Keep it Stupidly Simple

productivity Aug 05, 2023
Keep it Stupidly Simple

For whatever reason, modern people tend to overcomplicate the process of working toward their goals. There seems to be this mindset that achieving your goals is supposed to be really hard and possibly impossible. The reason why it may seem impossible to achieve your goals is exactly because of overcomplication. Always remember to keep it stupidly simple when in pursuit of your goals.

Achieving a goal isn't something that is supposed to be impossible. It also shouldn't be something that is extremely climactic.

Achieving a goal is just that: achieving a goal. Yet we overcomplicate this process as a means of possible social recognition or because we feel it should be a big challenge.

Don't fall into this trap of grandeur: it won't help you achieve your goals, or if it does it won't last. Here are three tips to help you keep it stupidly simple.

1. Merely a Setback

I'm sure by now you know about the whole new year's resolution trend, where people say they'll do something, do it for a few weeks, then pick it up again next year. The reason why most people fail to stay on board with this is because the step they're taking is way too big. When you take big steps, failure also becomes big and that's scary. 

Too many people make their strides way too big in trying to progress toward their goals. This is the ultimate form of self-sabotage.

Taking those big steps will scare your brain. Now that you've taken this big step, you need to keep taking bigger steps, or at least more big steps to make it work.

Unless you don't have any better choice, this process of taking big steps too early will cause you to falter and fail. Even when you've made progress, it's still beneficial to keep your steps smaller.

When taking steps toward achieving your goals, make them small enough. Small enough that failures are merely small setbacks, but big enough that you are making good chunks of progress.

If that's too hard for you to quantify, then following the mindset of making success stupidly simple and nothing else will also work. Once you're confident in your abilities, then you can start pushing yourself more.

Your goal in this regard is to ensure you build a strong foundation for the skills you'll need to achieve your goal. Once you've set that foundation, then you can start turning up the heat.

2. Your highest level of preparation

How many times have you done something even though you were terrified? Chances are you more or less ignored your fear and kept going, and eventually that fear just went away. Also, it's very likely that experience went way better than you thought it would. This is the power of putting one foot in front of the other, so to speak.

More often than not, we blow things way out of proportion in our heads. We think things will be way worse than they actually turn out to be.

This is especially true for things we have little to no experience with. Since we have no prior experience to fall back on, our mind fills the blanks with thoughts that will keep us and our egos intact.

However, this is no excuse to shy away from those challenges. In fact, that fear can be a beneficial thing once you've faced it head-on.

That fear you feel when doing something new is your mind's way of telling you that you're venturing into the unknown. As far as our mind is concerned, the unknown is scary and potentially life-threatening.

Since there are no more saber tooth tigers waiting around the corner, though, there's no more logic to this instinct. It merely gets in the way.

So the workaround to it is to make the potential consequences of failing so small that you only fall back to your foundation instead of to rock bottom.

For example, instead of starting to develop conversation skills by approaching groups of strangers and starting conversations, you would start with people where failure is already minimized such as family or cashiers.

By practicing in this way, you prepare a strong foundation for yourself and the skills you are building. 

Just remember, when the pressure is on you will always fall back to your highest level of preparation. If that preparation is the foundation you've built over all the time you've been practicing, you will have little to no problems.

3. Always go forward and never back

It's not too uncommon that you'll see people stressing over missing something they had to do. Ironically, this process of stressing over your "wrongdoings" only makes the whole ordeal worse. There's no point in stressing over what's done. It is in the past, and it's time for you to keep moving. 

Think back to the last time you witnessed somebody, whether it's yourself or somebody else, catastrophize over something that is in the past.

Now remember how helpful it was for them. Chances are it wasn't helpful at all, and only served to deepen their rut for the rest of the week.

There is only one reason to ever go back, and that's if something you did in the past is now preventing you from moving forward. However, this is a rare occurrence.

More often than not, you won't need to go back. In fact, a lot of problems you can keep going forward by just going around.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to get hung up on something that happened yesterday, or a few years ago. This causes your energy to get trapped in the past, preventing it from being used in the present.

To ensure that you never get hung up on the past, you need two things:

First, remember to forgive yourself. There's nothing wrong with you missing your Wednesday workout this week if it's only one time.

When you have a schedule set, missing one session won't make or break your progress. Understand that it can actually be beneficial in that it can help your mind recharge.

Being hard on yourself for your shortcomings is the worst thing you can do when trying to reach your goals.

Second, you need to commit to bettering yourself. It's one thing to not get hung up on the past, it's another if you don't get hung up and do nothing to improve yourself.

To really move past your past mistakes, you need to ensure that you are actively becoming a person who doesn't make those mistakes. This means you will need to push your boundaries, but not all the time.

By ensuring that you don't get hung up on the past, you are guaranteeing that you can grow in the present and blossom in the future. This is the best thing you can do for yourself.

The journey of a thousand steps

It all begins when you take that first step. Until you do, nothing will happen. You won't get closer, but you won't get farther. You'll stagnate, which is arguably worse than getting closer or further.

By committing to growth in a simple, sustainable way, you are ensuring that you become who you want to be. It will take time, but it's better that you get there on time instead of falling off your path and taking more time than you actually needed.

- Karl