By any measure, I’m a pretty analytical person, someone who deals in facts and data. I studied science; I manage a small business; I’m very fond of excel spreadsheets; I don’t believe in the afterlife.
Despite all this, I never pass up an opportunity to read my horoscope every morning. Of course, I only ever believe the good ones. The less favourable ‘horrorscopes’ are obviously nonsense, suggestive only of an outcome that is completely changeable by the mere fact that I’ve considered it as a possibility and I can now adjust my behaviour accordingly.
Recently I’ve been thinking about why my fondness for horoscopes (my fondness for excel spreadsheets is surely self-explanatory), and I realised that I like starting the day with a fresh lens—some words of wisdom that provide me with a positive thought to frame the day, a new perspective to help identify an opportunity, or a reminder to be generous and not to judge too quickly.
Some of these horoscopes have made it into a book where I record things that have resonated with me over the years, whether it’s a horoscope, a beautifully crafted sentence from a book I’ve read, or even a snippet from an overheard conversation. (I’ve only learned recently that these types of books, known as Commonplace books, have actually been around for hundreds of years).
Today I wanted to share with you not a horoscope, but something else from my Commonplace book—my favourite go-to words when I’m dealing with an icky problem that just doesn’t want to be solved. They come from ‘Bombproof‘, a novel by Australian author Michael Robotham.
That’s right, they are made-up words from a made-up character that I use for my real-world problem solving. It’s what I mean when I refer to fictional words with real-world swagger.
Here’s to the power of words.
BTW If you aren’t familiar with Michael’s work and psychological thrillers are your thing, you are missing out. If you want delve into the world of ‘thinking around corners’, I particularly like this overview from Dave Fleming.