Why We Overcomplicate Things

Smart people complicate simplicity. Sincere people overcomplicate life by worrying about everybody’s feelings. Aspirational people overcomplicate work by overachieving insignificance.

“Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.” Edsger W. Dijkstra

Overcomplicating things only detracts from the beauty of simplicity. Image of an egg on a red background.

Choose simple:

Simple is powerful. You could say, “Not knowing I feel a delicacy in articulation lest I should deviate from the ethereal hypothesis of the nebular conception of the truth.” Or you could say, “I don’t know.”

Simple is achievable. You might decide to practice better hydration. Or you could simply set a goal of drinking 8 glasses of water today.

Symptoms you overcomplicate things:

#1. Your actions serve immediate concerns.

You overcomplicate when your focus shrinks to immediate problems. You can’t ignore pressing issues, but urgent issues seldom serve important goals.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Pressure to keep the lights on shrivels thinking.

Leadership is about seizing opportunities, not racing from one problem to the next.

What opportunity can you seize today?

#2. You worry about what you don’t have and can’t do.

Life is simple when you focus on things you have and actions you can take.

Life is complicated when don’t-have paralyzes you. But don’t-have is why you matter. Can’t-do gives life meaning.

If you want to ruin your life, choose ease.

Ease makes you irrelevant.

If-only thinking destroys opportunity.

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” Squire Bill Widener

#3. You try to control things you can’t.

Control freaks overcomplicate everything. Inflexibility closes minds.

The practice of daily surrender simplifies life.

Read: 4 Powers of Surrender for Leaders

Surrender cures control freaks. Image of two open palms.

How might you simplify life today?

Still curious:

The Urgency Illusion: Are You Running Around with Your Hair on Fire? Here’s Why!

4 Ways to Do Less and Get More Done Today

Living for Something Bigger than Yourself: The Obsession of Successful Leaders