Among many of the other fantastic things I have learned from my wife of 15 years and four children is that complexity is the enemy of everything.
Let me explain.
I’ve noticed a phenomenon in my interpersonal dealings that I suspect might hold true for many others. I often make things complicated when it comes to interpersonal dealings. That is, that when it comes to making decisions about dealing with people such as asking someone for something or wondering how someone has reacted to something it often becomes a complicated dance of weighing this variable (“they really don’t like to be bothered”) vs. that variable (“if I try to approach from this angle vs. that angle I’m more likely to get a yes”). On the occasions that I take it too far I end the process mentally exhausted.
Brilliance, thy Name is Simplicity
Albert Einstein is said to have remarked:
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.
This encapsulates the way in which my wife approaches interpersonal dealings. She is simple and (therefore brilliant) in the way she deals with people. I will play no games, I will make no calculations when asking someone for something. I will not hold back when I need to say something that needs to be said and it just doesn’t figure into my calculations how they may or may not respond.
Brilliant in its simplicity.
Sometimes when we are discussing the best way to handle an interpersonal issue, say with the extended family, and I go off into an explanation as to why we should handle it this way or that way, she just cocks her head to the side and looks at me, saying nothing until I ultimately get that I have ‘complexified’ the situation, and the simple approach to say what you want, is almost always the right one. It is as though with the one look she is saying “making things complex makes things exceedingly difficult to navigate and leaves you with no path forward.”
Complexity is the enemy of everything.
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- About the Author
Nathan Safran is a former Analyst at Forrester Research where he covered the Digital Home. While at Forrester, Nathan authored research studies on trends, attitudes and behaviors of consumers toward technology adoption and use.
Nathan has been quoted as a subject matter expert in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Fortune magazine. Currently, Nathan heads the Research Department at Conductor, Inc an SEO Technology Platform firm.
Nathan writes at exceljockey.com about the intersection of Business, Technology and Psychology. See the About page for more info. Follow Nathan on Twitter: @Nathan_Safran