Six words. Too many? Too few?

Minimalism seems to be de rigueur when it comes to words. From putting together your personal promotional spiel in the form of an elevator pitch to one line status updates and 140 character tweets, it seems less is definitely more in the world of communication.

However, such brevity is nothing new. In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a complete story using only six words. You won’t be surprised to hear that he succeeded. His heart-breaking story read: ‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.’

Could we write our own stories in such a way? Is there any merit to it? I think so: not only is it entertaining (I whiled away a 40 minute train delay crafting six word memoirs for all sorts of people) but when you’re creating one for yourself, you need to really focus on what you want to express. There’s no space for superfluity; no room for rambling – just six words.

Thinking over some of the events of this year suggested the following to me:

Liam Fox: Can my best friend come too?

News of the World: Hacked phones led to sacked hacks.

Kate Middleton: Sometimes fairytales really do come true.

Pippa Middleton: This dress looks great from behind.

National Lottery winners: Chose winning numbers: life changed overnight.

Of course, this was a bit of an avoidance tactic on my part: thinking of quips about others prevented me from having to come up with my own six word memoirs. After a little reflection, I came up with these:

About my work – Making a difference makes my day.

About my personality – I’m not talking because I’m listening.

Or maybe – Introverted, not anti-social; curious, not nosey.

Finally, I distilled my life in general into six words:

More fun than I ever imagined.

Today’s pebble for you:  what would your six word memoirs be?

I’d love to hear them.


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?

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2 Responses to Six words. Too many? Too few?

  1. ashley brookes says:

    Six words always gives more imagination.

    Me: Quietly Confident, aspiring athlete, IT day-job.

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