This morning, I was reflecting more about simplicity. I see my tendency; more dominate in the past, but still present, to offer complex explanations for how the world works. Each time, I follow these complex stories, I find that I feel more confused and less certain. At the same time, I increase my projected confidence. I don’t want others to know of my uncertainty.
This is fairly common. One of my teachers, Will Schutz, spoke of three levels of understanding. The first is simplistic. When I am first introduced to something that really makes sense, I embrace it and want to tell others. This first level of understanding is more of an emotional response than true learning. When someone asks penetrating questions of what I say I’ve learned, I find my ability to speak deeply about what I’ve learned is quickly exhausted.
The second level of learning is complexity. When I become more competent with the area of learning, say medicine, I begin using its specialized language and distinctions. I believe I am using my mastery to converse with my colleagues, and it is not important for me to make what I know understandable to the uninformed. As I mentioned above, my personal reaction to people who push hard to test what I know is to become arrogant, and my integrity slips.
Will said the final level of understanding is simplicity. This occurs when I become an authentic master of the area; so much so, I can speak to anyone in a way that I’m understood. This level of mastery is rare and when you are in the company of it you know.
Being able to write and speak with simplicity is my goal. When I do this, I can see recognition in people’s eyes or in their comments, if I am communicating with them remotely. At this level of simplicity, we have opportunities that don’t exist in the other two levels of learning.
Tomorrow, I will spend time talking about the dramatic impact finding simplicity can be for you personally, and for any organization you are part of.