It's June 1967 in London, UK. The business man waiting at London Paddington railway station at 0830 may or may not be interested that Sgt. Pepper by The Beatles is released. What is true is that he lives in a remarkably personal distraction-free free world: no 'smart' phone, no laptop, no e-mail, no voice-mail. No tweets, no face book. Was if better? No: just different. He had loads and loads of thinking time. And with thinking comes the breakthrough and with the breakthrough comes the essence of a subject: the simplicity the far side of complexity. In the 17th century data input was relatively low for most people. in 2012 it has almost become too much for many. Switch off: banish distraction from your greatest work.
It doesn't take long for us to reach overload. A software company which is attempting to beat a competitor on too many fronts, a coffee company which is opening in too many different cultures, a business school which keeps adding to the curriculum.
In any meeting, in any training course, in any planning workshop, in any holiday trip around the Far East, ask: what can we take away? How can we do less and add value to what we are doing? The buzz of doing a lot gets beaten-easily-by the buzz of achievement, of satisfaction. Of finally doing a job well.
"I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity the far side of complexity" Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Any of us who have had a marvellous teacher such as one who finally helped us understand what algebra is really about or who inspired us with the magic of an author....or a lecturer who got us to realise the essence of leadership...or a manger who inspired us to be the best version of us....will 'get' this quote. Anybody can makes things complicated. It doesn't take too much effort to be simplistic. But who can give 'it' to us in simple form? The DIY instructions which make assembling the table a breeze. The tax form which encourages us to get it right first time. The company mission statement which....er...actually makes us feel we are on a mission.
Simplicity is not simplistic. It is not superficial. It is very often not easy to articulate.
But it does aid learning, understanding and hence implementation. It is therefore often motivating.
A quest for the simplicity the far side of complexity is a worthy one.
There was still a chill in the gym as he dropped the
skipping rope, sorted his wraps and pulled on his gloves. His heart rate was up
but he wanted it higher. He was perspiring but he needed to be dripping. His
muscles were alert but he wanted them shaking. He faced the bag, square on,
assumed the position and jab. The bag
shifted. He shifted and swung: a perfect one, two. But then to his own surprise
it became a three, four. And then he moved again, went in close, paused
and cut upwards. He was through another plateau.