Definition: studied carelessness, especially as a characteristic quality or style of art or literature.
Origins: is an Italian word originating from Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it".
Why is it important?
It's heavily important if you're interested in exerting influence in any sort of capacity, whether it be to make a sale, win a friend, rally a movement or appear as a leader.
If you make it look easy and effortless, that's attractive.
When you appear to exert great effort, that's not as appealing so it detracts from your achievements.
In business, if the problem seems challenging enough, you'll always gravitate to the easiest, quickest, fastest, least "expensive" solution if it will solve your problem without you having to do much.
The thing is, it's gotta catch your eye, it's gotta show promise it can solve your particular problem, it's got to be easy to understand, intuitive to implement, and if you want to sell it, it's got to be scarce in some way, unique in some way, and low or no risk for your end user to get involved with.
Sometimes you want the specific tool that does the job, however, you'll make do with a swiss army knife if it's the more readily available option and can still get the job done.
That is, of course, unless there is an inherent bigger trade off benefit to finding and using a specific tool.
Consider sales tools.
What's better a long form sales letter, a video sales letter, or something else?
Well, if you're sending something in the mail then I think you'll agree it's probably a lot easier to simply write or type out the letter than it is to get someone to watch a video, right?
Even if you mailed a dvd to someone...
The hurdle of getting them to watch it "now" is so great and the time lapse between getting them to do something is so long that it probably would have been more effective to just send them a letter, right?
Maybe or maybe not.
However, if you send out an email directing someone to a video...now that sounds a great deal easier, no?
It might even be faster to produce and send out than writing a long winded letter, perhaps, right?
In this instance the use of a video, although seems difficult, the truth is, it's easy as heck to produce and it's so versatile that the rewards can seem completely unrealistic.
How do I know?
I've used video in so many ways that most people, at least to my knowledge, haven't thought to use, that I think it's kind of an understated lever that can be used, almost like magic, when employed "the right way."
Now what's the right way?
Convention would have you believe that it's the way the majority of people use it, right?
That's where this stuff gets fun.
Convention is the very thing you have to challenge, without really going against it.
That, might not make any sense, right now, but I promise, soon it will.
The analogy I'd try to make here is no matter what you're doing, we're always struggling against some forces that make your task so much harder like a Salmon swimming upstream.
The trick is learning how to use and manipulate those forces in way that makes your efforts easier or at least seem easier.
With consistent practice, it actually becomes easier, and all of a sudden you'll find others wanting to know how to do it like you.
So what the hell is the point of this?
1. Learn to make your efforts look easy, no matter how long it took you to be able to make it look so, as in, don't reveal your secret.
2. Learn how to repurpose a thing or way of doing something that's counter to convention and this can allow you to stake your claim as a reliable source and authority of a matter and also helps you foster your creative innovation.
Alright, some examples?
1. Fosbury Flop - Popularized by Dick Fosbury who innovated the High Jump technique we all have seen and EVERYONE uses today in that sport. Why? It was the most effective. He tested convention, and it worked.
Thank goodness it wasn't called the Dick Flop.
2. Colin Theriot brought this one to my attention and all I can remember is though the shit this guy is doing looks hard...he makes it look easy. I believe he calls this "unconcious competence" and even though it seems hard, even as he's doing it, he makes it seem easy and can become easy for those that will follow his lead.
3. Want more diverse examples? Just read
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow
Those should keep you busy thinking about what I ranted about above, and I hope you found this useful in whatever you're trying to accomplish.
Alright, alright, that's all I got for now, and I hope you found it useful.
By the way, Video really is a spectacularly versatile tool that can be used in so many ways and with the advent of social media, I really and truly believe you can "close" any type of deal when you use it correctly.
Funny, I should have used video as part of this.
By the way, was this helpful to you or not at all?