I’m not a fan of the platitudes you typically find on social media and greeting cards. They’re usually obvious and boring; they masquerade as wise words to live by when, in fact, they’re usually used to sell us something or enhance a company’s marketing algorithms.
Platitudes are defined by Google as, “a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.” “Trite” and “insipid” are also words associated with platitudes. French balladeer Jacques Brel’s song “Timid Frieda” included a line in the English translation that claimed the parents of the young runaway, “always feed her little lessons and platitudes from cans.” Facebook is filled with such canned platitudes, usually prompting an eye-roll from me.
However, one recent post from Power of Positivity caught my unrolled eye and encapsulated my resolutions for 2017. Yes, much of what’s written above seems somewhat obvious and trite, but after a year that ended with so much negativity and bad news (the election, celebrity deaths, Russian hacking, etc.), we could all use some New Year inspiration to turn our negatives into positives and rejuvenate our motivation.
I especially agree with the lines, “Don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Go out. Make a change.” This is the way I’ve tried to be; I get frustrated by complainers who don’t take action to help themselves. I also like, “Do things that challenge you” and “Unfollow negative people on social media.” Now, that’s advice I’ll follow.
In addition, I’m resolving not to over-schedule myself, become more patient, and focus on enhancing my relationships with family, friends and students. I’ll pay closer attention to students’ classwork, extra-curricular activities, and their desire to prepare themselves for the public relations profession. Although this has always been my priority, I’m going to expand these connections and be a better mentor and adviser.
Yes, platitudes are trite but they’re occasionally meaningful. So, I thank you for reading my PR blog and wish you a happy New Year. Let’s “Smile more,” “Be excited” and “Do new things” in ’17. Your thoughts?