January 3, 2013

My Mantra for 2013: Less Is More

I'm not much on New Year's resolutions (yesterday's post notwithstanding). But I am a big believer in the importance of slogans, sayings, and mantras. Even though I haven't attended an AA meeting in years, its slogans keep popping up as I deal with problems and often are a big help -- "one day at a time," "easy does it" and, of course the always useful Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Another less well-known AA saying that I dial up when I find myself brooding about past events is "it's OK to look back, just don't stare."

For a lot of reasons, I've decided I need to focus on one slogan in particular for this year.

Less Is More
This saying is attributed to several sources -- a poem by Robert Browning... the minimalist furniture designs of Mies van der Rohe. It probably came to my attention first as sound advice for writers and journalists. It was reflected in Mark Twain's famous quote:
I didn't have the time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead.
I've thought about it often recently in connection with my medical/health issues. I've found that most of my prescribed meds work just as well -- and with fewer side effects -- if I cut them in half (http://bit.ly/VPyCPB) After popping many dietary supplements over the years, I now am happily down to three (http://bit.ly/U0wkxm).

I often say I've led my life according to Mae West's slogans -- "anything worth doing is worth overdoing" and "too much of a good thing is a good thing." An example: When I retired from my company's board of directors, I received the usual formal resolution of thanks and appreciation. But I also got another resolution that I treasure much more because it features "clauses we would have put in John's resolution but our lawyers told us not to." It begins:
WHEREAS, his sharing of every detail of his personal life told us more than we ever wanted to know.
At this stage in my life, I need to rein in this tendency to go overboard. I hope the "less is more" mantra  will help.

This blog is one of the places where I want to put the mantra into practice. Many of my posts have been way too long. Shorter, more focused, less rambling posts are my goal for 2013. We'll see how well I do.

Those of you who have been bombarded by blog update emails to "BNA retirees" and "family and friends" no doubt will be happy to know that "less is more" means these alerts will be reduced to one end-of-the-week update.

Adhering to my mantra for 2013 -- That's all folks.
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