Keeping it Simple Isn't Simple

Posted on 10:24, under

Ever since making "Keep It Simple" my main goal I have kept a sign that says "KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid" where I can see it all the time I'm at my desk and computer.
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It is so much easier said than done. I wrote an article a few weeks ago about keeping things simple, and making it my top goal for 2008. Not a SMART goal - but certainly a behavior shift that can keep the main things the main things, and keep me from - as a former boss put it - "getting tangled up in my own underwear." Homely little description, and funny, but if you've been there, you know what it means.

I have made a conscious effort to simplify things - and have been successful in looking at a number of issues and cutting through self imposed crap and being better for it. Progress is being made - some underwear has definitely been untangled.

But at the same time, it continues to be tough to untangle and get going.

A story to illustrate the point:

I am looking forward to a fly fishing trip with my son in law in the mountains around Lynchburg VA at Easter time. Really excited about it. I've been researching the flies that are most likely to catch trout at that time of the year in that area. Turns out there are a lot of them. Plus, every fly fisher has their own favorites. And the magazines all have killer patterns. And even the patterns that are personal favorites have many variations. And then the question of what sizes to tie ........ Do you see where this is going?

Every time I sit down to tie flies, a decision has to be made as to which of twelve patterns to tie - in what colors - in what sizes - in what variations. Talk about getting tied up in one's underwear! This is supposed to be fun - not an exercise in frustration.

Uncle Jimmy - the ultimate minimalist - a product of the Great Depression and World War II -one rod, one reel, two flies that he tied just before going fishing - one brown, one black. And did he catch fish! If he could see the equipment, the materials, the books, the videos, the magazines that I have accumulated, he'd just shake his head and roll another cigarette.

How to get out of this self inflicted, fly tying rat trap? The first step is to simplify - reduce the number of fly patterns down to three - a tough thing to do. And then pick just one hook size, and then take action - start tying flies. Replace this process and analysis paralysis with some straightforward action. I'm gonna feel a lot better for it - I know it. I'm gonna keep it simple - or at least simpler.

This behavior of getting tied up in one's underwear will happen again and again. It's been a part of my behavior for a long time. But by keeping my KISS goal in front of me I'm going to do a better job of recognizing it and taking action to stay out of it. I'm going to have to replace the behavior I don't want with KISS behavior.

Keeping it simple isn't simple, particularly when our behaviors, our values, our skills all have been conditioned to complicate matters. And let's face it- a lot of things are complicated. But we all can be more effective in every part of our lives by adopting a behavior of action, rather than of analysis paralysis. If you see your own behavior in this confession of mine, press on, persevere and open up a whole new level of effectiveness for yourself.

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