“KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
All of us, at some point, have probably heard those words spoken to us, or have said them to ourselves.
Not the “Keep it simple” part… just the “stupid” part. When we call ourselves or others “stupid” in this context, we’re beating ourselves up. It’s like a mental “whap!” upside the head and a wake-up call to get with the program. (And calling an epiphany a “Duh! moment” – which I did this weekend – isn’t particularly compassionate either.)
It’s an open acknowledgment of a tendency we all have: to make things much more complicated than they need to be.
After all, it’s much more fun – and still leaves room for other addictions, like procrastination, perfection and control – to engage in mental masturbation.
(Oh dear, did I just write that!?!? Yes, I did. Maybe it’ll boost my SEO!)
[pullquote]Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacher [/pullquote]
I often wonder if introverts have a special tendency to overindulge in making the simple, complicated. We are internal processors, so the wheels are turning, turning, turning before a thought pops out. We’re comfortable spending (draining?!?) our energy internally. Our thinking happens over time, and what happens when there’s too much time? There’s enough time for things to get… complicated!
We know intellectually that “it’s really quite simple,” and yet we emotionally get stuck in “there’s got to be a better/faster/easier way to do this.”
Guess what? Better, faster and easier is usually SIMPLER.
Want to lose weight? Eat less, move more.
Write a book? Butt in seat, fingers on keyboard.
Meditate? Sit down, breathe, be quiet.
Say “no”? Say “no.”
Spend less time on Facebook? CLOSE THE TAB.
Build a business? Sit less, show up more.
Is it all that easy? Yes and no. There are more steps, more considerations to each of these desires. The problem is that we get caught up in the steps and considerations, and we forget the bottom line. We think we have to find just the right gym or diet plan… we have to be “in the mood”… we need the perfect sitting cushion… we need to have an excuse before we can say “no”….
Ah, there’s the word! Excuse. We blow things out of proportion, elevate their importance to cosmic levels, when if you boil it down to the simple truth, we’re making excuses for NOT doing what we want. For NOT succeeding. Because once we succeed, we have to keep doing it again, and again, and again. It’s easier to stay stuck in excuses, because our “stupid” gremlins (those powerful negative voices) want to do a happy dance and gleefully sing, “See, I told you so!”
Those gremlins count on us to feed them with regular servings of distractions, diversions and distrust. We think we’re doing our due diligence, scrutinizing the situation and considering all possibilities. Instead, we’re careening ever closer to paralysis by analysis.
Need an example? This post. Already, reading over it, I can see that I’m making the idea of simplicity more complicated, by trying to explain my position and account for every individual variation and be clever about it and use 20 words when 4 will do.
You get the point.
Notice: Where am I engaging in mental masturbation?
Ask: What’s the simple answer?
Remember: “KISS: Keep It Simple, Superstar!”
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PS: Here’s a beautifully simple reminder for those moments of overwhelm: http://make-everything-ok.com/