Remember back to high school algebra, how we wondered what use the formulas and all that work would be in real life. Those quadratic equations were, in a word, intimidating. We challenged ourselves, maneuvered and manipulated, stewed and considered, reduced and pureed, until finally we could determine “x” or at least leave the equation of unknown variables in its simplest form. Have you used the equations much since then?
Well, the incite, the answer, the solution to all that time and struggle is not found in coefficients or factors. The life lesson of advanced math is in a concept – simplify. Math is a means for reducing complexity, in abstracts as in life. We succeed when we deal with life in manageable chunks and reduce multifaceted circumstances to their easiest form. To succeed – simplify.
Look at what is happening around us: the political turmoil, the financial madness, the burgeoning technology, the quiet and not so quiet pleas of desperation. Life seems to be accelerating, sweeping more and more people into its tumult. The population is growing rapidly. We are polluting the environment at an unprecedented pace. The people controlling the resources are fighting handily to ensure the apple cart is not upset and they seize ever more of the pie. We continue to shuffle the deck chairs as the ship sinks or strum the fiddle as the great city burns. While the financial titans, captains of industry and the pawns they control continue to belch out the smoke and readjust the mirrors the masses are left wondering: Who do we believe? Which way do we go?
The question has been asked, “Where have all the leaders gone?” To secure their fortunes and ensure their legacies, of course. This daunting task is not for “them”. The task before us is ours to address – ours to solve. We are wasting our time, energy, talent, and ultimately our lives, fighting over the spilt milk when we must devote our assets: intellectual, financial and physical; to the substantial challenges that confront us. The issues, on scale, are all complex. Like quadratic equations they appear intimidating. However, we all lose when we allow complexity to overwhelm us. To succeed, we must simplify. And the simple answer, in the final analysis, comes down to relationship.
The biggest challenge of an individual life, reflected in the health of society at large, is to connect with other journeying souls. Unfortunately, for all the technology of modern life, from high definition television, to high tech automobiles and other forms of advanced transportation, to smart phones, and sophisticated computers, we keep making life more complex. Technology is being employed not as a means to a better life, but as a distraction – to entertain and manipulate. Even the young, who seem to be masters of the technology, are voting with their lives. Suicide is on the rise in the developed world. Complexity is quite literally killing us.
We are lost in the complexity of daily living when the task is simple – connect with other human beings. This connection is not a means to an end. The connection is an end in itself. Forget about the medium, forget about the media – simplify life – simplify your life. Connect with another human being – directly – in a place, in a moment. Your life will instantly become more balanced, more full and more fulfilling.
Don’t allow the barrage of consumer messages, the pan handlers of material prosperity, to divert you from your course. You need this, society needs this, the world needs this. Simplify your life – spend quality time connecting with other people. Through your connections, through the bridges you build and the understanding you foster, you will change the world. And all of us, and the world, will be better for it. To succeed – simplify.