Changes in Platitudes

Standing out in the application process at business schools requires a conveyance of your unique position in the universe, so using commonplace phrases or truisms are a waste of precious word count. 

A platitude by definition is a remark or statement that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.  Most times, a platitude has some sort of moral message, and you’d be shocked how many we find in MBA application essays.  Even though they are not technically platitudes, using colloquial phrases or glib sayings are just as bad. Before you pat yourself on the back for finishing your essay drafts, make sure you screen them for the kind of banality that will get an eye-roll from the admissions committees.  Hint:  the worst offender?  “Thinking outside the box.”

You can scour the internet and find list after list of troublesome clichés, you know, the ones that really don’t mean something personal to you, but are over used to the point of queasiness.  There’s also a line you can cross in MBA essays that make it too casual and not appropriate for a formal essay.  In an effort to appear “real” or honest, applicants can sometimes fail by going colloquial-loco.  Here is a list I recently came across to help guide you towards the path of originality and away from trite, unoriginal doom.

 There’s no “I” in Team

Good things come to those who wait

It was meant to be

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results

Such is life

Everything happens for a reason

People are our most important asset

It is what it is

What the mind can conceive, it can achieve

Winners never quit

What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger

Teamwork makes the Dream work

“C’est la vie”

Hard work always pays off

Great minds think alike

Money can’t buy happiness

Live each moment like it’s your last

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again

Reinvent the wheel

It’s not rocket science

It’s all good

What goes up, comes down

What goes around comes around

Don’t assume – it makes an ASS out of U and ME

Don’t be sad because it’s over, be glad that it happened

What’s done is done

Waste not want not

Go with the flow

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Work smarter, not harder

We’re all in this together

Time heals all wounds

We’ll all be laughing about this soon

It’s doesn’t matter if you win or lose, only that you try

Tomorrow is another day

It could be worse

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade

The best things in life are free

It wasn’t meant to be

Better to have loved and lost…than to never have loved at all

Better late than never

At any rate…

With all due respect…

Laugh and the world laughs with you

People mostly regret the things they didn’t do

You can’t judge a book by it’s cover

Work hard, play hard

Only the good die young

All’s fair in love and war

The more things change, the more they stay the same

It’s the darkest just before dawn

Perception is reality

You can be anything that you want to be

Patience is a virtue

The customer is always right

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm

Be careful what you wish for

With great power comes great responsibility

If you avoid these and similar phrases ( I think you get the idea), your writing will feel fresh and original.  Now get out there, think outside the box, and write some damn good essays.

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