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It’s Complicated

It’s probably not, though. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re like me, you like to keep things simple. You don’t like clutter, and, to the best of your ability, you do what you can do to avoid complications in life.

This includes complicated workflows, complicated relationships, complicated homes, complicated technology, complicated schedules, et cetera.

This isn’t because uncomplicated things are necessarily easy, rather, we (for some reason) perceive a direct correlation between complication and value.

“Complicated” is a Status Symbol

For instance, in our society, if I can brag about how busy I am, and how I never have time to do anything I want to do, this earns me some kind of social status — a false perception that I’m always busy, so what I’m doing must be really important.

Or, for example, if everything in my life can be or has been automated by some kind of “cool” or complicated technology, I achieve a different (false) social status — I’m “well-off” or “have it easy.”

To take it one example further, I might be at work, trying to explain to someone the process by which we normally complete projects. I smugly explain each step in great detail, knowing full well that the person I’m explaining it to doesn’t follow because of how complicated it is. Yet, I persist and use it as leverage to make a colleague think that I have it all together, or that I’m a “man with a plan.” All the while, I know this is not the case. I could probably do really well to simplify and cut down the number of steps and statuses it takes to bring a project to completion. Not only for the sake of my process, but for the sake of it’s scalability and flexibility for use in future projects.

For some reason, we see complication (in many forms), and perceive it as something to be attained; we see it not as something that should be avoided, but as a higher level of understanding or organization. That can’t continue.

Don’t treat complication like it’s a status symbol.

To What End?

As always, the important question to ask is, “Why?”

Why do we hear about complicated workflows and wish we could wrap our minds around them? They should be simplified and made easy to grasp. I once heard it said, that if you can’t summarize something in a couple of sentences, you probably don’t understand it very well. I think there’s value in applying the same mantra to workflows in the business world.

Why do we spend our time reading about worthless, complicated, dramatic relationships — whether it be our friends/acquaintances, or this year’s most popular celebrity couple? Those stories don’t edify our lives. They don’t build us up in a way that’s going to make us better people, or give us the tools we need to conduct our own relationships in a way that is healthy or that will lead to success. They’re cheap. They’re fantasy. They’re silly. We’d be better off taking relationship advice from a Praying Mantis.

No, I’m not over-exaggerating.

Moving on.

Complicated schedules. Guys. I read this Medium post the other day about someone who only has a few things on their calendar every week. That sounds amazing. I would love that kind of schedule. Unfortunately, most of our brains function in such a way that we feel it’s necessary to plan out every single meeting — every encounter has to have a time and a place, or we feel that we’ll lose track of it. The reality is, if we chose to live in the moment — to clear our calendars and simplify our schedules — we’d probably get just as much done as we do with the over-complicated calendars. No need to plan a ridiculously busy schedule, and no need to stress over that Friday with seven meetings throughout the day. That doesn’t need to happen.

It shouldn’t happen.

I’m Different

We’re good at fooling ourselves. We’re good at telling ourselves that we’re different while our community groups and social circles regularly practice the false-idolatry of putting the complicated on a pedestal.

You know what they say“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Do you surround yourself with people who flaunt their complicated lives on social media; who can’t help themselves but to run their mouths gossiping about all the drama in their lives?

Or, do you find yourself in a much better place — a place where your most common conversations are constructive and uplifting? Where your friends and family find new ways to delight one another and make life just a little bit easier for each other through thoughtful, unplanned acts of love and kindness?

That’s a lifestyle that will unwind the complications in our lives. It can’t be done alone. It might start with you — with one person — but it must bleed out into the community (-ies) you’re invested in for it to have any kind of value.

It’s not far-fetched. It’s not unattainable. It probably starts with you.

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