The criticality of limiting “important”

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We face a growing danger in the world today and it doesn’t involve war, global warming, global cooling, or people with overly rigid opinions on anything. It is the growing use of the word “important.”

Actually, my bet is that the over-use of “important” goes much farther back than recent history. However, the difference is that I wasn’t around to be annoyed by it 40 years ago. It is important if you are designing a web application to ensure that the outcome is valued by end users no matter how slick the coding is. It is relatively less important to choose which shade of blue to make a header bar.

My solution: A tax on the overuse of “important” or its variants. I’d start with businesses – throughout a given year, businesses may only designate 5 projects as “important” and anything over that number increases the tax that they must pay. Within a given project, there can only be five elements of the project deemed to be “important” to the project’s success.

The designation can be placed at the beginning of the year or any time during the year. Subsequently, the executive team, board, and other key individuals may only refer to officially designated projects as “important.” As evidenced by the savings rate, success rate of dieting, and other activities involving discipline, we are not very good at self-discipline, and the costs are significant.

At first, I would make this a voluntary program – businesses could sign up in order to save themselves from, well, themselves.

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