ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation


09.24.15 by Lise Kifer
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Google “Platitudes” images and see if it doesn’t make you sick after 15 minutes of reading banal statements about what the mind can conceive (if it can conceive it, it can achieve it), about what life gives you (nothing you can’t handle), about what people regret (the things they didn’t do), about what comes around (that which goes around) and about what makes you stronger (that which doesn’t kill you).

Platitudes are oversimplifications taken to the point of being trite bromides: Unhelpful and unspecific, they change nothing.

I know someone who has had a few pretty tough years. She was betrayed in the worst possible way by the person she trusted most. She was left alone without a means of income that supported her two children above the poverty line. She was depressed, overwhelmed, and angry, and it didn’t seem as if she had much control over where her life was going to go. She struggled for a couple of years, trying to make sense of what had happened, and those years were spent just treading water.

I do not know when things changed, or what sparked the change, but one day I was walking through her house and saw this handmade poster on the wall:

There was nothing unspecific here. This person was telling herself that while she may not want to live life “alone”, she doesn’t need anyone. She was acknowledging the fact that she needed to exercise, and that she needed to finish her college degree. But what I really loved about the poster is that it was a very specific and personal reminder that her attitude and her priorities are a choice. She can choose the things that are important to her and which can help her achieve her goals.


This person has subsequently gone back to school and is doing fine. Her children are happy and healthy. The future looks bright. They say that those who do not learn from clichés are destined to repeat them. But I say, “Life is what you make of it,” and if you need to make a poster to remind yourself of that fact, then make one that is personal and specific to you.

You can find inspiration from others but determination is solely your responsibility. ~Dodinsky

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Lise Kifer, JD


Lise has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Northeastern State University at UCT and Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa. Her duties…

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