We associate complexity with expertise, innovation, and authority.
Complexity is often smoke and mirrors. Marketers are aware of the allure of complexity and will exploit our complexity bias by using jargon to impress rather than to inform customers. For example: “Utilising a Vita-Ciment® Complex, Kérastase Resistance Bain Force Architecte, is a strengthening shampoo that has been specially formulated to cleanse and fortify damaged hair at erosion levels 1-2”
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While simplicity can lead to innovative thinking, complexity is often used to impress rather than to help.
Complexity is not all bad. Some complexity is desirable. When things are too simple, it is often boring. The ideal level of complexity is a moving target - the more expert we become, the more complexity we prefer. We can find a good balance by asking if this complexity level adds to the experience or overcomplicates it.
People tend to prefer complex solutions over plain ones.
"Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better."
Simple thinking can lead to better plans, communication, and execution.
"It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Simple thinking can lead to safer plans, better communication, and easier execution. The power of simplicity is apparent throughout history, where strategists and artists alike strived for simplicity. Let's look at a few examples!
Intellectual certainty can limit our creativity. Where lies a certain path, many alternative doors leading to innovative ideas are ignored. In contrast, negative capability is the art of embracing intellectual uncertainty.
Negative capability is about uncertainty, mystery, and doubt, as opposed to “fixed” and “enforced” conceptions of the world. Negative capability encourages us to keep an open mind and always consider the possibility that we may be wrong. Negative capability goes hand in hand with continuous learning, discouraging arrogance, and encouraging personal growth.
The belief that societies continue to decline is often linked with rosy retrospection - believing that the past was better and the future more negative.
Declinism can cloud your judgement and steer you toward bad decisions.