The Business of Simple

I read recently that the very simple act of walking barefoot on grass is a powerful and natural stress reliever. In the last year alone, the US paid over $42 million in losses related to stress and anxiety (lost time, medication, etc). It’s big business. And yet, taking off your shoes and putting your feet in the grass is one way to relieve stress (at least a little). 2013-06-16 15.00.25-1

All around us, the opportunity to ratchet up and feel a lot of stress and to try and overcomplicate everything abounds. At the moment I am typing this sentence, 325 NEW books on diet have been published over the last 30 days (and that’s only in the English language, that I searched). So well over 325 versions of what you should eat and how it will make you healthier and how wonderful your life will be. Our grandparents and great grandparents (most of them) did okay without diet books. They ate what they could afford. They did a lot of moving around. They didn’t need 325 new diet books.

The Business of Simple

The trick is this: simple has become a choice, and something you have to select over and over again. Simple is now yours to watch out for and care for, like a steward. You can buy the fancy bicycle, or you can buy the one that gets you there. You can use twelve different social networks for different purposes, or you can pick a few and work with those. All “things” answers have a simple and a complex option. Chipotle has about 16 options on their menu and can make thousands of variable combinations. Plenty of restaurants have pages and pages of options.

You don’t want to pay $9 for the hotel water bottle? Stop at the drug store and buy water there before going to your room. Simple. You don’t know how to keep up with MashableTechCrunchHackerNewsGawkerWhatever? Stop. I did. Years ago. Now, I just let you tell me if something’s interesting. Simple is my business. It’s a choice.

The Secret of Simple

Here’s the secret to most things we don’t know enough about: if we can, try it ourselves and learn something. If we can’t try without some base knowledge, learn from someone who knows. If we can’t do that, read something and try based on that. And so on. Guess what new books about lifting weights in them have that the old books don’t? New pictures. And some new names. Sometimes, a new line of thinking. And yet, the paleo diet (pretending we’re cavemen) and the CrossFit fitness craze (pretending we’re Olympic weightlifters) are mostly shiny reworks of older ideas.

Simple is often something we already know, but don’t trust ourselves to believe. (tweetable)

Speaking of Simple

This weekend, Sunday to be precise, I’ll share with you my simple approach on business and marketing. You’ll read it, nod perhaps, and agree that it’s simple, and yet, it’s likely something you’re not doing the way I’m doing it. I’d love for you to peek.

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  • Roger Whitney

    Chris, Beautiful. Social media has given everyone a voice and we all feel the pressure to be heard. Even if we have nothing unique to say (which is okay).

    • Chris Brogan

      I suppose feeling pressure, however, isn’t always a goal, is it?

  • Jake Bauer

    Couldn’t agree more! Occam’s Razor states that, all things being equal, the simple solution is most likely the correct one. In life and in business, simpler tends to be better. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Chris Brogan

      Big fan of that razor. : )

  • Kris Pennella

    There’s much to be said about KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Break things down into digestible chunks, schedule breathers/breaks for yourself and take pause before taking action. If you “don’t sweat the small stuff” you’re better enabled to tackle the larger/meatier items.

    Bare feet in sand and/or water… instant stress relief! (note, not so useful in snow/ice conditions)

    • Chris Brogan

      True. Not as good in ice. Got it : )

  • Josh Collins

    What a great and powerful message! Keeping it simple! Often times I experience the most amount of peace, when I draw a deep breath and go back to simple.

    • Chris Brogan

      Breathing is profoundly simple, and yet, lots of us do it wrong. : )

  • Jorge Silvestrini

    Cut back, get back to doing one or two things. We’ve all talked about it and continue to read about it. 80/20 and forget the rest… Need to really focus on our strengths and forget the rest! At least it sounds pretty.

    • Chris Brogan

      It requires the doing. You can do it. : )

  • Joel Pinto

    Definitely a great message, Chris! So many people spend their time trying to do as many things as they possibly can instead of doing only those that will truly allow the to reach their goals, whatever they are. Wonderful message. Sharing it :-D

    • Chris Brogan

      Agreed, Joel. It took me a long time to get there. : )

      • Joel Pinto

        I believe it happens to all of us: There are so many exciting things out there that it’s sometimes just difficult to focus :-D

        Will keep in touch! Happy friday!

