When looking at the illustration above, our eyes move quickly from the “glob” of lines in the middle to the light bulb. Illustrating complexity (the “glob” of lines) into a meaningful idea or conclusion (the light bulb). What is missed is the little dot on the left side of the illustration. It is from here we can quickly see simplicity’s dual nature.
The dot on the left represents our starting point. Be it an idea or problem. Everything looks simple when we start. This dot is fixed. The light bulb on the right is our conclusions or solutions to a problem or situation. Always bright and clear in our minds regardless of the tangled lines in the middle.
You see the tangled lines in the middle are highly dependent on who we are. We could re-draw the illustration above with no tangled lines. This reminds us of those who quickly jump to conclusions. They fight hard convincing others that their conclusion or solution is right. Simplicity appears given with no need for debate or exploration. Those here see no value in complexity in their minds.
Make the tangled lines much larger than the lightbulb and what appears is someone who gets lost in details. Never seeing the whole picture. Making it very hard for them to make a decision or come to a conclusion. When we become stuck here, we over-value complexity never realizing how quickly it slows us down. Simplicity becomes difficult to see because everything in the tangled lines appears so important.
When we use a straight line to get to our light bulb, simplicity weakens. More doubted. And too easy. Where simplicity is born out of a tangled set of lines, it strengthens everything around it. Clarity begins to appear and an explainable direction emerges to guide our next steps. This is the dual nature of simplicity. It can be both a weakness or a strength depending on “how you get there”.
While it’s easy to view the tangled lines as complexity that leads to confusion, it visually challenges us to untangle what we see and feel, before we look for our light bulb. The tangled lines represent context, nuance, and perspective. Deeper explorations into parts of the issue, idea, or problem we face may be necessary. Giving us a sense of how understanding develops and how messy it can be to get there. The tangled lines could also easily represent our life experiences as well which then lead to a different type of understanding upon self-reflection.
Simplicity is sometimes rushed to protect our egos making us look smarter in a conversation than we truly are. Often overlooked for its important role in the development of strength within growing organizations. Revealing it’s value to those that take the time to “untangle” before simplifying with any problem or issue they face. For it is in the untangling where we begin to find clarity and increasing conviction in the solutions or next steps we are about to take.