KISs your life welcome

My friend Theodore Albright is a man who has this interesting habit of teaching something every chance he gets. He manages to do this even during the most mundane of conversations. Sometimes it is so subtle you don’t notice it until much later. He recently told me a little story about Steve Jobs, a man who has by all standards left a large mark on the world. While any story about Steve Jobs is worth listening to, this one was special.

His first lesson: “simplicity is the highest form of sophistication”. I let that pass. I mean it doesn’t really sound like much until you start meditating on a deeper level. But when I chanced upon a message on Richard Branson’s Google plus page that read “complexity is your worst enemy” it all sunk in. I guess you can say I had one of those Aha moments Oprah and her friends have been talking about and the result is what you are reading now. 

I have been aware of the KISS principle for many years but its practice is another thing altogether. In case you didn’t know, it simply stands for Keep it Simple maybe even stupid. It is supposed to save time and increase speed among other things. When you think about it, the most outstanding products are those that have been made simple and easy to use. So then Steve’s iPod , iPhone and iPad fit very well with this idea with their one button control system. When I first encountered these devices I experienced a shift in thinking regarding to what a phone or an mp3 player can be. I have found that people who are easy to deal with are some of the most loved people and in most cases the most successful people. They have something called social intelligence but that is another story.

Those who make things simple for us actually put a lot of work into what would have ordinarily been really complicated.  It appears that product designers have now bought deeply into the idea. Now we hear about airplanes that are so simple to fly they can even land themselves.  Cars with sensors in so many places they can decide for themselves what a good parking spot is and take the pain out of the parking for a certain segment of our specie. Often we tend to do some very complicated stuff maybe to show off what we are capable of. In the IT industry programmers are known to spend valuable time building complicated but useless stuff when they could have built some really simple and useful things. The tendency to want to complicate things to look smart is so high most of us fall for it. Point and click thinking put more computers out there because they became easier to use. Prior to that one needed very advanced skills to do some very simple tasks with computers. This made computer literacy some kind of a rocket science. When computers got easier to use they were able to affect our world more. Now everyone is computer literate, more computers have been sold and billionaires have been made. The world has improved drastically in the last few years.

I recollect the days of DOS and what one had to go through to get a printer to work. You had to install all kinds of drivers and all kind things happened on monitors that displayed only one color. Your programs were usually on a floppy disk and floppy disks in those days were really floppy. They get damaged at the slightest opportunity which made them not so simple to manage. Just to display the content of a folder you needed a set of commands that were not so easy to memorize. Now we have what you call plug and play; stick it in and it works. Serial cables had countless pins that can easily break but a USB has only one block. You click your y through folder to find files. Now you don’t really need computer lessons to write a simple letter.

There are many service providers who do not seem to be aware that their methods and processes make it difficult for patrons. They have not thought through how they are delivering their services to see how they can make it easy for clients. Anyone who has been near a government department in Ghana probably has a few stories to share. Simplicity will raise your performance. If you cut out all the fancy gimmicks and focused on what is important and kept it simple you are on your way to great things. They do say that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. Long winding lines just complicates everything and make things harder.   A person who tells the truth, has integrity and is direct with concern for others makes a useful member of any team. I find that every time I have tried to look what I call my best I have ended up looking ridiculous with weird color combinations when a simple white shirt would have done the job nicely. 

I don’t know what you are involved in but I know that if simplifying something for others is your objective it will get you the right response- your performance will bear fruits then. On the macro level, it will improve your life performance and increase your chance of success. A straight rout will get you anywhere fastest. Kissing your life is a simple principle in itself. Your output must make the life of others simple and easier or your effort will not be appreciated. To be honest with you; I do not have a problem at all taking advice from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and even my friend Theo who is arguably one of the smartest men I know and neither should you. KISS your life for the day you do that is the day your life begins a new trajectory of performance. Well guess what; Einstein subscribes to the idea too

Answering the following questions is a great way to start.

Does your work make others Life easier and in what ways?
Is there something you can do to make things even easier for others?
What is the usual feedback you get from your colleagues, supervisor and clients?

About Markus Kennedy Katey

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