Simple is Powerful

I’m still here! After a 16 day trip to Italy and a good long break, it is time to start writing again.

A few people have asked me what my favorite part of the trip was, and I think it was the backpacks. Let me explain.

My wife and I decided to travel light. We had heard that roller bags were not conducive to cobblestone, so we decided to leave the suitcases at home and opt instead for one backpack each. After all, they do have places to wash clothes in other countries.

Our decision reminded us that simple is powerful.

However, as a leader, attempting to embrace simplicity is like trying to dodge rain drops … hard to do.

Sadly, we make life harder than it has to be because we fail to value the power of focusing on a few things … the power of simplicity.

Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” 

[Tweet ““If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Einstein “]

Where has all the simplicity gone?

Over the past decade, complexity has grown at an exponential rate. Choices abound. Options are in vogue. Alternatives are expected.

The result? A world of complexity littered with arrogant leaders. Leaders who are smarter than ever, yet lacking wisdom.

Perhaps we all need a six year old to explain to us that simplicity isn’t such a bad thing. When I was six only a few things mattered. Really, only values and people.

The values were uncomplicated. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do your chores if you expect to go out and play. Respect authority. Love God. Honor women. Be grateful, and give generously. I was told if I would do those things, things would be a lot easier for me.

The people fell into three groups. My family, those who sat around the dinner table every night. My friends, those who showed up in the backyard every afternoon for our version of the World Series or the Super Bowl, depending on the time of year. And our neighbors, everyone else in our community (or around the world) who we were to love and serve no differently than we would our family and friends.

Somehow we have lost our way. The focus has shifted away from values and people. We are now told to decide for ourselves what the values should be, and people are merely seen as opportunities to help us get what we want. Shame on us!

[Tweet “If you want your life to count for something, simplify your focus.”]

Reexamine what, and more importantly who, really matters. Values and people. If you will turn your attention to those two you will position yourself to be more effective and to have more fun.

You shouldn’t need a six year old to tell you that.

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