If you had to describe a situation or a problem using only 6 words you’d probably be very very careful in choosing those six words. For instance, let’s say we want to describe the act of…shoveling the driveway. (Is that even a problem? Or just a nuisance?) 6 words…COLD! WET! Tiring, tedious, boring, long, freezing, and so on and so on…pick your top 6! and then take those 6 words, and find 10 different synonyms for those words. In the end, you’ll have 66 words that will describe your issue. And that’s what Jim had us do with our problems.
Did you know that coming up with 66 distinct words is frustrating (one of our words!) and by the time you get done, you just feel blah (also one of our words!)? Kevin came up with the great idea of taking pictures of the words from book covers and converting each word into looking like the side binding of the book and put them on a bookshelf (the bookshelf part was my idea, I know, genius. Where else would you put books?) to organize them. He did a stunning job, and unfortunately…I don’t have that picture file, but he does and I’m sure that in a few days, he’ll post it.
What did we find???
1. Spleen means more than just an organ. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spleen It’s definition 4
2. We felt depressed after doing this. You would too if your words included the following: misunderstood, upset, perplex, apathy, unapproachable, sever, impede, anxiety, struggle, ineffective, BOTCH, barrier, FAILURE, derelict, aggravation…and so on.
3. By the time we got done, we felt like we had just come out of the doctor’s office ourselves, truly frazzled…it was as if we each experienced all of these words through the process of finding them.
4. Now, our problem has become alive to us, we’ve given the problem a negative character, but not a hopeless one. It’s a problem, but it can be fixed.
5. We’ve been able to see our problem from such a completely different perspective as we’ve been able to explore the meaning of some of these words, really, it’s amazing how much they overlap and yet, there are still 66 words out there that are unique and would be completely appropriate to describe the problem.
6. Don’t pick books with weird titles. When the librarian hands them over to Kevin, he’ll get a weird look.
7. Now that we’ve identified all the most important words, how do we work on them to fix the problem that they are describing? If there’s a will there’s a way.
Please, we’d love to have some feedback!
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