Is Gray a Color?

Color

Having just read Meghan Flaherty’s eloquent piece, Ode to Gray in the Paris Review, I’ve been thinking about color again. Flaherty makes numerous points in favor of gray. She refers to gray as “the color, rather than the sound, of silence.”

Flaherty cites numerous others’ disparate thoughts on gray. She refers to a color psychology article, stating that “grey is emotionless.” She quotes the French painter, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres who said, “Better gray than garishness.” And, she shares, “Paul Klee called it the richest color, “the one that makes all the others speak.”

She also writes that, “according to Eva Heller, in her Die wahre Geschichte von allen Farben, only 1 percent of people surveyed named gray as their favorite color.” Contrast that with blue. Supposedly, half the people on earth list blue as their favorite color.

In one of my earlier posts entitled, The Lure of BlueI wrote about what draws my eye towards blue. Truth be told, nearly every article of clothing I own is blue. My office walls are blue. My automobile is blue.

Hmm…maybe I’ve been taking the easy way out all this time…

After reading Flaherty’s excellent article, I vow to seriously think through the possibility of gray being an actual color. I may even introduce a few bits of gray into my wardrobe because, after all, gray pairs so well with blue…

by Rebecca Cochran

The Business of Life

focus photo of brown sheep under blue sky

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

A few years ago, one of my articles was published in an educational magazine of interest to high school and college-aged flute students and their teachers. (My former career was as a classical musician.) I had written the article not long after the passing of the well-known and highly respected French flutist, Louis Moyse, my teacher and musical mentor of 30 years.

I came across the article again a few days ago and was taken by the fact that the musical “Life Lessons” I had shared with other flutists can easily apply to those of us in today’s business world.

What follows are 10 of the many memorable quotes I remember from Louis Moyse, followed by my translations. To apply the lessons to business life, I have added just a few words to my original writing and have shown them in parentheses.

  1. “This is your territory; mark it!” — Find your place in the (business) world and make the most of it!
  2. “Start from nothing. Then, allow yourself to grow.” — Make knowledge and self-improvement your lifelong quest.
  3. “Don’t be a flutist; it’s much more important to be a musician.” — Look at the details, certainly, but don’t forget to focus on the broader (business) picture. Think strategically.
  4. “It may be marked ‘Grave’ but it’s not necessarily about death!”— Don’t make things out to be worse than they really are.
  5. “You must learn to be your own teacher.” — You are responsible for your own destiny. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
  6. “You need to suffer!”— With (business) experience comes understanding.
  7. “Be more free, like a sheep. Sometimes it helps not to have too much brains (sic).” — Don’t over-think things; trust your (business) instincts.”
  8. “There is no such thing as ‘instant flute.’ You have to work at it!” — Success (in music or business) is not supposed to come easily.
  9. “Sometimes, the most difficult thing is to do nothing.” — Some things (in business) are best left alone.
  10. “Make it simple.” — Clear straightforward (business) communication has a power all its own.

by Rebecca Cochran

Quality Over Quantity

LessIsMore.jpg

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Choose quality over quantity.” It’s often used in a consumer-oriented context, i.e., if we buy a few high-quality items (shoes, bathroom towels or furniture), those items will last longer and bring us more satisfaction than if we purchase a greater quantity of lower-quality goods. In fact, I can hear my dad’s voice, saying, “Less is more” and I still believe him.

Yet, “quality over quantity” also applies to how we work, how we play and how we practice.

On the work front, as a business owner, I definitely subscribe to the business model of “Less is more.” That is, I am happier (and more successful) working with a fewer number of clients at any given time. Rather than saying, “yes” to every client and project that comes along, I’ve learned to be selective, allowing myself the time to really get to know my clients and their needs. And, since I’m not overcommitted, I’m able to provide them a higher quality of service.

I can parlay this to my social life, as well. By choosing my friends carefully, I can pretty much assure that my leisure time is spent wisely. A few smart, interesting friends who challenge me and make me better are all I need.

As a marketing consultant, I have worked with business owners in a wide variety of industries. Typically, I encourage companies to limit their service offerings.

Whether on your website or in your sales pitch, instead of listing every single service you can possibly provide, my recommendation is to focus. Focus on a few key products or services that represent your core. Focus on the offerings that you do best and that you enjoy doing. Not only will you deliver at a higher quality, you’ll make the buying process easier for your prospects.

In today’s highly competitive world, less is definitely more.

by Rebecca Cochran