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Kent Blumberg

I've learned that folks will pay a lot of money to anyone who can simplify the world for them. And that each of us is our own best consultant when it comes to simplification. Just asking, "What value does this add to me or to my customers?" opens my eyes to my own needless complexity.

...most of the time, anyway...

Great link to Eduardo's post, by the way. Gonna have to read more of his stuff now.

Steve Roesler

Kent, that's really THE question to ask, isn't it?

Whenever I ask that "value" question of myself as I sort out priorities or pursue the "next great idea," the answer is more often than not: "This doesn't add much/any value at all to what I'm really trying to accomplish."

The honest answer can save unnecessary aggravation down the road.

Thanks, Kent.

ellen weber

Wow -- as I read this excellent post I kept thinking that it takes time to see what is simple and still successful!

That's the key - and it will differ at any given time. What a great reflection to see what it is for each of us at the season we are in and with the targets we set! I'm still thinking on this one Steve - Thanks.

Valeria Maltoni

We tend to edit down as we gain insights into what really matters -- sometimes it takes aging (pardon, wisdom), sometimes it takes a wake up call. Careful though not to cut out the simple pleasures and indulgences that make life all the sweeter in the name of efficiency.

As Eduardo says, there is tremendous value in investing time to stop and watch a sunset or stroll aimlessly before supper. How are you doing?

ann michael

Number 4 really hits home with me. I find that when I'm bending over backwards to make something work it's usually because it doesn't and I just won't admit it to myself! Sometimes things are hard because they're hard. Sometimes they're hard because they don't fit! Thanks for some great thoughts (love your new office mate!).

Karin H.

Hi Steve

Number 4 must be my favourite too.
We are in a retail business and our trade has so many (way too many) different types we might have to show all. But on the other hand, give a customer too much choice and he/she will never reach a decision.
That's why (with some clever displays and lay-out plans) we 'only' show 100 different wooden floor types in our little showroom (23 sq m total area - includes my huge desk, made of wood!).
And our customers love it. (So does my accountant, fixed costs are low)

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business

peter vajda

Hi Steve, you ask, "What have you learned about complexity and simplicity that can add to someone's well-being?"

For one thing, I've learned that when my well-being isn't "well", I'm adding nothing to another's, from an authentic place, just lots of needless efforting and "trying". I've also learned that working "on" my business was often a way of avoiding working "in" my business. I've learned to stop riding the horse after it has died and not to stay on hoping that it will come alive. And I've learned that complexity is more about filling "holes of deficiency" than it is about efficiency and mastery. I've learned simplicity really sets me free, and allows me to breathe, on many levels.

Steve Roesler

HI, Valeria,

Well, aside from the aging (wisdom) part I'm doing well, thanks! And as I was reading Eduardo's post I was watching the deer and enjoying the simple pleasures that you mentioned!

See you soon?

Steve Roesler


That's a terrific diagnostic cue: asking yourself the question about whether it's hard because it's hard, or just not a good fit. We could all benefit from pausing when that happens, reflecting on the answer, and then proceeding (or not) accordingly.

I'll ask the new office mate what she thinks...

Steve Roesler

HI, Karin,

Knowing your personal passion for simplicity, I'll declare victory with #4!

Thanks for the real-life example about how many choices to provide. We live in a world that would have us think that unlimited "choices" are are the ideal. Yet there is some point at which they become overhwhelming, confusing, and off-putting. It sounds as if you've found the right formula to help your customers see the best variety available without sending them over the edge.

NIce going!

Steve Roesler


Wow. There is a lot going on in that comment.

I'm really focusing on the part related to my original question about well-being and the idea that one can't contribute to another's well-being without being personally "well."

Working "on" rather than "in" the business is another notion that piques my interest. When you have a chance, could you add a little more to that. I think that it would be quite useful to readers everywhere.

peter vajda

Hi Steve, you commented, "Working "on" rather than "in" the business is another notion that piques my interest. When you have a chance, could you add a little more to that. I think that it would be quite useful to readers everywhere."

Basically, and literally and somewhat metaphorically, re-arranging the office furniture, sorting paper clips, obsessing with buying supplies, (re-and re)organizing magazines, journals and papers, deeply engaged in non-green-time (green-time=income producing)efforts like internet surfing, endless blogging, looking at emails every five minutes, obsessive planning and talking about strategy but without prioritizing, scheduling and executing, making lists but not acting on items, networking with no follow-on-up-or-through (passive networking), getting lost in watching CNBC, CNN to an extreme degree...much of what comes under what you referred to as "busy-ness" but not being busy in an honest and self-responsisble manner, efforts that point to procrastination, fear, feeling valueless and/or worthless, etc., and support some folks to live the lie that they are in fact "working."

Tracking time/hours over a few weeks i.e., hours spent on red time (e.g., personal, errands..., green time (income producing), blue time (prep time for clients/projects), pink time (pampering one's self...gym, massage, naps), brown time (working "on" the business),can be very telling when one wants to take an open and honest look at whether one is "spending" one's time or "investing" one's time....and why.

Steve Roesler

Aha, Peter.

I had no idea that you had color-coded your life :-)

Yet I find that it's a very simple way to mentally sort things out.

Thank you, Peter.

peter vajda

You're welcome, Steve.

Not just mentally, Steve, but when clients actually use this process, they experience a paplpable realization of how they are actually spending vs. investing their time (usually a real wake-up call for many folks), change then can happen that promotes work-life balance without and harmony within (when what one thinks, feels, says and does are in alignment).

Too, many self-employed, many entrepreneurs also begin to see the difference between being engaged in a hobby and having a career/profession vis-a-vis how they devote themselves to their work. Helps keeps folks from operating on rote, patterned behavior that are often self-destrutive, self-defeating and self-sabotaging.

Wally Bock

Great posts. Let me add two quotes from people I admire.

From Albert Einstein: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, and no simpler."

From Warren Buffett talking about how they manage all of Berkshire Hathaway's businesses with an headquarters staff of less than 20. "It's not difficult, but you can make it that way."

Steve Roesler

Well, Wally, that sort of says it all from two guys with lots of street cred.

Now I'm thinking about the fact that both of these men are admired and respected, yet somehow--certainly in the corporate world--complexity is still equated with "big thinking" while the person with the simple solution is often dismissed.

I wonder what causes that kind of thing to be perpetuated in light of all we know about simplicity?

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