Most people have at least a few big problems in their life. But the vast majority of life’s problems are the little kind. There are two ways to deal with the little problems.
ROUNDERS: This group rounds things off. A problem that’s a two on a scale of one to ten gets rounded to zero. If a rounder has five problems that are all about a two on a scale of one to ten, he’ll tell you he has no problems.
ACCUMULATORS: Accumulators add up all the little problems until they equal one big problem. If an accumulator has five problems that are each a two on a scale of one to ten, that feels like having one problem that’s a ten.
Rounders are generally happy, because they perceive their lives to be mostly problem-free. Accumulators are often miserable because “nothing is going right.”
Readers of this blog will recognize this as closely related to the 80-20 rule about a job well done. Rounders are pleased with a job that’s 80% right because that rounds to 100%. Accumulators take the 20% that’s wrong and add it to the other things that are wrong and suddenly their world is falling apart.
Experts say there are many forms of intelligence: verbal, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, artistic, emotional, etc. I don’t know if there’s a separate category for rounding versus accumulating, but there should be. Or maybe it is part of the larger category of simply knowing what is important and what isn’t.
I’ve often said I have only one special skill. I can look at complicated situations and pluck out the thing that matters. That’s the secret to good writing and good comics. I’ll give you an example. Yesterday I was creating a Dilbert comic that will run in August. In the first panel, Dogbert needed to describe his job as VP of marketing. How do you do that in the fewest words? Here was my solution.
Click it to expand.
Clearly that would never get published, so I ended up changing turd to road kill. It’s not nearly as funny, but life is compromise.
Your assignment for today is to describe your own job in one sentence, preferably in a humorously derogatory way.