Less is More is Less

Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.

Andrea del Sarto, 1855, by Robert Browning

~~

This excerpt from Robert Browning’s famous poem introduced the less is more view to the world, that to take the minimalists way of thinking is to deliver a far better impact on the audience.

This is definitely true because trying to get a clear and concise message across to the target with only a few words or pictures easily captures their attention and interest and gives the work more meaning.

More does not always make something better; it might actually make it less special and too complex. I feel like we are in an age now where the less is more philosophy is being heavily worshipped. Multiple businesses have gone or have started to go this way. Microsoft recently simplified their whole line of products and services to fit one universal theme: the Metro look of simplicity and elegance. Every icon representing their products and services uses a simple color pattern and a minimalist logo that speaks volumes when targeted to a large audience. The major social networking sites use no more than two colors in their main logos, creating something that can be easily identified and significant. I have even used this approach in my own logo on my blog. MACBOFISBIL ismacbofisbil the “brand” I am trying to sell and having a catchy, easy on the eyes logo (black outlined circle with a stylized ‘M’ over it) helps it become significant and easily recognizable by any readers going to and from my site. I also like the lowercase font approach as well, as in the way ‘macbofisbil’ is stylized on my page. I don’t know, there is just something about it that makes it less intimidating, less formal, and hinting towards a fun and engaging experience.

Let’s say you had a portfolio full of many different images and other works of art. They are all significant and exceptionally made but there are only three that really catch your eye and provide a deeper meaning. The others could be taken away and you would still be satisfied because these three works are special to you. You could even hang them on the wall in frames and admire them all at once; having all of the works framed and walled would take away this simple admiration because some of them would outshine others. This is the less is more philosophy at work. Having less of something proves to be more beneficial.

An article I hit up on the Internet about the less is more approach brought home the concept fantastically for me. It stated the fact that posting a lot of fresh content on a website does not always lead to more page views and likes, contrary to popular wisdom, simply because the quantity factor is ruling over the quality factor. Having less posts that are made with better quality gives the readers a chance to connect with the content more through comments. These well-crafted posts or articles can be appreciated more and sort of be like trophies on a shelf that shine and become timeless. Don’t hastily post something on your website just to have something on there. Or if the cupboard is bare put up something that serves as your ‘centerpiece’ or starting point and build other posts around it that complement and provide structure. Make sure your posts are well-crafted, easily readable, and keep the reader interested. The article also pointed out the notion that we are more organized and thoughtful when we focus on doing less and making it exceptional, instead of doing more and assuming that it will all go to show and people will appreciate it more because there is more.

This is one of the approaches I have taken while blogging for over a year now. Publishing fewer, but more thought out and carefully executed posts goes a much longer way than publishing many but more hastily and half-assed posts that do not have much significance and in the end garner the least attention.

So, take the less is more approach.

You’ll be more happy and satisfied in the end with what is in front of you and how you eventually reach the top of the success ladder (after a couple of falls back to the bottom rung).


Daily Prompt: No Excess

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London Bridges

Today’s daily prompt required me to think more out of the box than I am used to. Quite a challenge to even think about who to “send a message” across. There were lots of possibilities…but I finally decided on a letter to a fictional friend living in the UK.

To my fellow English friend,

I hope you are doing well all the way across the pond. The United Kingdom, with its union jack waving, seems like a pleasant place to live. Her Majesty the Queen, always so proud and dignified – can you believe she’s been on the throne for SIXTY YEARS?! No disrespect but that makes our maximum of eight look measly and quite ineffective. She’s also the monarch of 15 other countries – so much power for one single being, but quite impressive. Princess Kate is the heir to the throne so – will she occupy it for the next half century or go a different route? I just can not imagine anyone being in power for so long.

Maybe we can share of cup of tea and crumpets someday? I know, that sounds so stereotypical of your culture – just trying to be humorous and build some rapport. Your soccer or football as it is called always intrigues me. When does the season start and end? Or is it an ongoing event? Man United, the ruler of them all, hopefully will be back again to represent the royal, red, and blue since I heard that they weren’t at their best this year.

I love British accents – they are always the best in films for the foe and make a lady seem quite sophisticated, intelligent, and seductive. London, Liverpool, Manchester, York, Nottingham, Newcastle, Bath, Cambridge, Oxford, Southampton – all places of the old world I admire and want to maybe visit one day. It’s okay here in the States, where soulful music can be heard miles around, but I would definitely like to see your country which has so much more history and interesting places to explore. Many famous figures and works have come from your land including Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens, James Bond, Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, The Beatles, Sir Elton John, and what is widely known as the easiest language to learn in the world. Red telephone box. Stonehenge. Glorious castles through the ages. These are some of the things that make your homeland quite unique. I only know about your country with what I see on the surface. There is so much more to experience and learn about.

Cheerio,

Your friend from the other ‘United’


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Make It Count

A Lifetime of Movies

I have seen many movies in my lifetime, so many that is tough to get them all down on a list, which I have been trying to do – in chronological order of viewing.

What was the first movie I saw in my life? I believe it was The Lion King because I vaguely remember seeing it when I was about three, but I can’t be positively sure.

