December 9

One of the worst insults you can hurl at someone is to call them naive. When you do, you are essentially saying that they aren’t mature enough or wise enough or worldly enough to understand the depth of the complexity of the situation. If only they were as mature as you, they would actually see things for what they are!

In an effort to not appear naive, we love to make things more complicated than they actually are. We mock simple answers because they insult our pride. We love thinking the truth is complex, because that makes us seem sophisticated and experienced. But, the reality is that simple answers are often the right ones. I’m pretty certain that Einstein wasn’t disappointed when he arrived at E=mc2.

When you’re stuck, seek simplicity. How can you make what you’re working on as simple as possible? Can you re-state the problem in a new way that eliminates needless complexity of language and thought? Are there assumptions clouding your view of the problem?

It’s not naive to seek simplicity in your work. It’s a mark of maturity to do so. Seek to state your creative problem as simply as possible.

Question: Is there any place where you are over-complicating your work?

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