The only problem with keep it simple stupid is the stupid part. I am not really sure who ever came up with that acronym, but the practice of hurling insults while trying to inspire someone at the same time is like trying lift them while stepping on their back.
Now that we have name calling out of the way, which has clearly never helped anyone achieve anything, let us focus on keeping it simple and that is what we should.
Keep it simple is great, useful advice. It’s not only practical but is in fact the leading principal of leadership. Without simplicity, the complexity of living and the inevitability of change will storm into our life and quite possibly capsize our efforts.
Simplicity will give us shelter from the storm and the most direct path to getting what we want out of life.
This doesn’t mean that life or what we dream of is in any way simple or easy to attain. Quite the oppositie. Each one of us is a very complex person. We are not only a miracle but a mystery and thank God, because otherwise what else would we write, sing and make movies about?
What we want in our life will be very complex. Building something, changing something, inspiring someone, or making a real difference in someone’s life will always be a multilayered mission. The way in which we achieve what we want in life however, should be extremely simple. What we need to do to unravel and accomplish those multilayered tensions in our life require a very simple approach.
What can I do? What can I do right now? Today. This very hour or for the next few minutes. What can I do that will bring me closer and bring about what I seek?
Simplicity can do that. Keeping it simple is the key to everything.
I have always struggled with food addiction. I am not sure if that’s because when I was growing up I had to wait in line for hours in case some food arrived. The scarcity and availability of food in my life was real. We didn’t have much and we made do with whatever we had. It took me twelve years to taste a banana or savour the juiciness of an orange, and perhaps this, or a myriad of complex emotions always drive me to think about taste over nutritional value.
I have always struggled with addiction, and in order to mitigate some of the medical dangers that come with being guided by taste I decided to weight train. I weight train because it makes sense to me. You build muscle. That muscle than serves you for the rest of your life to try to keep calories mind their own business, but I had a problem. With such a young family, a full time job, an hour commute to and from work, did not allow for much time in the afternoon to weight train. I tried and tried again, and failed and failed again.
I thought it was me. I thought I was lazy. I thought I wasn’t committed enough. I would go for a while and then life would get in the way. Then I happened to watch a short little clip of Navy Seal Jacko Willink explain why he lift weights when every else is sleeping. He explained that you either want something or you do not. You either find the time or you don’t, and early in the morning, when everyone is asleep is perfect because nobody wants anything from you.
I was very touched by those words and so to this day I have accepted its call.
I wake up at 4:02am and weight train three times a week from about 4:30am to 5:30am. I do this consistently. I do this, well, simply.
I made a commitment. I made a commitment to battle my tastebuds by fighting with my muscles. It’s not easy, but I saw a simple choice before me. Do it or don’t do it. Find the time or don’t find the time. The same is true for anything and everything you dream of doing. It all comes down to the simple decision to move or not move in a direction, but its not a matter of motivation. The simplicity must be expressed in the commitment. The commitment to do the same thing over and over again, without stopping, without complaining, until you get where you want.
That’s how you build your dream. That’s how you figure out all the pieces of a seemingly complex existence. Keep it simple, and never, ever, add the other s.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Jonah Pettrich via unsplash.com