Sometimes It’s Attitude

I hate platitudes. I hate when people say, “You can get through anything if you have the right attitude”. It negates the fact that sometimes, circumstances are atrocious. It puts the onus on people to grin and bear it, instead of on the system to change.

I’m not saying I’ve changed my mind, but I noticed something recently. I’ve met two community service doctors who were both placed in departments where they REALLY did not want to be. The nature of your community service year is that you get placed where you are needed and not necessarily where you want to be.

via @bunnybuddhism
via @bunnybuddhism

I observed them both for extended periods as we worked together. They were working in the same bad conditions, with the same juniors and seniors, with the same resources available.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. The one always greeted everyone with a smile. We all enjoyed working with this person. They were a pleasure in an otherwise dire situation. This is not to say that they never got angry with rude staff or non-compliant patients. It’s not to say that they never cussed. It’s not to say they were always a rainbow-pooping unicorn. But they did their best to contribute meaningfully to the team. And patients liked them, too.

The other walked in on day one declaring that they never wanted to be in said department. It was pretty clear that they had resolved to hate their year.They were a little thunder cloud who made the interns nervous and the registrars gossip. They caused tension where they went. Actually, I felt more sorry for this person than for myself, some days. It was so clear that they were unhappy. They tried to swap to another department, without success. They were – and still are – miserable, and I feel sorry that it’s not even halfway through their ComServe year yet.

So anyway. I still hate platitudes. But I think sometimes, having a good attitude can help a little when you need that extra push to get through a bad patch. Sometimes we have to stop wallowing and recognise the mud for what it is.


  1. Mr E. says:

    Totally agree. It’s already bad, why make it worse by being openly sour about it?

  2. Katherine says:

    Agreed I think that platitudes are annoying especially when people in bad situations and get platitudes I’ve been on the receiving end of aforementioned situations and platitudes what’s needed most is understanding and acknowledgement then it’s easier to put on a front and be “happy” about the situation even if you’re not it also makes the time in the situation go quicker and better if you have a good attitude no matter how bad it gets, save getting grumpy and crabby for at home to destress or chat to friend / family who understand and you can vent to, venting(whinging) helps even if it’s to the dog, cat bird or sheep they’re excellent listeners and never give platitudes or judge ( is it me or sometimes platitudes seem like judgements of how you handle a situation?). Anyhow all the best with everything.

  3. harveylisam says:

    Yes platitudes are dumb, but man, constant negativity brings everyone down, including yourself. Why not just try to be positive?

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Exactly. It’s pretty hard but worth the attempt.

  4. Well said. To a point, you need to acknowledge that a certain situation stinks. But a good attitude never hurts and, while it may not make the situation any less stinky, it keeps you from becoming a miserable person…for yourself and those around you.

    1. barefootmegz says:

      Exactly. Everybody needs some time to vent, but it’s all about choosing the right time and place.

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