The Trouble with Platitudes

Well, those who know me or care to know me, know that I am not one much for platitudes. Wait, what’s a platitude?
plural noun: platitudes
a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.
"she began uttering liberal platitudes"

cliché, truism, commonplace, banality, old chestnut, bromide, inanity,banal/trite/hackneyed/stock phrase
"boring us with his platitudes"
Yup, something that sounds good, but it only sounds good. It doesn’t do anything, and if you think about it a bit, it is irritating as hell. At least to me, it is.

For example, There’s no I in 'team'. Arguably emphasizing teamwork.
I like how Dr. House addressed that:

The point being, well, sometimes—more often than you think—there is a brilliant individual who is carrying more than her share of the load.

The common argument against my irritation is that such are basically harmless. They are meant to be helpful. “At least she means well.” Well, meaning well seldom helps, if it does not actually do anything, right? But suppose that they are neutral, are they then OK? After all, if they do not harm, then they should be OK, right? I would argue that there is even harm in that. Consider that they do not help, but if they are considered to be helpful, they often cause people to stop exploring real options that might actually help. To me, that is dangerously misleading.

I am going to list a few that I hear often, make a comment or two on them, and then invite you, cult members, to skewer me over them. Or join me, and we’ll collectively get each other irritated.
Failures are stepping stones to success. No, not really. More often than not, failures ruin you. They sting like crazy. What you hear about are the occasional recoveries, and we are deceptively led to believe that such is the norm.

It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. OK, go ask how the Los Angeles Clippers have played the game for the last, oh, four decades.

Everything is going to be OK. Really? Most of the time, things are not going to be OK. They never get better.

Everyone is special and unique in a different way. Yes, most of them so unique that they suck uniquely.

Mean people don't get far in life. Invariably, they get ahead of everyone else.

Your age/sex/race doesn't matter in hiring decisions. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Grades do not matter after all [insert celebrity] had a failing grade. I want all my competitors to believe that.

Everyone has something they're good at. Not really. Some people suck at a LOT of things. Some, at all things. Pauly Shore, for example.

Practice makes perfect. Yes, and often, wastes time perfectly.

It's always darkest just before the dawn. Not even literally true.

Now, you see such platitudes being offered in motivational speeches, or to someone suffering from misfortune. Heck, most of us have offered them, but have we ever found them to be practically useful?

Here’s one that I found was somewhat useful, when a person struggling is trying to be more or different than she was, and constantly being unsure. Of course, I'll find a way to snark at that too, but I almost feel bad about doing so.

Just be yourself. Yes, that way you can whine that no one loves you after you figure out that you being yourself was a disaster. Be what they want you to be if they are who you want to be with.

Your turn. What are some that you use, or have encountered? Feel free to express a contrary opinion, cult requirements do not bar disagreements, in fact, they are encouraged; it is how we learn. Preferably without being disagreeable.


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