“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex…it takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction” – Albert Einstein
I find myself weighing this quote heavily as of late. It seems that nowadays, we would rather complicate, dilute, and obscure the lines rather than define them. We find ourselves with access to a vast array of information, yet we lack the focus and diligence to do anything with it. There has never been a greater time to be alive, but most of us aren’t living it.
Why must we complicate things? Well, because the more difficult things are perceived to be, the more money is to be made.
For example, how many times have you said (or heard someone say) they want to lose weight? The simple answer is: eat less manufactured food, eat more wholesome food, and train your body regularly. How we complicate it is with all the extras and so-called hacks. What are the BEST foods to eat? How many cheat meals do I get? What’s the best way to exercise? How can I get the most of X with the minimal amount of Y (i.e. time, effort, stress, work, etc)?
Truth be told, it’s through our complication of life that industry thrives off of. To survive we only need water, food, clothing, and shelter. Little did we know we wanted that shit to be alkaline, non GMO, free trade, and include central air.
There really is genius in simplicity. From the food you eat to the people you meet, there’s nothing worse than when ‘it’s complicated.’ Here are three ways you can keep from being ‘extra’ and KISS:
Tactic #1: Eliminate Waste
What should I wear today? What should I have for lunch? These are two prime examples of wasted decision making, or decisions non-essential to your day to day. If you find yourself lingering on wasted decisions, I recommend instilling a habit or routine to replace the indecision with an absolute. Steve Jobs, for example, simplified his morning routine by filling his closet with the same jeans and black shirt. A bit extreme, but effective. This freed up his mind from ubiquitous decisions for more important ones.
How to KISS: you can apply this same concept to a multitude of wasted decisions. Don’t know what to eat? Have the same few meals prepped and in rotation. Spend too much time deciding your wardrobe in the morning? Lay it out the night before. Sometimes the best response to inefficiency is executing a better plan.
Tactic #2: Build On Routine
We are all creatures of habit, but by embracing our tendency for routine we can amplify our lives. Similar to the eliminate waste tactic, routines allow us to float on autopilot through our less detrimental points of the day. Morning and evening routines allow us to keep us from being bogged down and readily enter other states of flow.
How to KISS: There are some trends among today’s elite and one of them is having a daily routine. Having a scripted morning/evening where there is only minor deviation is one aspect. Perhaps it’s difficult for you to work out later, so make it a non-negotiable morning happening. Feel tired, even in the morning? Try creating a bedtime or powering down from your ‘screen’ devices before a certain time each night. You’ll enhance your REM sleep and be able to crush your morning!
Tactic #3: Hell Yeah or Bust
I happened upon this idea from Seth Godin on how he streamlines his decision making. Oftentimes, we find ourselves giving up our time to things that we don’t want to do or don’t really enjoy. Especially in terms of commitments, Seth advises to frame them as either a ‘hell yes’ or a definitive ‘no.’
How to KISS: Next time you have an opportunity, event, or big decision think to yourself, “Is this a ‘hell yes’ or a ‘no?'” This clearly defines the things you want to say yes to by eliminating the grey area of the things you don’t. Put it into practice and you’ll find yourself opening up your time for opportunities, rather than squandering it through obligation.