I am a plant killer. Years ago, I had this had this palm tree sort of plant. It would turn brown. So I’d water it. I would water it really well. I wanted the plant to live … To have a green and vibrant existence. So I kept watering it. For some reason, the palm would stay brown. It got more brittle. It withered. It died. I wondered what was wrong with the plant. When I threw the plant out, I took it out of its pot. The soil fell away. It seemed void. Stripped down. I noticed there were hardly any roots for the plant. I found out I over watered the plant. I eroded the soil’s nutrients. I caused the plant’s roots to rot. There was nothing wrong with this poor plant. I killed it.
The same thing happens when use too many words when I want to make a point. A point is like a plant. We can kill the point we want to make. How? Too many words. We over water our point. We don’t trust the people will get the point, so we add words. We don’t see people responding, so we add more words. We wash away the nutrients and rot the roots of our point with too many words.
Less is more. Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler *. Saying more with less is hard. It means we have a clear point to make. And understand our point well enough to communicate it simply.
The next time you find yourself talking a lot to get your point across, ask yourself, “What’s my point?” If you answer, “I don’t know.”, there’s no plant in your pot … stop watering. If you have a point, speak directly to it and use half the words.
* I borrowed this from Einstein. I could have looked more creative by not crediting him. He also said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”