Note to self: Less is more.
OK, not all less is more – trust me, we all agree on that – no need to elaborate.
But sometimes – it can be way more.
Know the expression “TMI”? Too Much Information. That pure, squirming and uncomfortable feeling we get when someone tells us too much of a personal nature?
How about Foot in Mouth Disease – when we spill the proverbial beans, giving away more than we need to or should, and we watch relationships and deals and personal connections shrink away from us – all because of a few too many words.
Here is another – Verbal Diarrhea – the cognitive relative of the reflexive physical type. You know this one – you sit in horror or boredom or sheer amazement at the nonsense being spouted and wonder why you are there, why you are listening, and why anyone would care. Many a good cause has been lost here.
Same is true in writing – note to self – AGAIN.
Check out Ernest Hemingway’s shortest short story – the shortest story ever written as the legend goes—written on a dare to convey the full impact of that literary genre in 10 words or less:
“For sale: baby shoes. Never used.”
I’ve mentioned this one before but recently used it in a class I taught at a local high school and was reintroduced to its power by the discussion of the kids.
Recently I helped edit a wonderful college essay written by a young friend. It was a lesson for me as I saw how relatively easy it was to cut superfluous words that in a first reading had seemed so critical. Nothing like a word count maximum to get the buzz saw going. (Try it here…)
What a challenge. How about if we applied this to emails – kept them to the point – our cyber garbage would reduced by giga-tons.
Here are a few thoughts:
Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours – Swedish Proverb
Note to self on all!
“A wise old owl sat on an oak; the more he saw the less he spoke; the less he spoke the more he heard; why aren’t we like that wise old bird?” Edward Hersey Richards
Back to listening – funny that.
Finally the big LISTEN:
“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.”
William of Occam
And there you have it from the master of the elegant solution – who was always searching for even more elegance.
So next time your fingers get away from you on the keyboard (note to self) or your mouth for that matter, anywhere (bigger note to self), let the fear of vanity stop you and the possibility of beautifully simple elegance propel you.
With gratitude to PLG…
What do you think?