Friday, November 2, 2012

Fluff & Circumstance

In a country where we want "it" yesterday and long detailed conversations have been whittled down to "OMG IMO he was DDG!" you would think we would have mastered the skill of concise speaking or "saying what you mean and meaning what you say." But really all we have done is been able to cram more blather into less time.

Effective communication is a key ingredient of creativity. New ideas hinge on the ability of one person being able to clearly communicate with someone else. People who are working on a problem exchange ideas constantly and need to be able to express their thoughts so the work runs smoothly. Likewise, if you are struggling with something you might ask another person for help. The better able you are to communicate to others the quicker you will be able to solve the problem and furthermore, come up with a more sustainable and effective solution.

But something I call fluff is always getting in the way and begins the breakdown of creativity. Fluff is all the extra stuff that's not really important to solving the problem at hand but for one reason or another some people find it necessary to bring into the mix. It's even worse when there's an over-abundance of fluff while defining the problem. Einstein said, "A well defined problem is halfway to being solved." It's almost impossible to reach the best solution when the heart of the problem is clouded by fluff. Fluff keeps you from seeing the path to the solution. Fluff can be anger, resentment, immaturity, money, a budget, the deadline, power, fear, pussy-footing, being PC, the insistence of getting "it" done now. All of which just hides both the heart of the problem and the best possible solution.

A lot of what I'm hearing on TV and from friends and family about the situations our country is trying to work through seems to be riddled with fluff, especially during processes of defining the problem. Most of the time it seems as though politicians and other leaders don't even care what the problem is or how it came to be. Their constituents and lobbyists just want a fix. Now. The politicians, only paying attention to the fluff, end up leaving the best solutions on the floor.

All I hear anymore when I turn on the news or listen to one of our political leaders speak about something is fluff. It's a wonder they can form words with all that fluff in their mouth. So as a citizen listening to all this fluff how am I supposed to make an informed decision about something? Fluff is not truth or information or details. Fluff is bullshitting your way through a high school paper and has no room in a country that is trying to solve some very complex and important problems.

Sometimes in our own lives all the voices coming at us from every direction cause us to rush and leave behind the best, most creative solution. Being creative is being able to get to the heart of the problem and see the problem and solution clearly. You know when you have reached a creative solution when you have cut through the fluff. Demand this creative process from your politicians, families and friends too. Fluff doesn't weigh much but it's holding all of us down.

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