Friday, October 15, 2010

Eschew Obfuscation ...

Nope, that isn't a typo!  It's in the same league with KISS, which translates to 'keep it simple, stupid'!!  English teachers have been known to post it above the blackboard.  One guy who writes a political commentary, uses it as his nom-de-plume ,,, it's been T-shirt humor, bumper sticker humor, you name it.  I even had it printed on my checks awhile back. In a nutshell it does not embody its own advice!  Avoid confusion. Keep it simple. And yet, even if you never heard of that quote before, we're all guilty of obfuscation. We want to be thought of as educated, "knowing", well versed, you name it. However, in reality, we would get so much further down the road if we simply kept it simple!  I am reminded of my newest issues of quilting magazines, particularly the  ones showcasing winning quilts from various national and international competitions.  I guess my quilts, and my taste in quilts, eschews obfuscation. I like them simple, unadorned, pleasing to the eye, and not so heavily embellished as to make the recipient afraid to use the danged thing!  A friend of mine (not a quilter, but if he's reading this he'll know who he is) says 'less is more'.  And in quilting, that's often the case.  Clean lines, colors that work together instead of fighting each other, and not mixing a lot of methods of quilt making into one project. I saw one recently that (honest injun) had brodery perse, silk ribbon embroidery, some yo yos, trapunto, plain applique, English paper piecing,  redwork (done in multicolored metallic thread no less), and if there was any plain vanilla piecing in there, it got lost in the shuffle. It was mind boggling just looking at it. As a quilter I was impressed that the maker knew how to do all those things, but the bottom line was not what I'm sure she had hoped to achieve.  It looked messy! I think we all need to get back to basics once in awhile, crank out the old tried and true skill builders like churn dash, or Ohio star, even log cabin blocks. There are so many diverse fabrics available now that the traditional log cabin block takes on a whole new meaning when done in batiks!

I think the same lessons are true for everyone in their daily lives. How often we multi-task, do forty-leven things at once (and thereby not giving any of them the attention they deserve), and use all the big words in our sentences when simple ones would do quite nicely.  How often do our kids take on far more than they should, not leaving them time to simply be kids ... so over extended by extra curricular activities that they fall behind.   How often does the Director of Something end up taking on umpteen other leadership positions when the one she has to do primarily is in and of itself a full time job.  The old expression "if you want something done give it to a busy person" comes to mind.  And what is the end result? Burnout. 
My challenge to you today is to sit down and take inventory of yourself.  What do you that you could do more simply, what do you do that you really don't need to be doing at all?  Do you stop to smell the roses in the grocery store? If you're too busy to do that, then you're too busy!  Think about it!!   

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