Thursday, August 18, 2005

The 80/20 Rule of Imagination

They say that everything breaks down to the 80/20 rule—that in any endeavor 80 percent of the load is carried by 20 percent of the structure. For example, 80 percent of the regular readers of this blog are 20 percent of the total number of people who visit. I've been noticing that the 80/20 Rule of Imagination has reversed itself since I was a kid.

In the olden days when I was short, the world was a really big place. We didn’t have so much information, but we had plenty of imagination. You could say that everything we did was based on 80% imagination and 20% information.

We imagined cell phones. The cell phones we imagined had features that today’s cell phones can’t touch: They were free; everybody had one; you didn’t need to remember numbers—simply saying “ring, ring, ring” would get the party you wanted every time. They were independent of telephone companies. We didn’t have to interrupt anything to answer a call. There was no voice mail. Returning calls was out of the question. In fact, phones just disappeared when we hung up, and they appeared again when we needed them. We were in charge of them.

We imagined cars that could take us anywhere. According to our rules if we wanted they could, and often did, fly us to other planets. Or suddenly with a trick of the light, we were aliens on our own planet, and cars were machines that ate people—you could actually see the eaten people inside the cars. It was amazing. We would steal our way on the trail of the master garage, looking for the car in charge, waiting for the moment we could bravely say the immortal words, “Take me to your leader.” On other days, cars became fodder for the latest game show. We’d pick colors and take our places in front of someone’s house to see who could by force of will get ten cars of their color to drive past first. No organization, no prizes, just our imaginations and the information from kid conversations.

Now I’ve got a world of information inside this little laptop. Try as I might to have it otherwise, my life is easily 80% information and 20% imagination. That 20% imagination is taken up with practical uses: wondering why a site isn’t loading; imagining the person who put together this blog; or trying to solve a structure problem in my writing. Occasionally I’ll indulge myself by wondering what percent of their time the people at Technorati spend not talking about the web, but even that wondering is about information.

The 80/20 rule has become 80% information, 20% imagination for me.

I hardly ever take my imagination out on the creativity autobahn to see what it can do, at least not in public. Probably just as well to keep it private, more often than not, it confuses people when I get imaginative. Still my goal is to switch that 80/20 rule back to the way it used to be.

Play will be the work of my life again. Imagine that.

—me strauss Letting me be


Theresa said...

Just want to let you know i appreciate your honest opinion on stuff on life. Chanced upon your blog, and after 'buy this' blogs yours came across refreshing. Thanks for making the world of blog more appealing. God Bless.

rhein said...

can it be life is 20% information, 80% imagintation, at least sometimes?

Kelley Bell said...

Love that concept!

I firmly believe that we manifest everything into reality through mental intent.

Your world can be whatever you dream.

Yes indeed...I Can Imagine That!

ME Strauss said...

As they say, "You go girl!" and I'll be right there with you. In fact, let's go together. What fun!
I'll be by to visit you in a few.
Sounds to me like a frienship in the making.


for_the_lonely said...

Hello ME,
Thanks for your kind words at my blog. I am not sure how you came across it, as this is my first visit to your blog. I think that you are an extremely prolific writer, and I am glad that you put your wonderful talents to such good use. Thanks again for your seems like I have a lot of catching up to do here! :)

Hugs to you,

Gone Away said...

Ah, but I'm so well balanced, I'm 50/50... :D

ME Strauss said...

To be 50/50 . . . don't you have to worry constantly that getting a bit off and you might just tip over? ;0


ME Strauss said...

I appreciate the visit.
I wander aimlessly around the blogosphere and use my imagination to appear here and there. :)

I did so enjoy reading your blog.
Do keep writing. It's like play the guitar. The more you practice the more you learn. I'm learning more every day.

sisyphus75 said...

Hmmmmm ... interesting. :)

ME Strauss said...

Now what might that mean? ;]

I know you can write better than that. I've seen it.


Mark said...

I'm in! I'm ready to make the 80/20 ‘switch’ myself Liz.

Case in point, in my late teens early twenties I was a prolific poet. I wrote passionately, incessantly. I just couldn’t stop. Everything inspired me. I was even published on numerous occasions. Then… life. Stuff. Junk. You know the usual life-sucking responsibilities of growing up happened. My kids, now in their late teens and early twenties themselves don’t even know that man existed. Sad.

But I’ve made a decision to re-claim that long dormant passion once again. Yes, I’m going to start writing poetry again. I am a poet at heart anyway. I’m flush with the passion and my life has been infused anew with the spark to create. Keep inspiring me Liz.

ME Strauss said...

Great, I'll send you your 65th Crayon Membership Card! I want my son to know that life is about living and being alive--not about becoming your job and worrying about meetings and benevolent dictators who look for your weaknesses.

That's exactly what this blog is about. Blogging to counteract cellphones in elevators and the rsst of the noise--a place to hide out and breathe.

Come be inspired whenever you like.
My friends say I'm always online.


The Taorist said...

Hmmm....Pareto's Principle.

Reality is 100% true.

The reality in our minds are much different. Yes. I do agree with what you are saying.

The older one gets, the less imaginative we are.

However, there will be a point in our lives that imagination will be the front runner again.

Let's wait.

Or we could let it happen.

ME Strauss said...

Hello Taoist,
Welcome to Letting me be . . .
Thank you for visiting this piece, it's one of my favorites and i don't get here often.

I decided not to wait. I take my imagination out whenever I can. In fact, I've thought about starting a blog at which I give imagination classes. :) That would be a new niche. I wonder whether anyone would show up. I suppose I could imagine they are there. :)


Oleg said...

I'll remember to put on the list next time I invite for an imagination event. I think we all want it - but we are being told constantly, at least in our liberalist-protestant section of the world, that we must tell what the use of it will be. So you find imagination being held down by actualisation, by the "prove that it's useful" claim. But wait a minute - imagination is useful in itself, not because of its result, but because of doing it. Did we forget that?
Anyway, you're on the guest list.

ME Strauss said...

Thank you Oleg,
I can imagine it already. I know that it will be wonderful.

zaphod said...

I can see it already a world where choclate isnt fatning.. a beautiful world..

i like ur world..

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, zaphod
I think the world is in part at least what you see as after you lay down your pain and look again.

It is a very beautiful place. Sometimes the people in it are a little stinky. :)

Leo Viëtor said...

The famous Pareto principle.

80 % of the input is responsible for 20 % of the output.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Leo,
That's it!