On Simplicity

Simple is hard to do.

What would it look like if it was easy?

Anything hard — it’s probably not worth doing?

What does easy or hard really have to do with making it simple?

3 ideas + 3 questions on simplicity, from me.

Simple is hard to do. Spend less time than you need to, and it will be harder to do than you need it to be. You aim for simplicity. You end up deep in difficulty. You keep going deeper. Here are a few simple thoughts on simplicity.

Subtract simplistically and complexity:

  1. Simplicity not Simplistically. Do not confused the two. Simplistically is about developing surface-level familiarity. Simplicity is about developing mastery, letting it go and getting out of your way. Simplistically is beginner-level execution. Simplicity is virtuoso-level execution.

  2. Depth Beyond Complexity. Simplicity is about depth. Depth is about comfort and familiarity with complexity. Simplicity requires the capacity to clearly and concisely convey complexity, take new perspectives and imagine new meaning. Simplicity is depth beyond complexity.

  3. Subtract, not Add. Conveying complexity clearly and concisely is about reducing it. Adding does not make it more comprehensive. Reduce to the essentials to find the clarity and concision you are seeking.

Hold a dream in mind you are now bringing to life:

  1. Unwilling Simplistically. Where you are showing up simplistically, in pursuit of this dream, why are you unwilling to go deeper?

  2. Letting Go of Mastery. Where you have developed the mastery needed to bring life to your dream, where are you unwilling to transform it into simplicity?

  3. Allowing Simplicity. What is the simplest form you can make of your dream to bring it to life today?

3 insights on simplicity, from others.

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.

For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn't give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.

The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life because most of the damage caused by humans is caused unintentionally.


Join the conversation

or to participate.