Have you ever heard over-complicated explanations when you ask a very simple question ? Of course you have, everybody has got actually quite used to it since he was a child, both at home, at school or at work.
We might think it’s our society that leads us to think this way, I don’t think it is true, I believe more that our education has led us to understand the complexity of the world and we tend to apply this complexity to ourselves. But this attitude is slowing our agility and capacity to think big.
For over years, we have learned very complex things, because the world, the human nature and the science are for sure complex. But understanding complex things does not necessarily mean to apply complexity to ourselves and others. Our brain can play us tricks, tend to make us believe opposite things simultaneously. To avoid that, more and more specialists recommend to get rid of this mental complexity as much as possible, to keep our choices simpler and to find a better balance in our life.
In the professional life, over-complicated things might be a sign that things are unclear. As a manager, I find it important to make sure everybody has a clear and shared understanding. Spending time on reformulating in a simple way is a good management practice. If I don’t understand something easily, why should other people do ? We live in a world where being smart is not understanding better or faster than others but leveraging collective intelligence to grow better together.
Simple is not synonymous for easy. And complex is not synonymous for clever. It’s pretty much the opposite. Being able to share complex things in a simple (but not over-simplified) way requires maturity and clear understanding of the situation. Making things complex can be a sign of uncertainty, unclarity or sometimes contempt and leads to confusion.
I think young generations have understood that. While evolving in more a more complex environments, digital natives have got used to keep things simple:
- I want to search something, I go to Google
- I want to watch a video, I go to Youtube
- I want to hear from my friends, I go to Facebook
- I want to follow trends, I go to Twitter
- I want to travel, I go to Tripadvisor
- I want to take a cab, I call Uber
- I don’t know what I want, I simply watch TV
We live a complex world where everyone has to play the role of a specialist. We are forced to address complex problems and keeping things simple help us understand each other and grow our world collectively.