You’re scrolling through your feed or opening your browser, and there it is! Another PLATITUDE! … “Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken.” “Work Hard, Dream Big.” “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

It’s all dressed up in a fancy font, slapped onto a sunset background.

I love the way Wikipedia describes ’em: “A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, often used as a thought-terminating cliché, aimed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. The statement may be true, but its meaning has been lost due to its excessive use.”

“A thought-terminating cliché”. Wonderfully put.

Yet every word you write—in your posts, in your book—must be designed to do the opposite: to kickstart your reader’s thoughts. To reflect. To challenge and engage.

Replace platitudes with real talk. Pour water on the endless drivel and find a new way to say even the oldest idea.

3 ways to send platitudes to the graveyard:

  1. If it has been said so many times before, do you really need to say it? Can you leave it unsaid/unwritten?
  2. Use real examples. Talk about your personal experiences or those of people you know (with permission or anonymously).
  3. Google it. If it’s been said before, and you really want to say it, find a fresh way of putting it.