Getting Prolific, Day 14: Like Butter

Are you someone who can set the tone?

In the acoustic guitar world, a common phrase manufacturers, retailers and luthiers will use to describe instruments is, responsive to the lightest touch.

It’s the industry way of saying, this guitar’s sound resonates and sustains really well. When you play it, you will use less effort and finger pressure to produce a solid tone.

To the point where you might have to back off from it a bit, because the notes will be so damn bright.

If you’re fortunate enough to play an instrument like this, there’s nothing quite like it. The ease with which the music expresses, it feels just like butter. And your notes chime like church bells.

Contrast that experience to playing an unresponsive instrument.

Reminds me of the first guitar I bought at a pawn shop for twenty bucks when I was in middle school. The damn thing felt like a canoe. It was exhausting to play, hurt my fingers with every chord transition, made dull buzzing sounds, and barely reverberated any soul back into my body.

What’s interesting is, the concept of being responsive to the lightest touch is something that applies in the nonmusical world. This phrase can describe human motivation.

Because there are individuals who require limited effort and pressure to produce a solid tone. They don’t need heavy direction, they know how to manage themselves, and they see things through with a lot of oversight.

Basecamp, the most successful project management app in the industry, writes about this issue on their blog. Their founder says how their company policy is:

Hire people who are capable of building something from scratch and seeing it through. People who don’t need a lot of handholding or supervision. When you find these people, it frees up the rest of your team to work more and manage less. Because when you leave them alone, they surprise you with how much they’ve gotten done. They are responsive to the lightest touch.

Does that describe your motivation? Are you someone who can set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, and do it by yourself and for yourself?

If so, then no matter how poor the economy is or how steep the competition is, you will have a high probability of getting hired. Because every company needs people who are responsive to the lightest touch. Anchor folks who can show up, maybe need a little nudging here and there, but ultimately manage themselves.

Edison hired inventors for his company in a similar way. His employee philosophy was, find the right man, and then leave him alone.

Edison believed that a minimum amount of interference from top management was critical for his team’s success. His subordinates were given an opportunity to do the job in their own way, with reasonable guidance to keep them in line with general policy.

They were all responsive to the lightest touch.

And that enabled them to create gorgeous and useful music resonated and sustained.

What kind of work do you have to be doing in order to feel like butter?

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Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. CEO/Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.