The most recent film I have seen (as of September 25) was Visiting Hours, which was about a prominent media woman who has strong views about another woman who got murdered and a psycho killer who comes after her, stalking and eventually getting killed, ironically, by the woman he was chasing to murder. It had William Shatner in it, whose part was hugely underwritten. The movie was an OK horror film, not the typical 80s slasher I thought it would be but had a nice flow to it and told a story without getting too cliché.

One of the best movies I have seen was World War Z. Brad Pitt totally showed a different side in his character that I had not seen before and the appearance of the zombies was spectacular. They really got down the science well with them. Well, science is a stretch.

I believe one of the worst movies I have seen was called Town & Country. There was no direction at all and the writing and acting were terrible. This was one of the last movies for Warren Beatty. It also starred Jenna Elfman and Diane Keaton who is still going strong. This was back when I was attempting to watch all the worst movies on a list of the worst. Another movie on that list was Showgirls which I did not think was all that bad (the nudity part was intriguing). When I watched some of it back it turned out to be pretty good.

I don’t go to the theaters much these days, preferring to watch movies on Netflix, DVD/Blu-ray, or rip them off the internet like a pirate. So yeah, I’m part of the reason why Hollywood and the film industry is suffering. Yeah right.

About a minute left…ho…hum…

My favorite actor has got to be Johnny Depp just because he is so funny and deadpan humorous in many of his films but can also play a straight man when needed. His last two films, Transcendence and The Lone Ranger, didn’t fare too well at the box office or with the critics but I didn’t think the latter was all that bad. I haven’t seen Transcendence. Yeah, TLR was silly but Disney is all I can say. For kids and adults.

That’s it for today.


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done 2: The Return of the Free-Write

My Toughest Critic

Treat me with kid gloves? No way. I prefer the cold hard truth. Come at me bro. Spit in my face. I’m not afraid of your criticism.

Good honest criticism helps me become better at what I do. Break me down, build me back up, you might say. It challenges me to reach my full earned potential.

A time I faced harsh criticism was back in my first year of college. I had just turned 19 years old and was a few months fresh out of high school. I had an introductory English class with a teacher who was probably the toughest critic I had faced in my academic career at that time. Of course I was a little intimidated when he said to the class that he had a Master’s Degree in Language and Literature and here I am thinking, “Oh, this guy sure thinks he’s hot stuff. I’m totally screwed in this class”. Which I wasn’t completely – it just felt like an uphill climb for me because I wasn’t sure how tough the English class would be.

There were about five papers we had to do during the course and they all required a lot of peer editing and blotches of red ink. I believe they were a literal analysis, descriptive essay, informative essay, narrative essay, and one other I can’t remember the type of. My first few papers did not receive very good grades, sub par at best and I instantly became worried that I would have a tough time passing the class. The first ever college essay I wrote was, now in my mind, an embarrassing piece about my first girlfriend in high school. I cannot believe the chummy stuff I put in there, some of it so silly I felt like it was better suited being read by children than a college professor. This was my narrative essay. Soon after that paper, which received an okay but not superb grade, I got more serious with my essays, especially the research papers. There arose a nagging thought in my head that I would have to submit an exceptionally well-crafted paper if I ever wanted to receive top marks because, according to the professor, that first paper was rubbish. A lot of other students had a tough time ‘cracking the code’ as well.

This was the first class that my writing really got critiqued and scrutinized. The teacher, Greenman his name, covered and crossed out my papers with lots of markups and red ink the few first times I turned a paper in, while also adding short notes on the back page critiquing my work. At first I was getting frustrated each time my papers came back with grades that I was not satisfied with and I could not figure out what I was doing wrong (fixing those occasional fallacies in my papers took some trial and error). But through a little bit of hard work and effort I did manage to receive a decent, but not perfect, grade. The discussions and group editing also helped with my essay writing and getting them up to the teacher’s tough standards. I’m glad I got a chance to take this class because soon after my writing greatly improved and I learned that accepting harsh criticism would only make me better. I did not break down at all but kept on taking the prof’s advice and learning from my mishaps. And look where I am now, blogging like a champ on WordPress!


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Handle With Care

Litmus, Litmus

I have a very small circle of friends. So small, that I’m not even sure there is a circle at all; it might just be people scattered about aimlessly. Not too many new people get in or even stay in it. Only the people I trust very well and can relate to me with unbiased views manage to get a coveted seat in the circle. You might say my circle has nepotism in it – favoring one’s relatives or friends and giving them preferential treatment. There is no application or set of questions to get into my “circle”. You just have to fit in naturally.

After brooding over this a while, I believe there really is no single question I could come up with that would determine whether or not I could be friends with someone. Simply because I can easily tell if someone will be a good friend to me by just looking at them (at least in the physical world – not online). If the person remained kind and loyal to me over a certain period of time, I would eventually come to accept them as my friend. It would be rather easy to see that a friendship wouldn’t work if that person and I just did not get along at all on anything. If there is no harmony or controlled chaos (yes, that is contradictory), then a friendship is highly unlikely.

