Some people take simple things and make them complicated. As we become wiser we take complicated things and make them simpler. This is what turns a good communicator, into a great communicator.
We know what it’s like to have a professor wow us with complex ideas. We might be impressed, but we remain disconnected. That’s why we appreciate talented teachers who take a complicated idea, give us the big picture, and broaden our ability to grasp the topic.
So here’s the question. Are you simplifying your life?
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo Da Vinci
Here are 6 life-changing benefits from simplifying.
1. Simplicity creates room for growth. As humans we obsess with collecting stuff. When the house fills up, we put the car outside and the stuff in the garage. When the garage is full we buy a storage unit. Getting rid of stuff in our lives and schedules isn’t an option that automatically surfaces. It takes energy to do it. And if we don’t make room, it’s hard for something better to come in. Pruning is necessary for growth.
2. Simplicity aligns with truth. Life can seem complex. Yet in reality we are the ones that complicate it. Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin starred in the movie, “It’s Complicated.” But the thing that complicated it were the characters in the movie! Life is simple. As a result the simple things end up being the right things. It takes work to sift out the confusion and get to the nuggets. The work comes in the search for what’s true. And since our lives collect clutter, effort is needed to clear it out. Simple and true go together.
3. Simplicity leads to satisfaction. At its core, simplicity is satisfying. It’s settling. It provides happiness and peace. There is no peace in complexity – only unnecessary burden and stress. Yes – some things are more complex than others, but satisfaction comes from keeping them as simple as possible.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not too simple.” — Albert Einstein
As we live simply, we help others to simply live.
4. Simplicity clarifies who we are. It makes us more secure, more in control, more clear in our thinking, and less anxious. And even though the forces of clutter push against us, there should not be anything complicated about being ourselves. It’s like concentric circles. Simplicity helps move us from “what we do”, to “how we do it”, to “why we do it.” Simple and “why” work hand and hand. The closer we get to the “why”, the less complicated life becomes. It’s not being simplistic. It’s being simple. Simplistic is naïve. Simple is profound. Simplicity helps quarantine the clutter so we can more clearly see the main thing.
“The main thing is to be sure the main thing remains the main thing.” — Unknown
5. Simplicity increases productivity. The engineer, Kelly Johnson, helped create “Skunk Works” at Lockheed in the mid 1900’s. He coined the phrase, K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). There was no intent to imply that engineers were stupid. In fact, it meant just the opposite! His point was that the jet aircraft they were designing must be repairable by the average mechanic in the field under combat conditions with the available tools. His point?
“Things work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex.” — Kelly Johnson, Lockheed
This is true of our systems and our lives.
6. Simplicity cultivates contentment. As we clear out, scale down, and sift through, we get to the essentials – and we find they are enough. We realize that the intimate search for wholeness is not found in accumulating more things. Simplifying helps us focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have. Our mindset goes from surviving to thriving. As our lives simmer, we steam off the cravings and craziness that happen by default.
I am discovering that my success is in my simplicity.
How about you?