Smashing Paradigms – Less is More

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”



Our modern world is overwhelmed with data. We have unfathomable amounts of data, which we must parse for information. We have so much data, yet so little knowledge. Where we do find knowledge of value, we seek and crave for that even rarer of things, that of wisdom.

I define wisdom as being something concise that, “as soon as you hear it, you feel like you always knew it”.

To this, I say to you, less is more.


In being with another person, speak less, listen more. In playing music, the virtuoso plays less, expresses more.

Yesterday, in “Listening, your Superpower”, I wrote :

As we practice listening, we can go deeper and deeper in listening and learn more, be of service more. The French composer Debussy said: “La musique, c’est ce qu’il y a entre les notes”.  The poetically translated English version is “Music is the space between the notes”. The French more literally translates to “Music, it is what is between the notes

Ask any music fan for their list of all-time guitar greats, and Stevie Ray Vaughn will be on there. Spend time listening to him and he can play staggeringly fast and complex guitar solos… and yet.. sometimes less is more.

Also on the list of the greatest composer and producers of pop songs ever is Nile Rodgers, who produced one of the greatest pop albums of all time, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie. Stevie Ray Vaughn is no longer with us, but Nile is still touring and grooving. Nile recently tweeted :

A moment that will stay with me forever is sitting outside Murrayfield Stadium with friends in mid-summer 1983 (aged 17, no less!) waiting excitedly for a few hours before the David Bowie “Serious Moonlight” Tour concert that evening.

The band came on for their soundcheck and the amazing arrangements Nile Rodgers had written came out. The bass line of Cat People, the rhythm guitar throughout, and the lead guitar part in Let’s Dance. Gives me #goosebumps to this day.

I give you the rehearsal tape of Let’s Dance featuring “the sparsest most brilliant few notes ever”. Nile Rodgers on rhythm, SRV on lead.

Less is more.

Book a diagnostic meeting

Subscribe for Inspiration, Ideas, Tools

I offer you two newsletters seeking to offer inspiration to action, ideas and tools for leaders.

Open Leadership – Digest
Big Game Advisors – Ideas into Action