Title: Double Entendre?
I loved Wilford Brimley. He was an American Actor, had a big bushy mustache and a slow, southern drawl. When he spoke, we listened.
In one movie, he said ‘Madame, In order to get the attention of an ass, one must first smack it firmly between the eyes’. He was playing the part of a judge, I think, and he wasn’t talking about a donkey. He was saying one thing but meaning quite another.
Every once in a while, I hear or read something that is saying one thing about something in one part of our life, but which can easily translate to a different part. The underlying message is there but it’s been reapplied elsewhere.
Here’s one of my favorite Interior Design guidelines that work so well elsewhere in life:
The highest contrast item in a room gets all the visual attention.
— the red cushion on the white sofa. When you walk into the room, it’s likely the first thing you will see. Ask someone to look at a picture of that room for two minutes, and then ask them, ten minutes later, what they remember most about the room and it will probably be the red cushion.
— The white belt on a black dress. Guess where everyone will look first?
— How about the jackass in the line at the grocery store? He’s the biggest contrast item, he gets all the attention.
—How about the calm voice in a room of dissenting ones? May take longer, but the calm voice, if coupled with a calm, true, strong heart, will very often command the attention. A technique used by powerful speakers is to speak a bit quieter and make people lean in.
And then there is this Interior Design guideline that suggests that in order to deal with an unwanted architectural element in a room you can do one of three things.
1. Ignore it
2. Camouflage it
3. Change it.
The window that is off-center on a wall… ignore it and pretend it isn’t off-center. Good if you can do that. Lots of people can’t.
Camouflage it: hang curtains on the wall as if the window was correct. We will see the curtains, not the window.
Or, change it. This is most often what we’d like to do, but probably can’t. It may not be possible or feasible to reposition that window.
This adage applies to other unwanted elements in our life just as succinctly. The clutter issue that is getting away from us: You can do one of three things. You can ignore it: good for you if you can and want to live in chaos. Or you can camouflage it. This means more ‘organization’, more storage boxes, more drawers filled, or closets overflowing. Or, you can change it. In reality, these are the only choices you have. Pretty simple isn’t it?
The adage about calm rooms: To create a calm room, keep all contrast low.
Just think about this for a minute. Picture a casino. I know I haven’t been in one in years, but I still know what they look like and sound like. High energy, flashing colors, busy busy busy. Adrenaline rushing, money flowing.
How well would these machines do if the lights were all dimmed and not flashing? If there was no noise from each cherry dropping? No big siren and flashing red light when someone hit the jackpot?
What if we employed this adage in our life? Keep noise to a minimum. This can be physical or mental noise… it’s all noise. Keep calm and carry on.
What kind of difference would that make in a tumultuous household? Or a tumultuous life?
I chose this image of a doggie and a window just because it seems like a calm moment in what could instantly become a turbulent day.