Tuesday, September 12, 2017



“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

  • Steve Jobs


It is basically impossible to find one definition for simplicity. Most of the English dictionaries offer different definitions. You need to define it many ways. First, simplicity can mean something that has no complicated parts or complicated details. Second, the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do. Third, it can be defined: The quality or state of consisting as few parts as possible.

Everything should be as simple as possible, but no more simpler.

People are the most smartest living things in this planet and also the most complex ones. The world is so complicated that even the smartest experts have trouble in understanding their own discipline. Complexity has created enormous amounts of waste to everyday life. To reduce the waste you have to simplify your life. Simplifying should not go too far, because some of the complexity is necessary to be as effective as possible. Increasing complexity has a critical mass, in which the cost of added complexity exceeds the usefulness of extra complexity. Everybody needs to find this point in what they want to achieve.

Oversimplifying is not going to give us the results you want. You cannot be depended on one thing only, not in any part of your life. Keeping things too simple, believing there is only one solution or factor that has an effect on any bigger thing is a major cause for many failures. You can see lots of experts with excellent reputations believing in a single factor in big things like growing multibillion dollar businesses, for example, technological competitive advantage as an only source for growing Apple.

You should simplify with using simple rules and systems. You can add simple rules into your life, like do not eat after 10 pm. There can be rules for anything in life. It is pretty easy to invent the rules, but it is harder to apply them all the time. Therefore, you need systems like habits, skills, or some decision making systems, which make complex things simpler. Systems have normally less waste. You have to remember that systems are created from different parts. The amount of parts should always be minimal for the reason the system which is created and these parts should also be as simple as possible.

Multitasking: doing a shittier job, and being happier about it

People live in societies where the myth of doing many things at once is a sign of success. This is a wrong assumption and has no scientific base. Brains can do only one task at a time. What really happens is that when you are ”multitasking” you are rapidly changing from one task to another. Every time you do it, there is a cost. You get less efficient every time You change your task. What really happens in your brain is that multitasking creates a dopamine addiction feedback loop. This loop rewards your brain for losing focus and keeps it looking for external stimulation. Because of this loop, you get empty rewards from getting hundreds of small tasks done. The opportunity for multitasking is enough to harm your cognitive performance. What really happens is that you get more satisfaction for doing a shittier job.

You have also some metabolical costs from multitasking. Changing tasks makes your brain to burn up oxygenated glucose which is the same fuel for keeping your focus on tasks. Fast and continual changing from one task to another causes the brain burn the glucose so fast that you feel disoriented and exhausted after a short while. You have used all the nutrients in our brain. Your cognitive and physical performances suffer from this. You use a lot less energy, when you are focusing on one task at a time. All the changes in your tasks are also decisions. In multitasking, you don´t even recognize it. Decisions deplete your neural and physical resources too. Little decisions appear to use as much of your neural resources as the big decisions. You should arrange our environments in a way that your possibilities for distractions are as small as possible, especially, when you are doing the most important tasks of the day.

Information overload comes with too many parameters

There is always a maximum amount of information you can process within a period of time. Increasing the amount of information over this limit, you cannot function in the most efficient way. Human brains evolved in an environment, in which the amount of information was minimal compared to the World you live in.The capability of your brains is limited. The maximal amount of parameters, which can be either attributes of choice or the number of alternatives, is ten. After that limit, the quality of the decisions gets weaker. There is not so much difference after ten paramaters have been reached. It doesn´t really matter if there are over ten or even twenty different parameters or alternatives. There are many ways to reduce this number. For example, you can apply systems, in which the amount of alternatives have been reduced before, we even start making a decision.

All this is just a tip of an iceberg about the power of simplicity. It is hard to simplify your life and all the other related actions to an optimal level of simplicity. Everyone would do it, if it were simple, but it is easier to have too much simplicity or complexity. All the masters of their fields of expertise are able to get close to optimal level. Most people cannot do it and they live their lives with lots of waste, whether it means about using their time or efforts. Reaching an optimal level of simplicity should be goal to all of us. It is a skill you should try to learn.


Poor Charlies Almanack, Peter D. Kaufmann, Charlie T. Munger
Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz
The Organized Mind, Daniel Levitin
Insanely Simple, Ken Segall


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