When I was in my second year of university, I took a course called “An Introduction to Personality Theory and Research”. I loved it and I dove into my studies voraciously. It was as if I was perpetually on the verge of cracking a secret code miraculously overlooked by Maslow, Freud, Jung and Skinner. You know - the typical delusions of grandeur that possess a twenty-something with an inspiring professor, easy access to books and a patient girlfriend willing to indulge half-baked theories and rants.
Around mid-November, I began to craft my coup de grȃce - An essay of such deeply referenced research and powerful eloquence that my professor would be utterly bewildered by my brilliance. Much like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” I anxiously awaited its return. Unlike Ralphie, I received a B and not a C+. However, more stinging was a single word, aggressively etched in red ink on the third or fourth page of my treatise.
I’ll admit, I had to look it up.
Parsimony is stinginess. It is the quality of being careful with resources or, as Merriam Webster puts it “economy in the use of means to an end; especially: economy of explanation in conformity with Occam's razor.
It was a valuable lesson, and one of which I still need to remind myself. Say more with less. I thought about that today when I debated writing another post. I have a whole bunch of them rattling about my cranium like errant billiard balls and I wondered why I kept procrastinating. I think it is because I know I won’t easily respect the need for parsimony.
- I must respect the need for parsimony.
- I will try to write more often.
- I will make use of bullet points when it helps me summarize ideas.
- I will write in the same way that an Ignite Talk is done. (Perhaps even recording them with pics and posting them on YouTube).
- I will try to keep my posts in the 500 - 750 word range.
- Hyperlinks are my friend.
- “A Christmas Story” is still one of my favourite movies.