Keep Things Simple

Today, I was called for jury duty.  Upon arrival, we sat for 30 minutes, then we watched a 12 minute video for juror orientation. The voiceover kept cracking me up, however, as they were unable to pronounce “voir dire” correctly.  (Think “vor dire” as in Dire Straits).  If you don’t believe me, watch the video.

Anyways,we kept moving rooms, filling out forms, being segregated into different piles of humanity and I thought “couldn’t this be simpler?” and made some snide comment under my breath about the efficiency of government.

While I was sitting there being frustrated, I realized that over complicated things, maybe more than anything, really ruin my day.  Then I realized that I was an arrogant ass, because I’m not sure my ecosystem is all that more simple or efficient most of the time, either. 

I could write tomes on all of the efficiencies that I see every day – the same ones that I’m sure you don’t like either.  I think all this artificial complexity probably plays back into our lives in that we start to overcomplicate things that don’t need the added brain damage.  This includes both professional and personal contexts and the sad thing is that we have so little control on most of these situations.

But we should rethink about how we do things when we do have control. 

Thinking back over my career – and specifically even if I just think deeply about the last few  weeks of meetings that I’ve had -I think the number one piece of advice that I’ve given is “keep it simple.” Whether it’s a business model, financing plan, product user interface, or a plan to deal with human conflict, simple is best the vast majority of the time. 

And likewise, when I think back to those seminal moments of mentorship that I’ve been fortunate to receive, there has usually been a component to simply what I was trying to accomplish.

So, there’s my fortune cookie advice for the day: “keep it simple.”  Likely you and those around you will be happier for it.