Keep it simple…

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity; but I would give my life for the simplicity the other side of complexity.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

We humans are great at creating complexity. We assign worth and value to most complicated things, instead of seeking to find ways to simplify and distill into what is truly most important.

There is such beauty in simplicity. When you can break past the tendency to complicated and seek to understand the essence of what truly matters. I greatly admire those that can drill down and identify what is important and dispense with all the superfluous B.S. that we create in an attempt to justify our efforts.

How does one create this clarity in your life? In the moments within the day where the lure of complexity can be an irresistible draw? I am no expert in this arena for sure, I find myself caught in the vortex of complication far too often. However, I am intensely focused on growing and improving in this area of life.

There are a million questions or tactics one might employ in an effort to simplify (see, making it complicated is easy!) and there is probably no one solution for every situation or every person. For me, I am focused on seeking to answer one question. “What is the most important thing to focus on RIGHT NOW?” I have found that this provides great clarity, and with clarity comes simplicity. It is almost as though the lens of complexity is removed and all the non-value added things fall away.

Because complexity can be so pervasive this is a question I find myself focusing on moment to moment throughout the day. It is the question I ask myself during the pause in a conversation before I respond (when I remember to do it…) Is it working? Yes. When I remember to keep it simple that is…

Solving for simplicity…

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

Charles Mingus

There is such beauty in simplification.  However the natural order of things seems to be focused on making things more complicated.  In business it seems to be how folks justify their efforts and contributions.  I know I’m guilty far too often of this.  

It is fun to solve complicated problems, those are the things that stir the heart and engage the mind.  Though in recent years I will fully admit that true joy has come from finding ways to make the complex simple.  Maybe it comes from being a father and needing to find ways to explain things to my kids.  Perhaps it is wisdom that comes through experience and hard knocks.  Regardless, bringing clarity and focus through simple and uncluttered thinking adds so much value to life. 

Here are some sample questions to reflect when thinking through how to make the complicated simple:

  • What is the single most important thing to focus on?
  • What is the easiest way to solve this problem?  Fastest?  Best?
  • Can I explain the solution is on a single page?
  • What are the questions that WILL be asked?  How can I answer them as directly as possible?  

 

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