Scott’s Thoughts: Strength Through Simplicity

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

-Hans Hofmann, (March 21, 1880 – February 17, 1966), German-born American abstract expressionist painter.

Stack of simple stones.

Sometimes we feel pressure to demonstrate our “sophistication” to clients, co-workers, and ourselves in the strangest ways. You might be familiar with a few: Long meetings in which we talk too much, complicated marketing plans with charts and overblown jargon, and a preponderance of gadgets which we spend more time configuring than actually using.

Over-complication is frequently a symptom of insecurity or anxiety about value. While we may feel confident in our approach, we feel the need to dress-up our competency to reinforce our worth. Ironically, the value of a professional often lies in making a complex experience or process appear to be quite simple.

Simplicity also drives productivity. Part of productivity is about streamlining your systems. “Nothing but the essential” is a good guideline to follow, as is the adage, “Great design is about taking away, not adding.” While there’s no harm in learning about new systems and new ways of approaching old problems, there’s nothing more important than recognizing when something is truly useful versus when it appears to be useful.

It is quite possible to impress with simplicity. Look for ways to allow “the necessary to speak.”

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