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Simplification is the key to focus and clarity

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Simplification is the key to focus and clarity

Scott Miker

We are constantly bombarded with messages of more.  Marketers are always trying to convince us that we need their product or service.  We value success by seeing who has more fame, more money, more awards, etc.

But do we really need more?  A few years ago Herm Edwards, a former NFL coach, spoke to the NFL rookies before the start of their first season playing professional football.  What is interesting is that he didn’t spend all his time talking about football.  He talked about the players’ life outside of football.

He gave one piece of advice that relates to this idea of not needing more.  He said now that these players were making large sums of money, they should avoid having more than 1 of anything.  He said they only need 1 car, 1 house, 1 girlfriend etc.  Having more than 1 quickly gets them into trouble. 

But the natural response when we are presented with enormous amounts of money is that we can now afford all of the things that we couldn’t afford but wanted before.  Right now we all don’t have a Lamborghini and a Rolls Royce, not because we chose not to, it is because we can’t afford them.  Take that limitation away and we suddenly will feel a pull and have the ability to accumulate more.   

But the reality is that most of us don’t need more.  We have enough.  If we compare what we have to 1,000 years ago it doesn’t even compare.  If we look at even 100 years ago and compare it to what we have today it is incredible.  But today we have this desire for more of everything, despite the fact that we now have access to so many conveniences through technology that were all supposed to drastically improve our lives.  All of these conveniences make life easier, yet we still feel we don’t have enough.

Leonardo Da Vinci has a great quote about simplicity.  He says, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” 

I have found that simplicity is often overlooked.  But simplicity is what leads to clarity and focus.  It allows us to block out all of the messages about more and realize what we truly want in life. 

Instead of looking for ways to accumulate more, stop and think about what you can eliminate.  What can you do without?  What do you have that you haven’t used in over a year?

By looking for ways to reduce what we have we start to break away from the more mindset.  This brings clarity in our minds that can then allow us to better focus on where we want to improve.  We stop looking for new workout shoes and start working out.  We stop looking for a new blender and start eating healthier.  In business we stop adding unnecessary features and start to emphasize the value in what we already have. 

By understanding the natural desire to want more and the constant barrage of messages telling us that we aren’t happy unless we have something else, we can start to take control of our lives.  We can change our habits so that we first look to simplify and then look to add.  This will help us move forward and find better ways to improve, rather than simply trying to add more stuff in place of improvement.