The Power of being simple

Burbank, California; April 28, 2002; Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student


One of the interesting things to follow -- if you have the time for it -- is the change in people's attitude as they grow. At first, as a child, we're helpless and, hence, dependent; then, with the decrease of our dependence, comes the increase of our self-confidence: we reach adolescence and we think we're immortal and indestructible; we grow into young adulthood with a conviction that the world will be at our feet because we are so special; and after that, gradually, we start to understand that we are not independent, but interdependent. That is when we conclude that we are not only relying on our fellow human beings, but also on our pets, plants, home, books, music, the weather, and many other things, in order to feel content. It is when we reach that stage of awareness that it may dawn on us that we have no reason to be anything else but simple.

Simplicity has nothing to do with simple-mindedness. On the contrary! If you manage to acknowledge the beauty of being simple, it indicates that you have reached a stage of wisdom that rises beyond every silly display of control and power. It also indicates that you figured out that real power lies within, and that business, home, or social activities are best practiced with a simple approach. Being simple is the strength that distinguishes the most admired business, political and religious leaders from the mediocre ones. To name and consider a few, Abraham Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Eva Duarte (Evita) Peron, Martin Luther King, Lady Diana, and, in the business section, Jack Welch, G.E.'s past CEO. These strong people have all demonstrated that "simplicity of character is no hindrance to the subtlety of intellect." (Morley, 1999)

So, what we could conclude here, then, is that being simple can best be associated with a state of being mature. Nevertheless, it is surely not the case that all older people are mature -- as little as it is a fact that all younger people are immature. But it IS a fact that the realization of the power of being simple lies in having reached a stage of maturity, no matter your age. So what defines being simple? It might be better to first state what does NOT define being simple:

  • Poverty: Being simple has nothing to do with the size of your bank account.
  • Status: Being simple is not reflected by your position at work. It has nothing to do with who you are part of the time, but more with how you are all of the time.
  • Material belongings: Being simple is not mirrored by the car you drive or the house you live in. Locations and looks may be nice and desirable, but they don't ultimately define the level of your happiness.
  • Your companions: Being simple is not detectable through the people you move and groove with. Although you will choose your friends depending on what you desire from life, especially when you realize that there is a difference between friends and acquaintances, they will not determine how you feel.
  • So, what defines being simple, then?

    Being simple, in this perspective, is the sensation of one-ness with everything and everyone around you. It can be identified as the realization that no one is really above or below you, no matter his or her position, status, or financial strength. It can also be described as the realization that it is not foolish to grasp a hand that is being reached out to you, as little as it is foolish to reach out and have your hand grasped when necessary.

    Being simple is the feeling of contentment you can have, even in times when your financial situation does not resemble the picture you had painted in your mind 20 years ago. Being simple is seeing the beauty in everything, and being thankful for it. It's a matter of taking the time to smell the roses. And it is about realizing that life is too short to hold grudges, and too long -- for the same reason.

    Cooley (1999) provided a real "cool" description when considering the phenomenon of simplicity. He stated the following:

    Stuberg (1999) hit the nail of our problem on the head when he asserted,

    Being simple is a power of its own. Have you ever considered what a blessing simplicity can be? Albert Einstein has! He once stated, "when the solution is simple, God is answering." And he may very well have been right. The relief that unfussiness brings is tremendous! Once you've mastered simplicity, peace of mind will be easy to achieve. Sleepless nights may not be total history, but the number of reasons for sleepless nights will be dramatically reduced. You may even start to get amused by perceiving all those who are striving for silly honors, while they come to you much easier, BECAUSE you don't hustle them. Most of all, being simple harbors the power of enlarging your horizon -- understanding others better, perceiving things more intense, persevering for the right reasons with more dedication, listening to your intuition with more empathy, and still managing to bring the ones surrounding you in awe with your attitude. For being simple means, having the right and most admirable of all attitudes: the attitude of empathy.

    If Alexander Solzehnitzyn (2001) is right about the fact that "hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century," than all we can hope for is, that simplicity will be the cure that the 21st century will bring. What we, then, should always carry within us are these ultimate strong words by J.C. Hare (1999), "The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men." The best reward, to be gained from the abovementioned may then be the thorough understanding that "simplicity is the peak of civilization." (Sampter, 1999)


    Cooley, C. H. (1999). TPCN - Great Quotations (Quotes) by Charles Horton Cooley. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: [2002, April 28].

    Einstein, A. (1999). TPCN - Great Quotations (Quotes) by Albert Einstein. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: [2002, April 28].

    Sampter, J. (1999). TPCN - Great Quotations (Quotes) by Jessie Sampter. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: [2002, April 28].

    Stuberg, R. (1999). TPCN - Great Quotations (Quotes) by Stuberg. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: [2002, April 28].

    Various. (2001, June 06, 2001). Quotes to inspire -- Simplicity; humility, [Internet]. JOSEPHSON INSTITUTE OF ETHICS. Available: [2002, April 28].