The Essentials of Keeping It Simple

30 April 2011,by A. Cedilla

There are several flavors of KISS available, aside from the tartly traditional “Keep it simple, stupid!”

There’s the sweeter “Keep it short and simple,” for people who want less attitude, and the more eloquent “Keep it short and straightforward,” for the more precise among us.

As an example, The KISS Principle as applied to coding embodies the very essence of the entire idea. It’s short, straightforward and gets to the point: helping you apply KISS to your work.

In KISS, the fewer things and factors to consider, the fewer things can go wrong. When you factor out the non-essentials, you leave more focus on the vital 20% (of the 80/20 principle, a supportive, close cousin to KISS) and make more time for the essentials, so you have a leg up on what needs to be accomplished to actually getting it done.

Like the circles on a dart board which successively narrow down your focus to the bull’s-eye, keeping things simple asks you to marrow down on the heart of the matter, what is essential to its success — and then taking action to get to that point. If you know that this needs to happen so that that gets to become a reality — you move to make this happen so that you can have that.

Plain and simple.

Simple is knowing what is essential. And then doing what is needed for it to happen.

  • Essential to success, not just as an entrepreneur but as a person, as someone’s son or daughter, a friend, a spouse, a parent …
  • Essential is not just to getting things done, but getting the important things done, taking advantage of the time and the opportunities we are given.
  • Essential to contentment — not chasing after the new shiny (unless that’s your thing) but appreciating the good things you already have and maybe just don’t notice anymore.
  • Essential to life, the living of it and making of it.
  • Essential to joy and the sharing of it for now and for the community, and for the next generation.

When you have a center to work around, you can let the empty spaces around that core be filled with the tides of your life, instead of feeling like you’re just barely keeping your head above water. You don’t have to feel suffocated and burdened with the thought of all you have to do, and have yet to accomplish…you have room to do what you have to, since you’re already focusing on what matters.

See, another word for simplicity is essence, the very soul of a thing. Without it, that thing loses what made it it, if you follow.

For example, go back to the article we mentioned earlier. Read it slower this time. The article is about coding using KISS, and it explains how KISS can combat spaghetti code — or code bloat — and making the coding process easier and more refined.

KISS in design and layout means less clutter and more impact. Using KISS in leadership means stronger teams and a unifying vision to keep them focused. KISS is power at your command, if you can buckle down and keep practicing it until it becomes a habit. Whatever flavor of KISS you use, make it work for you, and see how much sweeter life can become.

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