The Value of Brevity

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Lesson for the Day

November is National Blog Posting Month!  This will be my sixth consecutive attempt—30 posts in 30 days.  Every year I think I lack the bandwidth, and I try anyway.  This year feels even more impossible, so I’m even more determined.  To practice dynamic life balance, so I can do the things I need as well as those I want, I commit to an additional challenge:  60 minutes and 300 words or less per day.  One hour for me; one minute for you.

This month I will apprehend a key learning each day and write about it.  I expect certain lessons will recur, and I look forward to seeing what patterns and themes emerge, especially as we navigate the election, the pandemic, the holidays, winter, and darkness (the last perhaps on multiple levels).

When you are challenged to distill, and then perhaps amplify, a central tenet or message, how do you do it?  I rail against soundbites most of the time, and sometimes they also have value.  Well-crafted statements—slogans, I guess—can inspire, move, and change our world.  What single statements best express your experience of our current challenges?  I’ll take my stab below.  Share yours in the comments, as well as your favorite mantras/sayings.

I will park my butt to meet you here every night this month.

Election:  Leadership is about character.

Pandemic:  On the long, hard road ahead, we must all care for each other as much as ourselves.

Holidays: Take the aberration in stride and get creative about connecting—we can do this.

Winter:  Cold and dark make us treasure warmth and light; let the annual appreciation practice commence.

Darkness:  There is always light somewhere; seek it earnestly, inside and out.

10 thoughts on “The Value of Brevity

  1. Some mantras I’ve found meaningful lately come from my workout community! “It’s tough – but you’re tougher” and “You can do hard things” are reminders that it’s me who has to put in the work to make something happen.

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  2. Looking forward to reading your posts this month, Cathy. I think brevity is especially appealing right now, as so many of us (me, for sure) find it hard to focus, and are distracted by worldly concerns. It will be most interesting to see how/if the world changes between November 1 and November 30.

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  3. Hello Cathy!

    Thank you for sharing important practices, especially as they relate to moving through so many challenging circumstances. I appreciate the discipline you demonstrate, as well as the invitations you offer to each of us to continue or begin self reflection, to approach relational rapids with respect, and to dip into our creative wells to navigate the preponderance of storms.

    In gratitude,
    Rachel

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    • Oh thank you, old friend, for the acknowledgement and validation! “relational rapids”–yes, that’s exactly how it feels sometimes! The words ‘chute’ and ‘gauntlet’ come to mind also–aren’t those white water rafting vocabulary words that we can also apply here? Peace and light, my friend.

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  4. Cathy – I love this. I read recently about an author who wrote a 20 word story that was printed on a bottle of mouthwash (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/05/t-magazine/entertainment/lydia-davis-aesop-paris-review.html) and since then I’ve been thinking too about the value of brevity. Distilling a story or a central tenet down into the smallest possible structure can be a challenge for the writer and a delight for the reader.

    In response to your prompt, what’s on my mind these days (as it is on yours) is connection- specifically how we can connect with one another and heal by sharing our “secrets” with one another, which in my mind can encompass a whole range of things (mental illness, addiction, or just simply telling the truth about how you’re actually feeling when someone asks). How would I distill that? Maybe something like “Together we are not alone” or “Let the dark out in order to make room for the light.”

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    • Thank you so much, Nicole! So happy to know you! 😀 “challenge for the writer and a delight for the reader”–hahaaaa, yes!! Didn’t we hear recently, was it Mark Twain, who said something like he didn’t have time to write a shorter letter? 😀 This 300 word limit will be an interesting practice–it really helps me drill down to the bottom line… I’m also thinking about Aristotle’s 5 elements of persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Metaphor, and Brevity… Wouldn’t it be so great if I could incorporate all 5 in 300 words, in less than an hour? Do you think that’s too ambitious? ;P Thank you for walking with me, my new friend! 😀 https://hbr.org/2019/07/the-art-of-persuasion-hasnt-changed-in-2000-years

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  5. Ok,
    Leadership – “you promote what you permit”,
    Self-help / perspective “take an active role in your own rescue”
    For the pandemic, “we make our path was we walk it”

    Miss you friend!
    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooo, thank you, my friend! I definitely needed the leadership one today (I was going to call you for advice and here you are on my blog offering just what I need, hallelujah!). And your pandemic phrase reminds me of NASA: “Test as you fly, fly as you test.” Got that from Ozan, of course. 😉 Miss you too. xo

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