#21 – Simplify

This is #21 in the series, “50 Ideas Worth Fighting For.” You might like #10, also.


Here’s a sentence I read recently: “As brands grow they can sustain a certain growth rate; forcing higher growth unnaturally simply consumes capital unnecessarily.”

It’s a terrible sentence. It’s terrible because it’s complicated and excessive. It’s terrible because it is loaded with adverbs, and the overuse of adverbs is a crutch for bad writing.

I know that I’m on thin ice critiquing someone else’s writing since I make all kinds of mistakes in my own and that I edit only just enough.

I take the risk to make the point that it’s not just about the writing. It’s about the ways we construct facades of competence and self-importance rather than promote connection and learning through simplicity.

Here’s that sentence again, minus the adverbs: “As brands grow they can sustain a certain growth rate; forcing higher growth consumes excessive capital. 

What do you think? Has your opinion of the writer diminished? Are you disappointed by their lack of expertise? Or do you understand the sentence now without having to read it three times?

A good question to increase the impact of our writing and speaking: have I constructed this to prove something or to be of service?

Complexity without cause blocks understanding. Let’s get out of our own way and trust what Dr. Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”


fullsizeoutput_3a

This is a Season

This is a season, not a permanent condition.

Just because the sewage pipe split due to 25 years of attack from palm tree roots and allowed waste to flow backwards into our downstairs bathtub last spring;

And just because both the heater and air conditioning had to be replaced this summer;

And just because our dishwasher leaked A LOT and caused so much damage that half of our kitchen was “demoed” today, down to the studs;

None of it means that 2019 will be another year of domestic catastrophe. Sometimes, quite literally, shit happens.

This is just a season and it’s a season in which we have learned the true cost of being rich. Not wealthy but rich, in the sense of having far more than we need, the luxury of complaining about inconveniences and the ability to pay for them and get on with our lives. That kind of rich.

As simpler and wiser cultures know far better than ours, the more attached we are to conveniences, the less convenient life can sometimes be.

Here’s to a season of simplicity, perspective and appreciation. Here’s to a season of falling in love again with what matters most.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.