When my little sister Barbie was in the Brownies, a summer was spent teaching them about outdoor safety and survival. There was a test at the end, and to the question:
“How do you dress for outdoors?”
“Go behind a tree.”
I believe she should have passed that test on the merit of the simplicity and correctness of the answer alone, because I’m a fan of simple solutions.
Life is hard. Stuff happens all the time, and if you own a business, you can double any difficulty rating, and triple or quadruple it during a pandemic. But in spite of life’s inherent difficulties, it’s not unusual for us to hear about people making work and life even harder than they need to be. It’s a waste of time and energy. There’s no emotional benefit or profit in making things harder. In fact, the simplest P&Ls can help sell a business faster than those with more line items than an Ikea catalog. And the simplest solution is often also the least expensive and the easiest to implement.
We’ve learned to be wary if a project of our own starts to bounce back to us too many times with too many questions and too many options and arguments for or against. If we proudly put it out there on a platter and it starts coming back as a steaming pile, we’ve learned to suck out all the ego of ownership and take a closer look at what we’re trying to accomplish. Our 110+ years of work experience have taught us this: If the process of bringing something to fruition gets all gummy and messy and heavy, it’s the world telling us that it’s not a good thing for this moment, and that continuing to ride this slow and balky horse might not be the best option for us. At least not right now. Maybe later. Maybe not.
I’m not suggesting that anyone “give up” easily. We’ve managed many difficult business deals that have come to fruition only because we’ve put our heads down and barreled through the bramble patch. Everybody needs to do that once in a while. I’m talking about when you encounter Simple vs. Multi-Layered projects, when you have other options, when you don’t need to do it, but in an idle moment, thought it might be a good idea – perhaps even a Great Idea! – and yet … and yet you’re not 100% on board and nothing about it seems to work right or move smoothly. The world is trying to tell you something.
It’s a simple solution: Just walk away. Maybe you’ll revisit it later. Maybe never. Save that energy for better things.
October 28, 2020