One of the things that never ceases to amaze me, is the lengths that some people go to overcomplicate even the simplest of tasks. I have no clue what value they see in the added complexity, or why they would think it would improve things, but it's one of the key constants I see in every failure or under-performing organisation.
Complexity confuses people. It undermines their confidence and is not just any enemy of execution, as Tony Robbins says, but it is one of the mortal enemies of success.
Here are my 26 favourite simplicity quotes to help inspire you to search for simple solutions.
- "That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains." - Steve Jobs
- "Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things." - Isaac Newton
- "In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- "It is always the simple that produces the marvelous." - Amelia Barr
- "People often associate complexity with deeper meaning, when often after precious time has been lost, it is realized that simplicity is the key to everything." - Gary Hopkins
- "Simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability." - Edsger Dijkstra
- "It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials." - Bruce Lee
- "I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures." - Lao Tzu
- "Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject." - Thomas Mann
- "Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials." - Lin Yutang
- "Simplicity is a state of mind." - Charles Wagner
- "Understanding reduces the greatest to simplicity, and lack of it causes the least to take on the magnitude." - Raymond Holliwell
- "Simplicity is the outcome of technical subtlety. It is the goal, not the starting point." - Maurice Saatchi
- "The evolution of knowledge is toward simplicity, not complexity." - L. Ron Hubbard
- "Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification." - Martin H. Fischer
- "Things are never as complicated as they seem. It is only our arrogance that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems." - Muhammad Yunus
- "The role of genius is not to complicate the simple, but to simplify the complicated." - Criss Jami
- "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci
- "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." - Albert Einstein
- "The greatest ideas are the simplest." - William Golding
- "Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, processes, and procedures." - Tom Peters
- "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler " - Albert Einstein
- Growth creates complexity, which requires simplicity." - Andy Stanley
- "Complexity is impressive, but simplicity is genius." - Lance Wallnau
- "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful." - John Maeda
- "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." - Confucius
People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and complexity just adds to that fear and erodes confidence.
The simpler we can keep things the more successful we will be, it's as simple as that!