#SoG114 - Show, not tell.

#SoG 114. Show, not tell.

I missed SoG113. In the last few days, I have missed more often than I have written. I am not sure why. Probably all the travel? I love it (it is liberating and is a great teacher) and yet I hate that it throws me off-gear. I've noticed that every time I am on the road, I can rarely do things that I am committed to doing daily (journaling, writing, SoG, meditation etc). I MUST find a way to get all these things done in a 2-hour window (super tough, even if I work with a Herculean spirit and concentration) when I travel. The quality may suffer but at least I would remain in the grind and I would go to bed wiser!

Anyhow, letter for the day.

SoG 114. Show, not tell.
This is a technique used while writing.
Let me show some examples before I tell you what it is.

  • "After the doctor had gone Sue went into the workroom and cried a Japanese napkin to a pulp" - from The Last Leaf. Napkin to a pulp.

  • "...the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars." - from On The Road. Exploding like spiders across the stars.

  • "It's funny. On the outside, I was an honest man - straight as an arrow." - from Shawshank Redemption (trailer). Straight as an arrow.

Get the drift?

When you communicate (talk, write, present, argue, make a case, debate et al), you need to be able to make your point well. With such force, such clarity, such gumption that people on the other side get the context and the content.

There are two ways to do so.
A, you "tell" the dry facts.
Example - the food in Indore is great.
There is nothing wrong with this. "Great" is a universally accepted adjective that signifies that the object was better than others. But then if your audience is meeting a hundred people from Indore, 99 would probably use the same "great" to describe food. Would you be remembered?
Get the drift?

B, you "show" these facts with some saucy gravy that will leave an aftertaste like a spoonful of Nutella does.
Example - the food in Indore made me lick my fingers to the bone!
How about this one? Will you recall this? Did I tell you that food was great? Or did I show you that the food was so amazing that after I was done eating, I was left wanting for more!
Heck - the very description of this "show", I tried to show you what a show is!

That's it. I can ramble on and on but I think you get the point. Dont you?

Lesson of the day?
When you have an opportunity to communicate, try to show. And not tell.

Even if it's a boring business presentation. Can you make it spicy like a Hyderabadi Biryani? Or sweet like the Gulab Jamoons?

You think you cant do this? Look at the masters like Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger. They show all the time. Here are some classic shows...

  • You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.

  • There are answers worth billions of dollars in 30$ history book.

  • In business, the rearview mirror is clearer than the windshield.

There are so many more. And if they can use it in an industry that drab and dry like the grandest desert of all time, you can use it in your day to day life!

And in case you don't know how to go about doing this, throw a "tell" at me. And I will try to "show" you.

That's it for the day.

Thank you for reading,
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Streak: 1
Tags: Writing, Creativity, Communication

Further Reads

PS: The one I sent day before? It has so many typos and errors that I am thinking I should stop writing and sending these on a daily basis. Maybe I will. I mean I will stop sending but I would write and publish. And maybe send these once in a while (when I know I have written a good one). What do you think?

Or maybe, help me with tips on how to edit better?