Keep It Simple, Stupid

It’s counter-intuitive to keep things simple. We naturally look for complicated solutions, because problems are often quite complicated. But if the problem is complicated and the solution is complicated, we are dealing with two complicated things, instead of just one. 

Simplicity seems too obvious — too simple. But if we hope to solve complicated problems it’s best to look for the simplest approach. Or, to paraphrase Occam’s razor: the simplest answer is usually correct. Or Einstein, who said “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” 

An analogy: The stock market is complicated and the overwhelming majority of investors under-perform the S&P 500 benchmark, by a lot. But out-outperforming or matching the benchmark is relatively simple. Most investors aren’t able to do it, because the way to do it seems too simple (and boring). Another reason is that we prefer complicated strategies, because they make us feel smart. 

Simplicity often works, but it’s not easy, because you have to keep your complicated self out of the way.