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I learned a long time ago that much in “life” can be easier just by following a simple concept known as KISS, or Keep it Simple Stupid. I am not sure how I learned about this principle. Maybe I learned about KISS by reading or observing others, both of which are some of the main things that my personality trait does (INTJ). Or maybe I learned it back in the corporate world. Regardless, I somehow found how effective KISS is, and I am sure glad I did.

I think Keeping it Simple makes so many things so much easier. The concept can apply to maybe everything in life; such as where you live, outlook on business, personal friendships or relationships, my fleeing and avoiding drama, lack of materialism, my love of nature and so much more.

One way I think of KISS is when it comes to work and business. How many people make things so much more complicated for themselves when it comes to work? Maybe they can’t focus on a task at hand as they are so busy making things “complicated” by multi-tasking (which is proven to be ineffective). Or they do not take the time to plan out their day or a project, instead charging full steam ahead and often making mistakes, redoing work, or being unproductive.

Or when at work they try to “recreate the wheel” (this making things complicated/more difficult) and do not research/use resources that can help them or they do not ask people who may be able to assist them that already have the answer to a work issue. If you don’t know something, keep it simple and ask! Or people wasting time on activities that are not the best use of their limited worktime. Or they overdesign stuff. Or try to do too much at once. Or they try to reach perfection when (1) perfection does not exist and (2) good enough is different for everyone and is defined in the eye of the beholder.

I can’t tell you how many clients I have had that tried to do everything and make things so much more complicated. People wanted to build a website that focuses on 10+ concepts or broad categories instead of building a simple niche focused site. Or open a store that sells various diverse, non related items instead of trying to have a store focus on a certain customer or need. They do not keep their business or idea KISS focused.

Think about simplicity in the business world. One reason google started to win the race on search ~15 years ago is their home page…the landing page was Google with a search box (just like it is today). How “clean” and simple! Google hyper focused on search, vs. their competitors such as Yahoo which focused on many things (a portal) and had a complicated home page.

Other examples of KISS in business. Apple did not invent the tablet. They did not invest the smartphone or music player (iIod). Other companies invented that technology and those items and those companies even had products on the market years before Apple…but Apple used a simple, stylish, user friendly design and interface to be successful. They kept the products simple to use, which helped them to become one of the largest companies in the world.

Think about KISS at work life balance too. People may live in high priced, congested parts of the country and spend X time commenting or what not. Or they work just to “live” to pay the bills….they struggle to pay the bills in these high cost parts of the country. My brother, who was in NY Long Island, is a great example. He recently relocated to Charlotte NC. He said he often spent 30 minutes a day looking for a parking spot in NY; ridiculous! Now he pulls right into a spot outside his new modern apartment building. And his wife no longer need to commute 3-4 hours per day on the horrible, inconsistent transit in NY. They moved to a part of the country with a much higher quality of life. They can even live off one salary now instead of both slaving to the corporate world.

KISS in personal life includes concepts such as decluttering, not pursuing materialism and living simple. Keep it Simple Stupid includes things such as being close to a minimalist. Do people really need all those clothes, utensils, shoes, accessories, and all that clutter in life and their homes? People waste their money on buying stuff they do not need, and it is usually just clutter. Get what you need and keep it simple!

KISS applies to friendships and relationships too. It is doing the small, simple, kind things for others. Maybe buy someone their favorite coffee or food at the store, hold a door open for someone, smile, ask how they are, surprise them with a bouquet of flowers, and do other small, “simple” kind acts. The big events are not what make a friendship or relationship, but the small, simple thoughtful things.

Simple is lack of drama. It is knowing when there is no need to reply to a comment or KISS is not saying something that you may regret. I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed people arguing over the most immaterial, dumbest, unimportant things. KISS is being able to go to bed maybe “not happy” or “angry” and addressing an issue the next day in a better frame of mind. It is keeping conversation and actions simple, direct and not full of drama. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.

KISS in investing and saving includes things such as paying yourself first before spending money. Or buying investments that are not super complicated. The fact is probably 95%+ of people do not beat the S&P market averages. Keep it simple and invest in the basics.

Anyhow, KISS is a simple concept in theory. And it really should be so easy to follow, but many people struggle with it and make things and make their life much more complicated and difficult than it needs to be.


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate and is the Vice President of Billhelp.uk. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money, and you too can fine help improving financial literacy skills. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

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