Keeping Things Simple

Our ability to communicate things in a simple way is a critical skill that can lead us to influence our ideas and thoughts on the people through the power of words. If we want to make a big difference in our world, families or communities, we must communicate things simply and effectively. So what does it take to keep things simple? It takes focus, clarity, and grip on the knowledge you have. This quote by Einstein “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” implies that one must have a firm grip in the knowledge of that specific topic to make it understand it to others and one must get to the level of understanding of another person.

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It is similar to how teachers reach the level of understanding of the primary level students to make them understand or learn simple alphabets or counting with the help of fruits or building blocks. It is commonly believed that students mostly opt for those courses which they enjoy mainly because teachers explain complex stuff in such an interesting and simple way that students actually enjoy in learning that. To emphasize on the importance of keeping things simple, we must look back in the history where leaders and rulers made their ways by communicating with the native illiterate people in simple words by focusing on the “what’s in it for me” benefit approach. But now let’s come back to the present where technology has taken over the world, where a layman can’t understand software, hardware and the new advancements in technology. But how has technology evolved so much? It is because people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, two tech leaders, who were experts in their field of work sold their complex things to the people in the simplest yet fascinating way.

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Apple became a hit even when no one knew nothing about its technical features by introducing the idea of iPod to people as “Imagine carrying your entire music collection in your pockets” which seemed easy and interesting to understand. Similarly, Bill Gates, formerly known as the richest man in the world but currently famous for his philanthropic work meets with all kinds of people with limited exposure. He describes that “terminology is an occupational hazard of philanthropy”. In his blog he discussed about the book; “Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words” by Randall Munroe in which various subjects like smartphones, constitution, etc. are being discussed in the 1000 most commonly used words in English. Gifted people like storytellers have an edge over explaining things simply and beautifully but those who aren’t gifted with such talent what should they do? They must get hands on some techniques and hone their skills in it.

The widely used technique is the Feynman technique which is named after the Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman who was regarded as the “The Great Explainer”.

He majorly contributed in describing the most complicated concepts like Quantum Physics into simplest terms. The Feynman Technique includes four steps:

1- Choose a concept

2- Review and simplify

3- Identify gaps and research more

4- Simplify it enough to teach it to toddler also by using analogies

These steps were used to explain concepts like Quantum Physics so we can use it anywhere in our life but we are often not confident enough to explain things to people. We think using powerful heavy vocabulary would show off our intelligence instead it poorly demonstrates it as people clearly don’t get what we say. In Business, people try to sell their ideas and thoughts in such a complex way to artificially decorate it as unique and different but it backfires like a fully overloaded furnished room with no space to walk. Therefore, a touch of genius and a lot of courage is required to go in the opposite direction of explaining things in the easiest way rather than showing off intelligence. Hence, using easy plain English in communication, or dressing up simply yet elegant and cooking with few ingredients but deliciously exactly tells us that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.