Once, during a high school classroom discussion, my English teacher shot out of his chair in a vigorous fit of inspiration and bellowed one simple sentence that forever ignited a light bulb above my head: “Omit! Needless! Words!”
Omit needless words. For the sake of simplicity, efficiency and beauty, omit needless words.
So why don’t we?
I work in advertising – an industry laden with sharp tongues and tight deadlines. You’d think we’d be masters of verbal efficiency, yet we contribute to countless meetings that spill hours beyond their time slots. We create campaigns so verbally and conceptually intricate that we sometimes end up communicating nothing of value to consumers. We pen long-winded decks that propagate fluffy language. And then we repeat.
Smart, meaningful communication is concise. Just as a piece of art should contain no unnecessary lines, or a machine no unnecessary parts, the language of advertising should omit all that is unnecessary too (thanks for the inspiration, Strunk.) We’re in the business of selling ideas, and if we can create great ones, our work should speak for itself.
We’ve all heard the phrase that talk is cheap. And most of it is. But smart talk is valuable, and guess what? It takes up much less of our time.
The case for financial independence was engrained in me long ago. Do support yourself. Do rely on yourself. Do work hard. Do save as much as you can, but do spoil yourself too. And so, with this advice tucked away tightly, I did just that.
The first iteration of financial independence took the form of various part-time jobs throughout high school and university. Often, two at once. And then, I made the transition softly, moving away from home and in with a boyfriend who made considerably more money than I did. I was inching my way towards financial solidarity while basking in the comfort of a dual income. But when the day finally came to stand up on my own, it was a shaky start. The pain of watching a huge chunk of my hard-earned income go towards the basic costs of living. Knowing that buying an extra cocktail or two one night meant brown-bagging my lunch the next day. Waiting all of April to save enough to responsibly replace my leaky rain boots. It wasn’t always easy, and it’s still not.
But it’s been worth it. If not for the sense of independence, for the perspective.
Is it worth it for you?
The gut check is so important. Not only because it can propel you towards great decisions, but because it can spare you the implications of a bad one. It’s difficult sometimes though, isn’t it? To separate an authentic gut instinct from your own personal biases. Is my gut telling me this is a bad idea, or is it a deep-seeded bias that’s swinging my preference?
Recently, I consulted my gut on an important decision, and couldn’t shake that strange feeling. Luckily, before I was able to make up my mind, it was made for me. In the process, many of my doubts were shown to be true, and I was spared a lot of potential headaches. Frustrating, but ultimately it was the best way for things to play out.
So, how important are your gut instincts?
Image: Breanna Rose
As October gives way to November, the presence of “the blehs” begins to settle in at the corner of my mind. Cold days, frigid nights, scarcer sunlight, lower energy. Of course, you can choose to focus on all that is lovely instead: mugs of tea, cozy slippers, apple crisp, cuddles under the duvet. The struggle of focusing on the upside of the coming months is what nudged me to think: what can I do?
That, along with a suggestion from the lovely Taryn, prompted me to focus on both the physical and the mental. We’re tackling the blehs together by taking on a month-long mindful challenge. Here’s what I’m personally aiming for:
→ Daily journalling/drawing exercises and reflections
→ At least 4 physical classes per week (such as yoga or kettlebell)
→ At least 10 minutes per day of mindfulness (like taking a contemplative walk)
And of course, the idea is to update this empty little blog with my daily adventures, thoughts, doodles and complaints. With a smile and a nose full of sprinkles.
What about you?
I know a lot of people complain about it, but harvest season is so beautiful.
A little French and California haul from this morning.
Chocolate ganache cake with caramel sauce and fleur de sel.