ accomplishments and failures.
We often hear about people expecting certain things from their offspring just because they are their flesh and blood. If the father is a doctor/engineer, then it is expected from the child to follow in his footsteps, regardless of the fact that he/she may have interests/capabilities different from the father. How many lives get ruined because of this line of thinking! Rarely is it taken into consideration that each individual has his own unique personality. Their freedom to choose their destiny is snatched from them at an early age and so often we read about the outcome of all the pressure the child has to go through. Sad, isn’t it?
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Intended meaning: Physical force will hurt me, but your insults will not.
Misunderstood version: This one is a classic example of misunderstanding as we take it to mean that harsh words don’t hurt.
We all know how powerful words are. A few good words can make one’s life, but a few mean ones can ruin one’s self-esteem for life! How often, before speaking our mind, do we pause to ponder how our words could affect someone? Rarely. But, when others hurt us with their poisonous barbs, we hold them responsible for hurting our feelings.
Mahevash has included quotable quotes at the end of every chapter, many of which I have jotted down to use as reminders for myself.
Here are some which I could so relate to:
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” _ Maya Angelou.
“People say sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never hurt you. But, that’s not true. Words can hurt. They hurt me. Things were said to me that I still haven’t forgotten.” _ Demi Lovato.
“Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships or build meaning into a life that has none.”_ Richard M. DeVos.
Each of these quotes resonates with me. As do the words within the pages.
We all are a work in progress. There is really no harm in accepting our flaws and working on them. It will only help us become better versions of ourselves. This book helps us do just that – better ourselves and set things right – for us!
Quibbles: Frankly, I did not find a single point worth criticising in this book. It’s a short book with 20 chapters. I finished it in two days, but the amount of knowledge I gained from it, it’s going to last me a long time. Does it sound like I am exaggerating? Well. I am not. The book makes you realise how you need to work on yourself and change certain beliefs – some that may be holding you back from realising your goals.
Rating: I give the book 5 stars. No, it is not a sponsored post. Read the book and see for yourself!