kiss - keep it simple, stupid (occam\'s razor)

Life can get pretty complicated. Remember when you were a kid and your only real concern was whether your parents were going to buy you the latest toy? You didn’t have to worry about paying the bills and maintaining a mortgage. You didn’t have to concern yourself with relationship problems or political issues. Everything just seemed easier. Maybe it was because you didn’t know any better at the time.

I’m not exactly promoting ignorance with today’s post, but there is something to be said about keeping things as simple as possible. Why have a balanced view when you can understand the world through a single perspective? Why seek out the most complicated solution to a problem when a simpler one will do? That is the essence of Occam’s razor.

A theory developed by logician William of Ockham in the 14th century, Occam’s razor essentially states that all else being equal, the simplest solution is best. It is from this theory that we extrapolate the slightly better known idiom K.I.S.S., or “keep it simple, stupid.”

There’s something to be said about the appeal of simplicity. Even though our mobile phones are becoming virtual Swiss Army knives these days, we still want a user interface that is simple and intuitive. That’s part of the reason why the Apple iPhone has been such a resounding success. For better or for worse, the attractive user interface on the iPhone just works. Contrast this to the relative complexity of Windows Mobile, for example.

Consider all aspects of your life and how making things simpler can reduce your stress level. You may discover that you indeed have enough hours in the day if you simply eliminate redundant and unproductive tasks. I used to keep track of every article that I had posted on the web, noting all the URLs, titles, and publishing dates. This was a time-consuming task that really didn’t offer any sort of reward. Record-keeping is important, sure, but don’t keep records just for the sake of keeping records. Ensure that they provide enough value to warrant the time that they require.

Take a page out of Winnie the Pooh. It doesn’t hurt to be a little simple-minded sometimes, because the simplest solution is oftentimes the best one.