Skipping the nuance

If every discussion around success included questions that probed how we measure it and the trade-offs involved, there would be fewer discussions. It is hard to isolate cause and effect in an issue as complex as success – however we define it.

So, in a world where publishers and advertisers make their money off your attention, it makes sense that everyone skips the nuance. So, we see articles within 500 words or less that tell you –

  • 3 things that successful do in the morning
  • 1 trait that all successful entrepreneurs have
  • 1 trait that explains Elon Musk’s success

and so on.

This could also be a playbook for any content you create. Pick an interesting subject, strip away all the nuance, pick a pretty picture, choose a catchy title, share it all over social media – and, voilà, with a bit of luck, you’ve gotten yourself a winner.

But, is that really winning?

Such narratives are generally unhelpful and often plain dangerous. But, that aside, what of us? Why do we write?

Writing can be many things. It can be a medium with which we drive change. It can feed our soul. With every piece of content we share, we decide whether we want to raise the standard of discussion or lower it. And, we do all of this by putting a piece of ourselves out there.

Some might say that we owe it to ourselves to keep the nuance and discuss those hairy, complex issues.

Others will say you ought to just shoot for the clicks and the temporarily popularity.

As always, our choice.