Make it simple, but significant
“Make it simple, but significant”, said Don Draper.
Other than its essence, what I love about this saying is there’s more than one way you can put it. And with more than one way to put it, there are many ways to apply it in your life.
Even the three words I use as a staple to what my life should be about (fun, simple, meaningful) embed the principle of this saying in it.
In itself, it’s a simplistic idea. Oversimplified, I suppose. But when we translate this into any form of creative or entrepreneurial pursuit, the concept bears merit in finding the best way to uncomplicate great and complex ideas that matter to us.
In any endeavour, the above-all tenet is to always step back and see that we are delivering something meaningful—for ourselves or others—in the simplest way possible.
As a creative, this might be for your logo where the simplest forms are easier to understand (think apple), or, simplifying a lengthy and detailed restaurant that, when presented thoughtfully, won’t result in a headache for your customers when they just want to pick a dish. For yourself, that might be the possessions in your room or the way you speak or react to things.
Self-Mastery lives in the idea that you should continuously improve and simplify all viable aspects of your life that genuinely make a difference for you today and tomorrow. We can achieve this quest of simplicity by just asking ourselves the right questions (see below).
And in doing so, we can make sure we consistently keep life simple or do something meaningful, for ourselves or for others.
What’s on My Mind
Some questions I want to start asking myself every day:
Is this essential?
Am I progressing?
Why am I taking this so seriously?
Am I making a positive contribution?
"What would less look like?"
Two weeks ago, I was on the train home, staring deeply and mindlessly at the scurrying tracks next to me. After a short while, I zoned back in and started playing a little game of trying to sharpen my focus on the wooden railroad ties as they zoomed past as a fun (weird) thing to do to pass the time. As I tried, I noticed how difficult it actually is to focus on many planks at once. But when my eyes fixated on one at a time, it was easy to see its details for a few seconds as it passed. It got me thinking.
Something I learned about the best endurance athletes in the world is that they are the best at training easy and training hard when they need to. They do so much exercise that they have to be good at resting and going easy — or they’ll struggle. They can be disciplined, go slow, relax, rest. Because when they are on, they are really on.
"Patience is a competitive advantage. In a surprising number of fields, you can find success if you are simply willing to do the reasonable thing longer than most people."
Favourite Things This Week
Vive Le Tour! - The Tour de France has begun this week. As cycling is knit so tightly to my heart I’ll be watching it every day. Oh, and my favourite athlete is back at it—Mark Cavendish!
Reminder - Your brain is 73% water. Drink up.
Video - 19yr old Cameron gives one of the realist, most heartfelt stories on cancer and just his mindset and reasons for smiling every day is unbelievable.
A Question For You
What’s an amazing difference between you and most other people?
It’s been a pleasure. See you next week.
P.S: I know I know, I keep changing how the newsletter looks and it might seem weird. I just want it to get it right. And I’ll be honest with you… a few people have unsubscribed recently, which is why your feedback is important to me. It’s good because so many of you are still reading—I just want to keep writing better essays and content for you to enjoy. So, I’m always open to an email if you have any questions or (constructive!) criticism you want to give.