Wednesday 4 January 2017

Careful of Precision when its not Needed

If you are into photography or working in the printing and advertising & promotions industries, when I mention cyan or magenta, you would know exactly what I mean - and the exact colours will pop up in your mind's eye. 

And if you are working with fashion retailing, you would also know what the below colours meant:

Teal (No, its not a tael of gold or silver. One of the colours impossible to describe!)

Burgundy (Is it a kind of cognac? Wrong. It's liver red.)

Limon (Colour of lemon? Close, but in pastel)

Laypersons would be like "bei kambings" (clueless little white lambs) to the above "precise" colours.

Their colour vocabulary is limited to the colours of the rainbow, and they just add light or dark in front of these colours or combinations like blue-green to convey what they try to mean.

Which is good enough for everyday conversations.

Decide you want to be vague or precise

You bought a new flat and you want your walls to be painted light blue, your home decorator (if professional) would pin you down with either the ICI or Nippon paint colour swatches with a 4 digit code right?

If not, if you argue the finished colour is not "light blue" enough, how?

But if your friend ask you what's the colour of the sky outside, light blue is good enough as a description.

You can't invent your own precision

OK, if you are into creative outputs, you can. Art is all about pushing limits and barriers.

However, when it comes to dollars and cents, the tax man would frown upon creative redefinition of standard accounting terms. That's why we have auditors and accounting standards to adhere to.

If your business makes crazy bumper profits this current year, you can't all of sudden depreciate the new building you've just bought over one year - just to avoid paying too much taxes.

Similarly, you can't depreciate your fleet of delivery vans over 30 years... I know you need to show some accounting profit as your bonus depended on it. But still...

That's why you can't say Burgundy then explain you meant dark brown.

Precision when its not needed

Now its about the reversed.

Perhaps consciously or unconsciously, we tend to lapsed into this vanity. Perhaps its a natural reflex to project ourselves as more professional than we really need to.

If you use words like Teal or Magenta, readers would not treat you as a casual hobbyist. They will assume you are a serious enthusiast.

Similarly, if you drop precision descriptions like in Pantone colour shades, everyone will apply a professional standard to what you say or do. 
For those who use numbers instead, the equivalent is if you denote numbers up to 2 decimal places, then you must be prepared for others to apply a higher standard on you as opposed to another person who likes to round up numbers into whole numbers.

Parents, this trick is an easy tell to see if you child is Arts (right brained) or Science (left brained) oriented.

Be slightly concerned if you child is sometimes precise and sometimes grey grey.

It may mean he/she is a hybrid which is fantastic news! He/she can run circles around their peers.

Or it could mean your child is too mature for his/her age... So young already trying to be what others expect of him/her...



  1. Hi SMOL,

    I think in precise numbers but communicate in round numbers. Like that how? LOL

    1. LP,

      Well, I think you may need psychiatric help...


      You know what? Amongst all of us here, I find you the hardest to poke.

      Your language and artistic right brain is just as developed as your numerical and binary left brain.

      How to poke you when you are running circles round me?

      I'm glad I got the chance to poke you recently as I noticed you like to rely on your left brain first and fall back to your right brain when you are in your comfort zone.

      Like tracking and measuring our expenses. Once we know our lifestyle habits, there's no need to track and measure where each and every single cent went anymore. Or?

      Once we know we LOVE to read, then it doesn't really matter whether its 30 or 60 books a year.

      Why set goals on the quantity when to a right brained person like me, I would be more interested in whether I've read widely or merely confined myself to one singular subject matter.

      I wouldn't call reading 30 books a year on How to get Rich by Investing as being well read ;)

      But you replied with the magic word: evolve.

      And there and then, I have do my Namaste bow to you:

      I salute the holiness in you :)

  2. Hi SMOL,

    Wah, you raise me up, so I can stand on mountains, you raise me up to walk on stormy seas...but I'm scared you suddenly pull the mountain and remove the seas LOL

    You don't flatter me but continue to catch the butterfly ;)

    Back to the topic, I think precision and 'roundness' is just two ways to convince people. I put on my precision cap when talking to numbers pple and put on my round cap to talk to non-numbers pple (like my wife haha). But my thought process is in numbers, and I'm trying to unlearn that :)

    Share with you:

    This article is right up my alley :)

    1. LP,

      I sly on what?

      If I don't make you feel complacent, how to catch you letting your guard down and poke you next time?

      What do you mean right up your alley? Its right up OUR alley!

      What? Do things without purpose? No goals? No plans? Just for the love of it? Can meh?

      LOL! Let the ants choke on their coffee!

      There's hope!

      I think the days of grasshoppers and butterflies may yet come ;)

  3. The difference lies reaching the Goals or Goals were achieved. The problem lies not with the Goals but the shifting Goal Post.

    1. CW,

      On this point, we are in alignment.

      Goals are mere tools.

      Its the wielder that matters ;)


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