Reader that I am and wordsmith I fashion myself to be, I take particular delight in hearing or reading a word used in an extraordinary manner. Such was the case recently when someone was credited for his copiousness. I’ve been long familiar with someone recording, for instance, a copious set of notes, but I had never thought of copiousness as a personal quality. Indeed it is, and an important quality at that.
When we think of the copious set of notes, we obviously think of a lot of notes having been taken. The word copious means plentiful in number deriving from the Latin copiosus, from copia, meaning “abundance.” Think of the cornucopia depicted in so many still lifes as symbolic of an abundant harvest.
But when we speak of a person as evidencing copiousness, we speak of someone who is abounding in matter, thoughts or words-someone who is a veritable fountain of fluidity, spontaneity, repertoire of expression and observation.
“… I found our speech copious without order, and energetick without rules …” — Samuel Johnson
Note: Quoting the venerable Dr. Johnson, for instance, is one way I deploy my copiousness to curry favor with Richard Glasson and my new colleagues in the U.K.
The one who is distinguished by his or her copiousness can only be so regarded because he or she has a well-loaded mind, filled like a horn of plenty with experiences, images, anecdotes, knowledge, minutiae, subject matter expertise, news, cultural awareness, songs, vocabulary, memories, jokes, stories-you get the idea.
Indeed, possessing copiousness is the only way you get the idea. Every idea.
Ideas don’t emerge from the Baconian scientific process. They spark and explode when some new challenge or puzzlement collides with the copia of your mind. And if there’s no abundance there, then there’s nothing against which opportunity can throw its sparks.
The tragedy of modern work and the way it’s performed is that it encourages us to wear blinders in the mistaken view that they help us make progress against the goal. Plenty of people know a whole lot about the work and tasks immediately in front of them, but sadly they know too little about anything else.
Cultivate copiousness! Read things that have nothing to do with business and marketing. Drink liberally from the chalice of popular culture, but be iconoclastic enough to devote the focus of your attention to things in the periphery of the crowd’s current madness. Read a lake, a seascape or canyon. Be a foodie. Have hobbies. Linger in museums and galleries. Grow things. Watch birds. Watch people. Build Lego palaces with your children or simply on your own. Lift your head from your laptop and use your senses to fill your mind to overflowing just as voraciously as you possibly can.
Only then will people regard you as possessing copiousness. Only then will you be a great creative person. Only then will you be a highly regarded adviser to your clients.
Rick Segal, Chief Executive and Global Practice Leader at b2b agency, gyro