Topic of the day: Simplicity

Vang Vieng, Laos (credit: Irapua S. Ribeiro)

I have this dream: To improve the life of people living in developing countries enabling them to be their best with the available resources. But then one question comes to my mind: What is a fulfilling life?

My experience living abroad in 3 different countries presented me many ways in which life can be plentiful, basically having the human needs fulfilled, which can be very different based on culture and environment. In Australia for example, people love the outdoors and their concerns are related to preserving the natural beauties and resources to sustainably grow. In New Zealand, it is kind of similar, but people are less worried about their resources because it’s relatively plenty and they already focus on preservation for years. In Laos, I felt the need to fast develop and improve the standard of living. People are learning fast and adapting to create the conditions to earn money, buy things, build better houses and grow economically.

Living with local people was a remarkable experience because it gave me the chance to see the world the way they live it (even if being for a short time). What mostly surprised me was that simplicity was one of the main features in each place. We live nowadays in a complex society and as much as I travel I see that people are trying to find the basic things that make our life easier and make us happier.

When I was developing the irrigation system for the organic farm at Fruitfriends, I noticed that the system wouldn’t work if I had designed sophisticated controls. And the system was totally designed focusing on the user’s needs, standardizing the material used and the construction process. This was one situation that proved me that as an engineer, I have to make people’s life easier, simpler and more comfortable. Our society is walking towards this end, with new products and services being released every day trying to fulfil different needs. But how necessary, useful and simple is the proposed solution? It’s a subject that we need to keep in mind when we decide to do something. Most people work doing things for other people, or things that will help people somehow.

Remember to always question yourself: How useful is this product and/or service that I work for the society? How easy and simple I can make it in order to turn into something really important for other people? How valuable am I for the society?

If you find the right motivation and put the necessary effort, you will be the best in your field and can truly make a difference for others. People will recognise your efforts and reward you accordingly.