Methodicalness (April 22)


“You know my methods, Watson” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

WE MAY NOT CARE TO BECOME AS METHODICAL AS SHERLOCK HOLMES, BUT MOST OF US COULD STAND TO BE A BIT MORE METHODICAL THAN WE ARE. Especially when dealing with the more important matters in life, we need to have trained ourselves how to proceed in a careful, orderly manner. In most of the more significant areas of life, there is just no way around the fact that being somewhat methodical is conducive to getting better results.

Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “There is always a best way of doing everything, even if it be to boil an egg.” But the best way to do something isn’t always apparent to the casual observer, and so if being methodical helps us to find the best way, then the more important the activity is, the bigger the benefit we get from being methodical.

But while there’s some virtue in being methodical ourselves, there’s a danger in being too judgmental of other people’s methods. None of us likes to be micromanaged (“directed or controlled in a detailed, and often meddlesome, manner”), and when someone has been given a job to do, we’re wise to let them choose their own methods for getting the desired result. Each of us works in a somewhat different way, and what may seem like a foolish lack of method to us may turn out to be more methodical than we thought. Shakespeare’s line may be appropriate: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

All of those who have to deal with us from day to day deserve the very best we can give them. And if being at least a little more methodical would help us give them our best, then that’s a trait we’d do well to adopt. This is true, especially, of heads of households. Who wants to live in a household where the head of it is totally chaotic, never knowing what’s going on or what comes next?

The human mind is an amazingly ingenious instrument. It can not only see what needs to be done; it can figure out a method by which it can be done. We need to appreciate the creativity and methodicalness of our minds and use these qualities carefully. If “madness” is the norm for us, we might try introducing a little “method.”

While Honey lies in Every Flower, no doubt,
It takes a Bee to get the Honey out.
(Arthur Guiterman)

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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