“Simple works complex fails” – Timothy Ferriss
I am a big fan of Timothy Ferriss. When I first discovered him I recognised a kindred spirit. And he helped me remember why I got into all this in the first place (but that is the topic for another blog post…).
I remember coming across his first book “The Four Hour Work Week” in Boarders back in 2008, the title intrigued me so I picked up a copy.
Although the idea of having a 4-hour work week didn’t particularly interest me. I do what l love and, as Confucius said “Choose a job you love and you will not have to work again”. But I thought it would help me get more productive and I liked the idea of developing “Muses” (an almost automated business or part of your business that brings in residual income – something I am still working on!).
But what really intrigued me about Timothy was his hobby of collecting skills (something he calls Meta Learning). He has developed a way of deconstructing any skill so you can (he claims) become one of the top 5% in any given field in 6 to 12 months. A bold claim! But, having read what he has written (and so far his model seems woefully incomplete, either he cannot express it well enough yet – which is very common with people who have developed an excellent skillset or ability – or he is holding back a lot of information) I can understand how he thinks you can get there.
I am quite surprised that he has not come across NLP. Although the accelerated learning part of NLP has fallen out of favour recently.
One of the key steps to becoming this good is something Tim has borrowed from medicine; the idea of the Minimum Effective Dose (MED). What is the absolute minimum we need to do to get the results that we want?
It is also something Michael Breen preaches, particularly in his High Performance Coaching model. Michael often says “We are not putting on a performance of Aida (famously the most complex opera with a chorus of 100’s) we are looking for what absolutely has to be there for the change to occur.”
So many times I have seen interventions and strategies and models that are so damn complicated, no wonder they don’t do anything!
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, it was losing money hand over fist and they had dozens of different models and iterations of those models available. It was dizzying and confusing, no wonder no one was buying them! So, he eventually walked up to his white board and drew a cross so he had for quadrants, and he wrote:
That was it, they were going to only produce 4 computers a personal and professional version of a laptop and personal and professional version of a desktop. And that was how Apple was saved.
It is something that informs everything that I do – “what is the minimum that we need? What can we get rid of?”. So often people look at it the wrong way round and ask what MORE do we need? This leads to complication and I am also a great believer in simplicity – it is one of my guiding principles of how I use and teach NLP is to keep it simple (and the philosophy between my NLP Demystified series).
If you are struggling to achieve a skill or outcome. Don’t do more do less, see what you can take away…