A Guide to Simplifying Your Life
In the age of complexity and information, my new book In Search of Truth, teaches a perspective that simplifies life and minimizes the need for information. In a way, it teaches how to know everything without knowing anything. Imagine the ability to know the best course of action in any scenario, without any training or experience. It teaches a model of learning that requires no brain power.
This is not just a theory or idea that I made up. This model is the foundation for the Best Value Approach, a business model, which is the most licensed technology that has ever come out of Arizona State University. It has been tested for 25 years on 2,000+ global projects valued at $6.6 billion.
I learned how to use the Best Value Approach when I was still in college. Even though I had no job experience, I was managing professionals that had been in the industry for more than 30 years. I helped procure and manage complex services that I barely understood. But that is the beauty of this model, the less you know, the more intelligent and successful you become. You can say I became an expert at knowing nothing!
The next question is, How can you know everything without knowing anything?
The answer is simple, you have to learn to stop taxing your brain and open your eyes. From a young age, we are taught to “think”. Parents, teachers, and most leaders, tell their children, students, and followers, the common phrase, “go think about it”. Society hasn’t realized that “thinking” is the root of all stress. Thinking doesn’t help people learn, it creates more risk. It’s like telling someone to close their eyes when they are playing football. The risk of getting injured increases drastically.
This idea is counter-intuitive. People say “The greatest minds in history know how to think. Thinking is what makes us smart.” In reality, people are only smart when they know how and when to not think.
Let me give you an example, imagine that you’re holding up a water bottle. What will happen when you release it? It will fall. This is what I call simple, or dominant. There’s no need to think about it. The answer is clear for all to see.
When something is simple, there’s less risk.
When something is simple, there’s less stress.
Complexity and confusion are the mother of all stress and risk in life!
Whenever we teach students to think, we are teaching them a model that will bring them more risk and stress into their lives. It is no wonder depression, mental illnesses and suicide rates are at an all-time high. The “thinking” model is what brings it.
Thinking is a form of closing your eyes. When you think, you only use the information in your own head, you shut out any new information from the outside. How will you learn, if you don’t let any new information in? You can’t. That is why thinking brings risk.
The opposite of thinking is observation. The sooner you realize that reality or “truth” is more important than what is in your head, the quicker you will start to open your eyes and pay attention.
I teach people to not think. I tell high school students to stop thinking. I tell them as soon as you have to think, it means you don’t understand. Instead of using the insufficient information in your brain, go find someone who is an expert that already knows. They can make it simple for you, so you can understand without thinking. If you always ask for help from people who know, in essence, you know everything without knowing anything!
I tell my students, there are thousands of people graduating college each year in every field, but how many of those people know how to utilize the expertise of their classmates to do something that adds jobs and value to society? In our day, it is better to know how to utilize expertise than to be the expert. The person who knows how to utilize the expertise of others is the person who knows everything without knowing anything. This is a true leader. All jobs will eventually be automated, but the one that can utilize expertise and observe can never be replaced.
Now, many people ask, if you don’t know anything, then how can you find experts? The only person who can explain things simply, must be an expert! When I was young, I would tell professionals, don’t make me think. Because if I have to think, then I have risk, and if I have risk the answer is always no. You better make this such a good deal, that everyone can see it.
So, what can you do today to simplify your life and stop thinking? There’s not a single life-changing solution, but rather, a handful of critical habits to improve upon every day:
1. When you start to feel confused, it’s a sign that you need to stop, take a break, and reassess. Don’t strain yourself if you have to think to much.
2. Utilize expertise, or try to ask for more help. The people who can help the most are the ones that make things simple. If someone makes you think too much, then find someone else.
3. Return to your routine. Routines reduce the number of mental energy you have to expend on making decisions and planning.
4. Practice doing nothing. Don’t watch TV, don’t read, don’t go for a walk, just do nothing. Meditate, pray, or go sit in nature.
5. When all else fails, go with your gut. If you’ve done your due diligence about coming to a decision, but you still feel confused, just go with your strongest feeling. Don’t worry about fear or consequences. Things will either happen the way you want, or you’ll learn an invaluable lesson that will make future decisions even easier.
These are only a few principles from my new book, In Search of Truth: Five Stress-Free Steps to Discover Who You Are, Where You’re Going, and How to Get There. I wrote this book intending to help people think and learn more efficiently.