Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

My blog title is a phrase that is attributed to Chinese philosopher Confucius (c. 551 – c. 479 BCE). Someone at Quora wonders what is meant by it as “I am definitely not trying to make my life complicated.” That addition poses an interesting perspective: why do we insist on making life complicated?

First and foremost, I agree with the observation by Confucius. The why fascinates me.

Ever since my 2013 burn-out, I have adopted a less = more approach and abandoned my more = better way of life. Initially, my reasons were simple: a need to save money in order to survive (eg, no income, high fixed cost). Over time, that need became a want and then turned into a belief.

In my view, our belief systems are the answer to the why question. Today, the best illustration for human beliefs (making our lives more complicated) is Technology (eg, cryptos, smartphone). In the day and age of Confucius, the best example might have been Money or Politics or Religion.

For very many years, I no longer live in the village where I was born. As a result, I needed transport (eg, car) and a communication device (eg, phone) to overcome the geographical distance that I created myself due to leaving. Hence, to a large extent, we insist on making our lives complicated.

There are plenty of reasons why a return to a simple life is an illusion. The main reason is that nearly all of us are specialists. Very few of us can grow their own food, make our own clothes and/or shoes. Nearly all of us need technology (eg, electricity, internet). Few of us can live off-the-grid.

A recent scientific study revealed that all humans died in Italy during the Last Glacial Maximum (c.26,000 to 20,000 years ago). Only some survived in southern Spain. Considering our need for technology (eg, light, heat, power), all humans might go extinct in a new glacial period.

The hidden cost of complexity are (far) beyond our comprehension (eg, AMA-2019, Gartner-2017, HBR-2019, M3-2022, McKinsey, MM, Opex-2010). The hidden opportunity of simplicity might well be our survival.

Promised You A Miracle (1982) by Simple Minds
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

Promised you a miracle
Belief is a beauty thing
Promises, promises
As golden days break wondering

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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