Based upon my experiences with making friends, I know a good friendship consists of two or more people complementing each other, not exactly being alike but offering something that makes the others constantly improve by evolving ideas and bringing new things to the table. Friendly competitions among the group push each other to new levels that strengthen each person’s knowledge and ingenuity. There are arguments, but eventually everyone agrees on a consensus. A bad friendship doesn’t do that. It involves one another constantly competing with each other and never coming to any agreements, with eventual ideas wilting or only being half-baked.

But you still insist I come up with a question and an appropriate answer to it. Well, it was tough to come up with a selective question because I’ve never needed one in the past but I guess that question would be:

“Can you be similar to me in interests and thoughts, but not too similar that neither of us ever get anywhere or advance each other in terms of knowledge and success?”

And the potential answer from potential friend, after some ponderous thought:

“Well, I’m not sure if both of those parameters can be met perfectly but yes, I’m sure we have many things in common that will put us in harmony but also conflicting viewpoints that will constantly make us want to compete with each other and improve each other’s status. In other words, if I do or say something that you don’t completely go by, we could settle our differences with a little bit of friendly fire, trying to make each other understand that one’s views and decisions are his and are no right or better than others. By having these friendly arguments, we push each other to become better; to refocus our life goals and be better prepared to take on any interpersonal challenge that comes our way. It is a good way to bring up new ideas and decide if they are a good fit or not. Like fusing two elements together, our thoughts and ideas can combine to form something new and remarkable that will benefit both of us and possibly other people”.

Because without a little competition in a friendship, nothing new or exciting can ever come out of it. It will be constantly stuck in neutral, never evolving to allow each other to ascend new heights and become the person they always wanted to be. The answer to my question is not a definitive one and does not have to be that long. I just simply have to know, either in the person’s voice or their body language, that they have the will and motivation to do something interesting and eventful while also pushing me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Think about how many companies, such as Apple, or bands, such as U2, would have never reached the success they are at right now, if not for a little bit of fighting and disagreeing over things. There has to be that edge that pushes a friendship or partnership past its limits to be able to explore new possibilities.


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Litmus Test

Alone in a Crowded Room

The room of strangers are staring at me with piercing eyes. 4 minutes. 4 minutes. How to tell my life story in 4 minutes…I take a deep breath and begin…

I come from a family that is on the lower end of middle class. We aren’t privileged, don’t have the nicest stuff in the world, don’t buy the premier brand of items everyday or the most expensive things, but get by everyday with what we have, what really matters inside: love. Our house is not something anyone would ooh and ahh at. It’s a modest looking mobile home in a sea of mobile homes. I, for one, want to move up in the world but there seems to be a force stopping me from doing so. It seems every time I want to advance myself, but a laughing demon holds me back, saying “What? You? What makes you deserve to achieve success and get out of the mediocrity that is your life? You’re supposed to stay there and go the path the rest of us losers have gone”.

I am smart but not genius, not The Big Bang Theory smart. I know how to do things, how to fix computers to a degree, how to write, how to cook simple meals. I don’t try to be anyone else. Just because someone is at the top of their field and is enjoying renowned and celebrity status doesn’t make me want to stop what I have been doing best and go where the grass collects the most water.

Time.

Boy, did I ever feel more alone in this room full of people. Did they even care about what I said? The picture below relays how I was feeling:


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Flash Talk

Autumn Time

“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer” – Helen Hunt Jackson

Fall is the best time of year for me. I used to dread it, but now that I am not in grade school anymore it is a sensational time. For one thing, football is back and in full swing again. It seems I am inside all the time now, watching great game after great game, catching up on all things fantasy and reveling in the stats, videos, and ultimate controversy surrounding this American tradition. The many different teams, their colors and logos all unique, the sweet sound of pads and helmets clashing, it’s all like a dream and is a bullet train that takes us along for a thrilling ride all the way to February.

Autumns in Michigan, where I live, are the time when everything seems to drop back into place, back to normalcy. Things get much quieter around here. There is not much activity outside because everyone is so busy with school or work. The magic and rushing sense of summer is long gone.

Autumn Time

My cheeks feel flushed

As the temperature plummets

Never had a pumpkin spice latte

Autumn Time

~~

September breeze

Chimes in the wind

Season of new hope

Autumn Time

~~

School days are back

Kids tucked inside

The magic of summer is gone

It’s time to use your mind

 ~~

Leaves are changing colors

The life cycle continues

Drift from the trees

Crunch under my shoes

 ~~

Slight chill in the air

Grass tipped with dew

Going down the ski slope

Towards white and blue

 ~~

The great game of football

Kicks into high gear

From high school to professional

It’s a new time to cheer

 ~~

The baby freshman

In their final leg of school

Hoping to fit in

Playing it cool

 ~~

Mid-autumn nights

Cool and crisp

Crickets chirping

The lake of mist

 ~~

Pools are closed

Lonely now

But it won’t be long

Until “Cannonball!”

 ~~

Fall TV returns

Favorites settling easy

New ones launching

Hoping to please picky me

~~

Warm cozy nights

All wrapped up in my hoodie

Rain splatters the window

While watching classic movies

~~~~

Autumn is somber

Sweet and sound

Old things die

And new life comes around

Autumn Time


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Autumn Leaves