#61 Keep It Simple

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Keep it Simple

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the KISS principle [Keep It Simple, Stupid] – first used  when considering design for the US Navy in 1960. Since then, it’s been a staple concept in business theory by driving home the point of simplifying. Here, I am recommending that we remember to use this principle at home and in our own lives.


For our purposes, we’ll define ‘simple’ as uncomplicated and easy and since I don’t generally use the word ‘stupid’ – I’ll say that this post is really about uncomplicating and simplifying your life.

Say What You Mean

It’s frequently surprising to me that we tend to complicate our communication by ‘beating around the bush’ and ‘hinting’. We use passive aggressive speech and get wrapped up in defensive postures. How amazing would it be if we simply said what we mean (compassionately, of course)? Here are a couple of examples:

V1: It would be nice if you thought about asking me on a real date some of the time, like taking me to the movies.

V2: I’d like to see a movie on Saturday, would you like to go with me?


V1: Do you think you can put your phone down long enough to pay attention to me?

V2: I’m feel pretty lonely when the phone gets most of your attention.

In both cases, V2 is a more simple, clear, and distinct than V1 and also less provoking. When we keep things simple, it’s often much easier to be understood.


Many of us tend to think that more is better when more only tends to complicate things. I’ve heard dozens if not hundreds of times “Life was more simple before we had money” or “The only thing that came with this big house is bigger problems” and “I have too many responsibilities”. In each case, having more only served to increase the complexity of a situation. Of course, having [more than enough] money may sound good when your pockets are light – it frequently comes at an emotional cost.


The concept of ‘keep it simple’ is perhaps best thought of in this arena as we so often tend to reinvent things that don’t need reinvented. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Borrow a tool instead of buying a new one you may only use once
  • Read the directions before you attempt to assemble something
  • Ask for direction
  • Ask for help
  • Stop trying to please everyone
  • Eliminate the need to be perfect

These six examples are areas that often get over complicated and I imagine we all have a story that starts with “If only I had….[asked for directions]”. If you can relate at all to this post, it’s a sign that you may need to sit back and consider how you might reevaluate life and work to …

Keep it simple.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

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