jusummerhayes (jusummerhayes) wrote,

More is not more

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” -- Bruce Lee

More sales.

More complexity.

More people.

More problem solving.

More money.

More, more, more bloody more.

I'm confused.

No, seriously.

If the name of the game is to strive for simplicity, then I'm not seeing much of it. In fact, people feel the need to heap great gobs of complexity at everything they find.


You buy in something for £x. You sell it for £x + £y= a big fat hairy profit. And yet, we dress it up with all sorts of fuzzy things like branding, market segmentation, differentiation, complex systems, faux HR programmes and all manner of useless material that makes it nearly impossible for the customer/client to understand what they're buying. (Take something like coffee. I just want to drink great coffee delivered by someone who cares, and yet here we are creating mood music, cheap uniforms, so-called loyalty programmes, ‘special’ coffees, annodyne sales patter and layer upon layer of selective branding. I don't need it.)


There are no readymade answers and yet practically every economist has only one agenda, namely growth. But it's vacuous. We need to get back to basics and ask what do we actually need, i.e. clean water, clean air and a sustainable supply of food and shelter. If we need numbers its those that show us how our material-demand-led growth is slowly killing us all. From there, we might make progress. We certainly don't need all the complex numbers that only deceive everyone to believe that the triumph of the human race is delivering stuff we don't need.


There's more heat than light. Politicians think they can predict the future. They can’t. Also, rather than getting bogged down in trying always to outmaneuver one another, they should be focused on the idea of stewardship and working together for all of us. This isn't to say we need clones but, in reality, much like the position with economics, we need to get back to basics (and not the way past Governments have articulated it but something much more radical).


How hard can it be?

Reading. Writing. Communication. Empathy. Kindness. Oh sure, a few languages and a bit of computer programming might seem trendy but we can get far more done if we all worked together in pursuit of a worthwhile goal for the greater good than having a bushel of useless qualifications. If you ask yourself what the world will look like in 50-100 years, is what our children are being taught today going to equip them to live at peace with the world they inhabit? I very much doubt it.


For what? Better health? Making our lives easier? Feeding us? Just because you can do something in half the time doesn't equate to innovation. The bigger, bolder question is do we need it at all? When I think about all the ideas that spew forth but which never go further than first base, I just wish we would ask better questions.

Of course, all of this may be completely misplaced -- what do I know after all? -- but I don't think so. It may sound pompous, but I've seen enough in my life to realise that we live in an age of complexity and excess information but practically zero wisdom. (Don’t get me started on the topic of thought leaders. Oh please...thinking about what?)

I recognise that none of what I say matters a jot, but if there's one takeaway, it's to ask yourself how you can do your bit to ease the burden on your life and those that you serve by removing unnecessary complexity. Even something like conversation is infected with the need to have the upper hand -- again more facts less wisdom.

In my life I know that to make sense of my place I won't do so unless I strip away everything. Trust me, it's a huge challenge but that's not going to stop me from trying.

What about you?


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