Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple

Simplicity sells

Complexity repels.

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Learning English as a foreign language, with its complicated grammar & ambiguous meaning of words, is difficult enough without having the laborious reference to the dictionary. While the British delight in using overlong, obtuse & bombastic words, it is perhaps opportune to give an airing to the American writer Richard Lederer who had a passion for succinct words.

He wrote the following using words of only one syllable:

  • bright like sparks that glow in the night

  • prompt like dawn that greets the day

  • sharp like the blade of a knife

  • hot like salt tears that scald the cheeks

  • quick like moths that flit from flame to flame

  • and terse like the dart and sting of the bee.

Would you rather have bombastic words that might require reference to the dictionary? Or simple effective little words like the above to captivate your imagination.

Flashing back to my days at the University of Malaya in the early 1960s, I was particularly impressed with two good speakers – Professor Wang Gangwu & the not-so-frequent forum speaker Lee Kuan Yew. While the former, being an academician, spoke with the intellectual language, Harry Lee (as he was fondly known) spoke effectively & fluently with the power of the simplicity of words. Without doubt, Harry Lee demonstrated as a more effective communicator.

Remember “The Gettysburg Address” by President Abraham Lincoln:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

The world at once noted well what he said making the battle itself less important than the speech. Lincoln & Benjamin Franklin were best remembered for their great ability to paint words like pictures.

We are all salesmen in every aspect of the word. What we sell is not as important as how we sell. Win your audience over with simplicity rather than repel them with complexity.

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent

An Australian by Consent

Monday, 3 August 2009

The Day Of Small Things

The Day of Small Things

In school we used to learn these memorable poetic lines:

“Little drops of water

Little drops of sand

Make a mighty ocean

Make a mighty land.”

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Beauty in Both Big & Small

Despise not the small little things in life. They could amount to something more gigantic than you ever know. Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin. Who would have thought that he would turn out to be one of American’s greatest presidents? Or what of the little acorn that grows into a gigantic oak tree. It’s in the nature of things that the due process of growth and maturing must progress its course. We say “Don’t grow old, but grow up” for we are supposed to acquire wisdom, patience and understanding through our life’s experiences which should hold us steadfast in the adventures of life.

The Son of God, Jesus, spent 30 years of His early life learning and acquiring His skill as a carpenter, identifying Himself with mankind through work. This is all in preparation for His public ministries, when He could relate to all aspects of human life. Speaking from personal experiences give you that creditable authority which is not acquired through academic learning. Jesus could relate Himself to the farmers, fishermen, landowners or tax collectors. The simplicity of Christ’s teaching sells, whereas complexity often repels.

As in nature, we must realise that life is a journey of one great preparation. To be a doctor, we need to spend six long years of learning plus another year of internship. Even to be a teacher requires two to three years of study. Moses spent 40 long years in his preparation as the leader of the Israelites. Paul, one, who is credited with spreading the Gospel far and wide, was likewise not spared the period of apprenticeship. Nothing can substitute your life’s experiences, big or small.

We’ve got to learn the daily lessons of small things before acquiring the experiences of big things. Whatever jobs you’re holding, learn from it and master it. As you learn and progress, greater tasks and responsibilities will be placed upon you. God may put you in all kinds of situations to test and train you – preparing you for greater things ahead. Be steadfast and faithful for your life to be full.

“Who despises the day of small things?” – Zechariah 4:10

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent

An Australian by Consent