What do I mean by Keeping it Simple? I mean not making things complex, involved, elaborate or complicated.
We humans have a tendency to over complicate things. We’re masters at making the simple complex. Mainly because we equate ‘simple’ with ‘easy’. Yet, the foundational aspects of running a business, or the steps to learning something new, are simple. The reason we don’t succeed at these or other things, is not because they’re simple, but because we think ‘it can’t be that simple’ when what we really mean ‘it can’t be that easy!’ And so we don’t actually do them.
And I get this….even though I help clients simplify their businesses and their lives, I still have a tendency to over complicate things for myself in my own business...until I catch myself that is. This is why having a coach or mentor who questions the purpose of your activities and asks ‘why’ is really beneficial.
The foundational pieces to keeping it simple are...
- To recognise that simple does not mean easy.
- To recognise that we make everything up.
Yes I did just say that we make everything up, and here’s what I mean…
It’s important to become consciously aware that we see and experience the world the way we do because of the way we think. And the way we think is influenced by our beliefs and our expectations. Which themselves are influenced by our upbringing, by our experiences, and by the meaning we assign to our experiences, in the form of feelings, and thoughts about those feelings.
For example, it’s raining today and two people looking out of my office window might ‘see’ something completely different. One might experience the sound of the rain and the colourful bushes and flowers, and feel vibrant and alive. The other might focus on the mud, or the pools of water to navigate and feel annoyed, frustrated or ‘down’.
Let’s take another example of a meeting. If you ask three different attendees about a meeting, you’ll often get three different responses.
You can apply the same thought process to memories…ask different family members or friends their memory of a particular time, and what they recount will be the meaning they attached to it. Which may or may not be the same as yours.
I believe our natural state is one of ease, and of feeling good about ourselves and our world. In that natural state, life is simple. It’s our thinking, our perspective, the lense through which we see the world, that acts like a veil or a mist, obscuring that truth.
So what can you do when you recognise you're making things complicated?
When you realise you're not in your natural state of feeling good and at ease?
When you feel the need to simplify?
Remember the foundational pieces to keeping it simple?
Step 1 - To recognise that simple does not mean easy
You must first of all acknowledge the truth that YOU/WE create complexity with our thinking, and with the meaning (a.k.a. the thoughts) we assign to words like ‘simple’ and to bad feelings such as anxiety, stress and overwhelm.
Step 2 - To recognise that we make everything up
Once you have recognised and acknowledged this truth you can choose to think and feel differently. To view your experience from a different perspective - one of everything being simple. To think yourself to a better feeling place and bring yourself closer to your natural state.
Here is my top tip to keeping it simple…
What will make the biggest difference to how it feels?
Take a few minutes, breathe deeply, ask your questions, and note what occurs to you….because if it just feels right, even if you can’t explain why, this is your higher or best self guiding you to keep it simple and to take inspired action. So pay attention, trust in it and in yourself, and take inspired action.
You might also wish to keep your three words on display in your office, or on your desk, to help you make decisions more easily and continue to keep things simple.