Disclaimer: I’m writing this inspired by the daily prompt ‘Simplicity‘. I like simplicity. I like quotes. I obviously like the quotes on simplicity. And there are enough quotes on simplicity. So counter-intuitive to the topic, this post is not going to be simple, will be quote heavy and a brain dump.
Simplicity is subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful – John Maedo, The laws of simplicity
I started getting curious about the term ‘Simplicity’ when I stumbled upon the following quote by Bruce Lee.
Simplicity is the key to brilliance – Bruce Lee
I started reading about simplicity to understand what it is. Perhaps, my first enlightenment that simplicity could actually be pleasant and powerful happened when I started reading Zen concepts, and found Zenhabits website. The design was simple, the concepts were simple and I was hooked on to it.I started asking myself why I liked that site more than any other site? I guess there are enough complexities in this world that people crave for simplicity. As the think tank Edward De bono said,
Dealing with complexity is inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy. There is never any justification for things being complex when they could be simple – Edward De Bono.
It makes complete sense. Why would somebody choose complexity when things could be simple? Simple things makes life easier. The design of iPod is often quoted when it comes to simplicity. Simple design, with few buttons and yet fully functional. People generally think that simple things are easy to make. Well not necessarily. It is easy to complicate things. But it is not easy to make things simple and intuitive. I liked to keep the design of my site as simple as possible. I had to spend at least two hours to go through all the available themes to find the one that’s close to what I had in mind. Steve Jobs himself said –
That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains – Steve Jobs
People also get confused between Simple and Simplistic. Simple is plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation. Something that is not overdone. Simplistic, on the other hand, means that something is oversimplified or lacking something important. Being simple should be the goal and not simplistic. Simplicity requires complete understanding about what is in hand. Simplicity cannot be achieved without proper understanding. Edward De Bono stresses this point as below:
Simplicity before understanding is simplistic, simplicity after understanding is simple – Edward De Bono
In my opinion, simplicity should be taught and everybody should make conscious effort to keep things simple. Be it something we build, something we do or something we say. After all, life is simple and we are complicating it. Simple things give more happiness.
Some more of the well known quotes that I like below:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Leonardo da Vinci
Things should be made as simple as possible but not any simpler – Albert Einstein
I have just three things to teach: Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. – Lao Tzu
As I warned you upfront, this post did not live up to the topic. Next time, if I write about simplicity, I will remind myself to K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple,Stupid)
What do you think about Simplicity? Do you think it is overrated? Comments are welcome.