We can be forgiven for thinking life is complicated. We can even make allowances for those who expect complicated solutions to life’s problems. But why do we question something just because it’s simple? Perhaps the mind feels insulted, preferring solutions akin to its own complexity. Maybe we struggle to accept the simplicity because it trivialises our predicament. Whatever the reason, the same question can be seen on every face at some point in their personal development: ‘Surely it can’t be that simple?’
Well, yes, it is that simple (although it’s not always easy); and we get an idea of how simple when we look at professional development and the structures available in the workplace. At work the incentives to improve are clear: money, status, responsibility. We are encouraged to seek challenges, learn new skills, and gain greater experience in our chosen field, all of which bring their own reward. People work hard to be good at what they do. Furthermore, if something goes wrong at work, action is taken and procedures are implemented to help ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. Simple.
All we have to do is apply the same to our personal life: continuous improvement, refining processes as we go, and putting procedures in place when and where necessary. Helpfully, we already know the product intimately. We have been testing it for years and have incredible amounts of performance data. The more notice we take of that data, the easier it becomes to understand how it all works and what we need to function at our best.
Awareness, observation, and reflection are all you need to get started. Then, when you take action and you discover what works for you, keep doing it. That last instruction seems obvious, but it needs to be stated because, unfortunately, as we progress the likelihood increases that we will abandon the procedures and routines which have made our life easier. We get to the point where we feel we can do without them, and lose sight of the fact that it is precisely those interventions which help us maintain the life we created. Maybe we abandon them because they are too simple.