Simplicity Over Complexity
I love quotes
I literally collect them. I have an entire folder on my phone that is just filled with quotes.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn't, pays it - Albert Einstein (allegedly)
The Chains of Habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken - Bertrand Russell
Opportunities are missed because they come dressed in overalls and they look too much like work - Thomas Edison
Appreciate your position while plotting your promotion - Jalen Rose
History does not repeat but it does rhyme - Mark Twain
Discipline equals Freedom - Jacko Willink
There is no art to find the mind's construction in the face - My Dad (But really Shakespeare)
A dull pencil is sharper than the sharpest mind - My Dad
Plans are useless but Planning is invaluable - Dwight D Eisenhower
As the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? - Winston Churchill
Act like you'll live forever, plan like you won't - Unknown
Save like a pessimist, Invest like an optimist - Morgan Housel
Generosity is Greater than Greed - Kelechi Iwuaba
Okay Imma stop here
I could literally keep going all day.
But the reason I love quotes so much is the way it coveys complex ideas in a succinct manner. It also allows for people to be able to take action immediately rather than trying to parse through layer after layer of minutiae. I read this blog from Morgan Housel and he puts this idea in the best way:
If you’re going to act on a problem that is monstrously complex and uncertain, the stripped-down, rules-of-thumb response is not only good enough. It can be superior to tripping over yourself in pursuit of something that appears marginally more accurate.
The problem is most of us HATE simple ideas.
We flee from it.
We regularly choose the path of MOST RESISTANCE rather than the path of least resistance.
Because Complexity looks sexier.
It is easy to get mesmerized by someone using big fancy language we do not understand. Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's right-hand man, was once asked why more people haven't copied the Berkshire Hathaway strategy seeing as they have been so successful. Charlie replied, “More investors don’t copy our model because our model is too simple. Most people believe you can’t be an expert if it’s too simple.”
We crave experts.
The question is WHY?
A part of it is the way we have been raised through the school systems. School has taught us complex is better for a lot of things (remember BSing your way through a 5-page paper or 5 paragraph math problems? Like WHY?)
But I mainly believe it is because it frees us of responsibility. We can say "Man that is just too complicated that's why I cannot do it. Someone else needs to do it for me." By doing this we can blame someone else when things go wrong. Cause we don't want the responsibility for our own actions.
And when someone shows us the path of least resistance, we hate it. Because there is nowhere to hide no one to blame. We know it is on us to either take action or do nothing. It basically makes us feel naked. And no one likes to feel naked.
This plays itself out so well in personal finance and investing. Everything in personal finance can be basically distilled to one sentence:
Live on Less Than You Make, Invest and Save the Rest
That is it.
However, no one wants to hear this. Most people want to talk about fancy tax strategies that they can never use or complicated business ventures or find the next million-dollar 💩 coin. Than to actually do the things that will help them take control of their finances.
Its crazy how often people ask me, "How can I get a better credit score?"
I reply with, "Pay your bills and debts on time. Avoid carrying balances. Use less than 30% of your credit line."
They reply, "Nah that can't be it."
Then they go find someone who sells them some trash product that will do nothing to help them.
The irony is simple answers are actually much more complicated when put into practice. The beauty in them is you can actually take action while still learning as Morgan Housel puts it:
Rules of thumb give you time to learn, and learning gives you rules of thumb.
Most important is accepting that when you’re dealing with uncertainty and complexity, simple ideas are not dumbed-down ideas. They are often complex solutions gift wrapped for you in a way that makes their application practical and sustainable.
In all, do your best to resist the urge to choose more complexity, especially with your money. There will be a day when complexity is the answer and you will know exactly when that day comes.
But for the time being, CHOOSE SIMPLICITY!
This also applies to life, as the saying goes
KISS - KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!