The Complexity of Simplicity


Bonjour… yep, I’m in one of my international moods again.

I know, I know, it’s true… I can be just a little on the strange side at times.

I may be strange but not in a bad way.  At least when I meet people they don’t seem too intent on needing to get a chair or obstacle between me and them.

My strangeness has a certain innocence that appeals to the simple.  Although chit chatting at a party may not be my forte’ I tend to do pretty well with a group of kids.

I don’t mind being simple or appealing to the simple.  In fact, there’s a lot of power in simplicity.


They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong.
Ronald Reagan


In reality, simple is good, very good.

Now here’s the kicker, simple does not mean easy.

I tend to believe it is the clutter in our heads that makes things more complex than they need to be.

The clutter can be an assortment of things such as preconceived notions, personal baggage, influence of others, the environment or setting, the way we are taught, and especially our EMOTIONS.


The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.
Warren Buffett


A person’s inability (or willingness as we will see later) to clear the clutter and latch onto the core elements is overwhelming and paralyzing.

The clutter seems to fragment the core issue and magnify it into a thousand pieces as if mentally you are looking through a kaleidoscope.

But unlike the kaleidoscope, the picture has neither the pattern nor the beauty.  It is a cacophony of fragments piled together making it impossible to sort.

Very honestly, I believe most things tend to be pretty simple.  Please don’t hear me say that there are no complex issues, there are.  But what I am saying is that we tend to make far too many things much too complicated.

So I work hard at keeping things as simple as possible.

I by no means have mastered simplicity.  I’m not that clever or smart.

But if I can keep in touch with the direction I am going, the overarching goals, and my core values, I tend to do pretty good.

But if you loose touch with who you are, what you believe, and what’s important… uh… you’re in deep do do.


Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Albert Einstein


I would like to ask a question.  What is the situation you are currently facing that seems overwhelmingly complex?

For a moment step back from the clutter, especially the emotion, of the situation and look at it in a very sterile way… like you are a third party observer.

Without over simplifying your situation allow me to offer a couple of questions to ask.

What makes sense?  What is the right thing to do?

Generally, if I am honest with myself, I really know what I should do.  The trouble is, I don’t want to do it because it’s difficult.

Don’t confuse difficult with complex.  And remember… simple does not mean easy.

The scary reality is this.  The greatest threat to simplicity is that it is easier to hide in the clutter of complexity when things are difficult.

It takes hard work to be simple.

See you Monday.


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