Please see below selected recent simplicity-related change.
- The School of Life believes that the fear that erodes our willingness to live a simpler life is the haunting thought that other people are having a wonderful time while we are not. Perhaps we could manage to get by, but surely we’d always be conscious of how much we were missing out on. Yet a ‘worldly’ life carries a heavy load of limitations, defects and sorrows. The life of the well-to-do is less enviable than it outwardly seems.
- “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Leonardo da Vinci allegedly said. For business leaders, the aphorism is particularly pertinent in a world that is growing more complex by the minute. Simplicity does not mean simple or simplistic. It means whittling things down to its essential elements. Blaise Pascal and/or Winston Churchill famously said that writing a long letter takes less time than crafting a short one.
- Many damage themselves by fearing public opinion, of going in too many directions, trying to keep up with the Joneses, of trading what we want most for what we want now, of having to have too many things regardless of who gets hurt in the process. Thoreau, by way of contrast, always advocated simplicity, writing in Walden that: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
- Visa founder Dee Hock said that “Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behaviour. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behaviour.” However, business often really is complicated. Surveys show that most executives experience high levels of anxiety over the complexity of their business systems. These systems, created and operated by very smart people to provide some measure of predictability and control, have become so complex that the systems themselves have introduced anxiety into business environments. This complexity amplifies leadership angst, impacting both business and personal lives in unhealthy ways, warned Forbes. There is therefore increasing interest in the value of simplification, if only to alleviate the anxiety around complexity that burdens contemporary leaders.
- German was once the language of engineering and science, but as the world became more scientific, English became the common tongue. The reason may be German's notoriously irregular nouns. Analysis of more than two thousand languages has found that languages with more speakers are usually simpler than less popular languages. Many English nouns can be turned into plurals by simply adding -s, whereas the German system requires much more memorisation. Perhaps too popular languages have simpler grammars because they cover larger geographical space and speakers are far from each other, or because large communities have more contact with outsiders.
- National Simplicity Day is celebrated on 12 July annually in the US to honour Henry David Thoreau, who advocated the life of simplicity. He encouraged people to step back and look at ways to simplify life and avoid a busy lifestyle. "As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler", believed Thoreau.
- Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include, for example, reducing one's possessions, generally referred to as minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency. Simple living may be characterised by individuals being satisfied with what they have rather than want.
- The concept of simplicity has been related to in the field of philosophy of science, particularly in the concept of Occam's razor, the problem-solving principle that states that "entities should not be multiplied without necessity".
- The School of Life warned against pretending that we are simpler than we really are and that too much psychology might be nonsense and fuss about nothing. In such circumstances, we lean on a version of robust common-sense to ward off intimations of our own awkward complexity. We imply that not thinking very much is, at base, evidence of a superior kind of intelligence.