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Stop Performing Mental Gymnastics

 From the beginning of time, human beings have pondered the meaning of life. This trend continues today. We all have a certain desire to find purpose and meaning, especially the meaning of times during turmoil.

As a disabled person, I have spent countless hours wondering why I am disabled and the simplest answer is that it was a result of unfortunate circumstances at my birth. I can, and I have, pondered other crazy reasons. Did I do something in my past life? Am I meant to learn a lesson? The conclusion is that I need to live out my amazing life and the simplest explanation is empowering. It was just a set of unfortunate circumstances.

Occam’s razor is a scientific theory that the simplest answer might be the best answer.  The simplest answer to the coronavirus it is a once-in-a-century unfortunate occurrence.  When you make that simple conclusion, then you accept the path forward.

In college, I had a idea of writing a book. My marketing professor introduced me to a Hollywood screenwriter, Jay Lavender. Jay asked me to hire a typist and get some stories down on paper the computer. That suggestion sounded odd to me because certainly it could not be that simple, but it was and decades later I write books and blogs by writing stories down.

Where people fall short is that they want to over complicate the process. They want to make sense of the world by creating a story that is not simple. On the extreme end of making life complicated are those who buy into conspiracy theories.

When people over complicate the process, they are actually performing mental gymnastics in order to muddy the waters. It’s always easier to perform mental gymnastics than to face reality. Oftentimes, reality is scary, lonely, and can bring on other negative emotions.


When a person believes in a more complicated process, it muddies the waters and you won’t have a clear concise plan of attack. Once you have a clear and simple plan, all you are left with is the WORK. It also eliminates most excuses that you might come up with.  In fact, the only excuse that you might have is “I’m not willing to do the work.” If that’s all you are left with, then it can get scary. Decades later, whenever I want to write, I am left with a blank document with a blinking cursor.

One of my favorite speakers and buddies is Larry Winget. Larry has a simple answer to everything. He does not believe in secrets. One of his books is called, It’s Called Work For A Reason. He says that the strategy to sales is asking the customer to buy a product.  The strategy to leadership is to give others something positive to follow.

I got the honor of working with him as a client. Every time I emailed him a question, he gave me a simple, straightforward answer. At the time, it used to annoy me because I assumed that it could not be that simple, but it was.

 Larry has a number one rule for life and business. To paraphrase: Do what you say in the timeframe you say you are going to do it. This is a very simplistic approach to life, but if everybody started there, we would all achieve higher levels of success.

I am guilty of overcomplicating the process. I do most of my work in my head. I’m thinking about the process all day long and I am annoyed at the simple answer.

Part of the problem is that when we are faced with a simple answer, our identity, narrative, and ego get tested. Our narrative might tell us that we need complicated answers to look smart and, if it’s not complicated, our value will go down.

If you want to make more money in the future, develop the skills that call for the amount of money that you want to make. If you want to attract better people in your life, develop the moral character needed to attract those kind of people. If you want to live out your dreams, develop the traits of your future self.  It’s really that simple.

Simple is not easy.

My buddy, Chris Stevenson, who is a leader in the fitness industry says that fitness is simple, but not easy. Since simple strips your excuses, you are left with the work. The work is challenging. It’s challenging to do that last set of burpees. It’s challenging to stare at the blank computer screen. If you need to go to the psychologist or hire a coach, it’s challenging to face criticism.

One simple way to success is to surround yourself with amazing people. Give them all the tools that they need, support them, and get out of the way.

Simplifying your life is one of the most challenging things that you can do. It’s important that you fuel your success with the work and strip down the excuses.

 Not always is a simple answer justified. Normally, we are dealing with multiple individuals or even whole political systems. Narrative and ego get in the way of finding the right path forward.  Human beings crave status, power, and the simple solution gets in the way of our narrative and the way we see ourselves. The simple answer does not always fit our assumptions about life.  For example, if you have trust issues, your narrative won’t allow you to empower people to help you. Bottom line, the simple answer might not fuel your ego.

 The way to success is to start with ordinary simple actions that are repeated for months, years, or even decades. As you move on, as you move up, and as you achieve more success, the process becomes a little more complex.

 The road to success needs clarity. First, you need a clear vision of success. Second, you need a clear roadmap that you can follow to get there.  Also, success may seem complicated and there are certainly aspects of your life that are, but there are certain areas where it’s simple and there are even more areas where you can simplify and clarify your life.



On the road to amazing success, it’s important to simplify your life and goals as much as possible. A simplified approach to complex problems is, at times, the answer you seek in term of achieving success.




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