Why Simple Is Better

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, and no simpler.” — Albert Einstein

I’m no gourmet chef. I make a handful of simple meals that I’ve perfected through the years. Chicken Marbella. Israeli Cous Cous with Spinach and Cranberries. Squash Pie. Heavenly Brownies (recipe below). You’ll find me serving these dishes over and over and over. I don’t enjoy hours in the kitchen so I try to stay away from recipes that have more than 5 steps. My family and guests don’t seem to mind.

In the workplace, I get downright giddy when I see simple in action: Simple web designs. Crisp writing. Brief explanations. Succinct recommendations.

Why We Make Things Complex

  • We want to appear smart.
  • We’re not sure how to synthesize all the information bombarding us.
  • We think people want more (they actually want less).
  • We forget to put ourselves in the shoes of the receiver.

Ways to Simplify

  • Practice explaining it, whatever it may be, to your grandma or a 7 year old.
  • Say it in fewer words. Turn the 5 point message into 1-2 key points.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Schedule fewer meetings.
  • Send fewer emails.
  • Focus on what you want, like or are good at. Hopefully all three at once.

Be the person who makes the complex simple. It’s much appreciated.

Heavenly Brownie Recipe

1 pan of brownies (your favorite brownie mix is fine)

1 bag of chocolate chips

1 cup of peanut butter

2 cups of Rice Crispies

1 jar of marshmallow fluff

Prepare brownies. Let them cool. Spread one layer of fluff over the brownies. Place chocolate chips and peanut butter into a microwavable bowl for 2 minutes or until melted. Stir. Add Rice Crispies. Mix well. Spread mixture on top of fluff layer. Store in refrigerator or freeze.


Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele or through email at msteele@www.people-results.com.