  • Monica Nielsen

    Simple but significant our your inspiring words and message. Thanks Chris

    • Chris Brogan

      Well thanks, Monica. : )

  • Jackie Hutchings

    There’s something very liberating about living a simple life. I’m trying to avoid supermarkets and just buy local fresh food. It makes deciding what to cook for dinner much easier. The amount of choice in our supermarkets scrambles my brain. On another note, thanks for the pointer to Click to Tweet – I’ll be using that :-)

    • Chris Brogan

      I sure think so. Simple is often more fun. And you’re welcome. : )

  • nateriggs

    Really loved reading this one, Chris. I tend to overcomplicate things, so it’s a good reminder. #gobarefoot

  • Katie

    OMG. I Love this message and the perception that “simple” is a choice! I feel completely liberated! Off to throw some shit away and choose “simple”! Thank you!

  • Paul Jarvis

    The business of simple is sustainable too—I’ve been doing it for 15 years. Which is why I have to laugh a bit with this new “simple/flat/anti-skeuomorphism” craze in design right now. Sometimes simple’s en vogue and that’s cool, sometimes it’s not, and it’s my differentiator. Either way, I’m stoked.

  • Owen Marcus

    Earthing, putting your feet on the ground was proven effective in helping many health conditions by an old friend of mine –

    Biophysicist James Oschman PhD. Jim is the salt of the earth. He takes what many would have you believe is complicated and makes it useable.

    I need to run, I need to put my feet on the earth…

  • Rich Becker

    Anytime we have an opportunity to focus on one thing intently, we reduce stress. Think about the best moments: walking on a beach, looking across the table at someone you love, being drawn into a movie, diving into an exercise set, etc. And yes, putting your feet in the grass with enough purpose to appreciate why you are doing it. Excellent reminder Chris. Sharp as always.

  • Adam Silver

    Simple is just that. Simple. I went/going that route for the past two year – started with reading most of The Primal Blueprint. Plan. Eat Healthy things. Move (physically) life a heavy thing every now and then, and toss in a sprint. Dropped 25lbs…feel way better. Mental state is totally connected to physical state. Simple. Thx CB.

  • Warren Berger

    This is a great subject — we really need to get a better understanding of what “simple” means and how it is achieved. I’m a great admirer (and occasional collaborator) with the longtime simplicity guru Alan Siegel (who started Siegel + Gale). He’s been working on this issue for decades, created the U.S. EZ tax form, etc. Siegel’s new book (appropriately called “Simple”) lays out 3 simplicity principles: empathize, distill, and clarify. He also makes the point that achieving simplicity is anything but simple–it tends to be very hard work.

  • Sean Hull

    “The trick is this: simple has become a choice, and something you have to select over and over again.”

    Yep. As a consultant I manage multiple clients, networking & billing, marketing, SEO & blogging constantly. Clients, colleagues & coworkers often ask me how do you do it all and still seem to not be rushed.

    I could talk about zero inbox stuff, but really it’s about keeping it simple and always choosing simple. Good post Chris.

  • Gina Rafkind

    Love this Chris….and is something that was and is a key part of my own healing journey and now what I share with others and clients…..the keys to living a healthy, more anxiety free life always comes back to the fundamental, and simple, teachings………and like you said, we ‘don’t trust ourselves to believe it’. Thx :)

  • davewakeman

    I used to take this idea of simplicity for granted, but I’ve just spent a few months working on a project where every single thing needed to be the most complex and wasteful decision and I’ve embraced simplicity again. Nice post.

  • frugalfaye

    “Simple is often something we already know, but don’t trust ourselves to believe.” <—-THIS. Encouraged me this morning.

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  • Mike Kaput

    Chris, thanks for this. Reminders like this make it a little easier to keep choosing simple.

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