When to Make a Mess

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Some time ago, at Capitalism Magazine, Jean Moroney of Thinking Directions warned against a common fetish for neatness that often stops productive thinking cold. Fortunately, she also offered the following analogy as both an illustration of the problem and motivation to solve it whenever it crops up:

Messy isn't better than neat, it's a means to neat. Consider the process of organizing a closet. The first step is to take everything out and spread everything out on the floor. Messy, very messy. But this temporary disorder gives you elbow room and a bird's-eye view, so you can more easily decide what to keep, what to throw out, and where you will put everything back so that the end result is neat.
So what if your first stab at a problem you need to think about is messy? As Moroney shows so economically, it's better than not even getting started. So throw some thoughts out on a page, already!

As her brief article and main website indicate, she also has numerous helpful tips on how to proceed once the contents of your mental closet have been emptied.


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