Simplicity is grossly underrated...
Simplicity is grossly underrated.
Simplicity as a personal trait or simplicity as an approach to work is mostly undermined and perceived as low value by people.
Conventional wisdom gives the impression that simplicity is a lazy effort, an unthoughtful spontaneous act.
I also faced this kind of situation in my professional career.
Once in a group meeting, there was deliberation about who can handle a difficult emerging situation.
While someone in the team pointed towards me, my manager told me that I was too simple a guy to handle such a complex situation.
Today, I can tell you that my approach with simplicity has forged my relationship with my friends, colleagues, or customers more strongly.
My approach to simplify complex issues and address them has yielded results.
I know you have seen how people make things complex in communication, dealing with people, problem-solving, etc., etc.
Everybody knows that we like simplicity.
We like to use products that are simple to use.
We like to listen to things that are easy and simple to understand.
We get overwhelmed by doing incredibly complex things.
Then why do people not practice simplicity?
Because it is hard to be simple.
Simplicity is a difficult pursuit.
Great personalities like Gandhi or Mandela had unparalleled simplicity.
Not all can be as simple as Mother Teressa or Azim Premji.
Great products are simple and elegant in design, simple to use.
Not all products can be Apple.
Great songs are simple enough for people to hum.
Steve Jobs once said
“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
He could crack the formula, that is why a simple digital music player called iPod becomes a phenomenal hit.
He always approached design that way; how design can be made elegant and simple, and that is why they came up with the first GUI-based desktop Lisa.
In communication, people often refer to KISS — keep it simple, stupid.
When communication is simple and can be understood by the lowest denominator in the target audience, it becomes highly effective.
Can you imagine a better slogan than “ I have a dream” for Martin Luther King Jr for his movement?
Some of the most effective marketing campaigns are stupidly simple — a song called “ washing power Nirma’’ took on the rival giants and garnered huge market share.
Coke created history with the “Open Happiness ”campaign.
Why is simplicity such a virtue?
Because we human beings can’t process multiple complex variables simultaneously and very efficiently.
If you hear simple things which are relatable to you, it becomes easier to create a mental picture and remember.
Assume we are given to remember a complex algebraic equation; most of us will fail to remember.
But if our grandmom told us a beautiful linear fairy tale, we all will remember it.
Our brain’s attention space is limited, and we can not pay attention to multiple complex things simultaneously.
That is why you can not text while driving.
We can even not juggle too many simple things together.
Study shows that we if we do multi-tasking, beyond a point that could be grossly sub-optimal.
When we have a big complex task, and then we break it into simple small pieces of work, the work becomes manageable, and we can do it efficiently.
When we imbibe design principles based on simplicity, we will always have an effort to do more with less, and that’s how the system becomes more efficient.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that necessary may speak.” -Hans Hofman
Simplicity is the best strategy almost all the time.
When we approach things with simplicity, the creative process and work become easier to understand.
It becomes easy to recognize and easy to use, particularly for the products; it is easy to expand the context and reach more people.
The question is how to pursue simplicity?
As a personal trait, I guess people who are self-assured, self-aware, and driven by bigger purpose mostly practice simplicity.
They do not have to flaunt what they are not.
Simplicity towards work, particularly in a creative field, is about removing things that are not adding value and sticking to the core.
In logical and complex works, simplicity entails understanding the nuances and interplays between different pieces and expressing them in simple, rational ways.
To me, more than anything, simplicity is a source of happiness.
When you can avoid complexity in life and work, that's is a lot of peace of mind.
What do you think?
Can you make your life a little simpler?