“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Lao Tzu

The world is an incredibly complex place. As supposedly powerful and knowledgeable human beings, we tell ourselves that we can make perfect sense of everything—but the reality is that we can’t. Given this constraint of a flawed mind, how can we lead better lives? By keeping things simple.

At its core, that is what our Simplicity Paradigm is. Over the past six months, we have laid out a sequence of ideas building upon this fundamental premise.

We started our journey in September when we wrote the first column, “Tsundoku: the burden of the unread book”. Our thesis was that our minds are inherently susceptible to and tripped up by biases. The solution? While each of us copes in different ways, what works for us are: a) developing one skill deeply; b) set thumb rules to avoid the traps of biases; c) think differently by detaching ourselves from inane noise and chatter from social media and other sources.

From there, we went deeper into the biases and prejudices that colour human thought, examined the specifics of simplicity and explored how improved memory, original thinking and even spirituality all tie into it.

We believe that our ideas are works-in-progress that should be revisited every once in a while, with new ideas and beliefs. As writers, we believe in these ideas and have shared deeply personal details from our lives in the hope that our experiences are useful to the readers. In this final column, we wrap up the series and provide some final thoughts on the way forward.

But first…

A note of humility

First, neither of the authors of this series are professional psychologists. Neither are we self-help gurus. (If we were, the first people we would help is ourselves.) We aren’t the richest or the most successful people on the street. In the past six months, we have shared our collective learnings from what we have seen, read and personally lived.

Our idea of simplicity was born from living in a complex world with easy access to lots of information. For us, this complex world increased the confusion in our heads, leading us to make suboptimal decisions and lead unnecessarily cluttered lives. 

It was time to break free and the process, even for us, has just begun

Second, our knowledge and the way we perceive the world is continually evolving, with many previously held beliefs being seriously tested (for example, in nutrition the idea of intermittent fasting is contrary to the belief of having many small meals during the day—and yet, both ideas apparently hold true).