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Stop Hiding Behind Complexity

Lots of people make things overly complex. Sometimes complexity is necessary but often it’s not. A lot of times people make things complex so they can sell them. It’s hard to monetize the basics, but come up with an intricate and sexy-sounding approach to something and people will pay⁠—and often a nice amount⁠—for it. That’s the supply side of the equation. But what about the demand side? Why do people buy this stuff over and over again?

Perhaps because complexity is a way to avoid facing the reality that what really matters for most things in life is simply showing up and doing the work. Not thinking about it. Not talking about it. Not dreaming about it. But doing it.

Put differently: maybe part of our attraction to complexity is that you can hide behind it. Some examples where this trend is prevalent:

  • Fitness
  • Creativity
  • Nutrition
  • Building a company
  • Relationships

The more complex you make something the easier it is to get excited about; talk about; and maybe even get started. But the harder it is to stick to over the long-haul. Complexity gives you excuses and ways out and endless options for switching things up all the time. Simplicity is different. You can’t hide behind simplicity. You have to show up—day in, day out—and pound the stone.

If the approach you are following allows for consistency; follows some kind of periodization (stress + rest = growth); and is open to adaptation then it will probably be effective.

Do the work. Rest. Progressively make it harder. Tweak as needed. Repeat. Nothing complex about it. It’s as simple and as hard as that.

— Brad

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  1. […] lifts mentioned above, even if only because I can’t do them. My regimen has been constrained, simple, and boring. It has also been […]

  2. […] Stop Hiding Behind Complexity […]

  3. […] Popular science and self-help should not sound like academic writing, because it’s not. If a writer is using broad, complex-sounding, and ambiguous words (e.g., toxins, detox, bio-engineering) it could be a sign that they may not have much of substance to say. Also, look out for lots of neuroscience terms, especially if the writer isn’t a neuroscientist. Very few people know a lot about the brain; and technically the brain is involved in everything we perceive as reality, so it’s an easy way to dress up baloney and make it sound scientific. Finally, someone who is an expert on something should be able to describe it in fairly simple terms. Complexity is easy to hide one’s lack of knowledge behind while trying to sound smart. […]

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