I find Dieter Ram’s famous principle: “less but better” extremely powerful. This principle drove his decisions as an industrial designer to craft masterpieces of beauty and usability. They inspired many others, including Apple’s John Ive. It is hard to resist the attraction of essentialism in a world of distractions, fast consumption and superficiality. “Less but better” talks about serenity, thoughtfulness and beauty instead.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said that “perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. How many things can you cut off in your life so what remains can be better? Uff, that is hard! It demands deliberation and determination. Those competences are hard because we’ve mastered other arts instead. We’ve mastered the arts of consumption and reaction. We now consume bits at a higher rate than any other human being has ever done in history, and as a consequence we’ve developed our ability to react to them, building quick opinions about anything, albeit shallow ones.
So we try to compete against others in the game of hitting the balls that someone else throws at as. Few ever wonder whether they should be playing that game in the first place. Hitting balls is easy. Perhaps not easy, but it is intuitive. You can’t help it. The moment you see the ball coming, your whole body is triggered to react. If you happen to be good at hitting balls, someone else will notice, they will applaud, and you will rejoice, and will get trapped in that game forever.
You may be trapped in that game but you may not notice or not care because you can make a very good living out of hitting balls. But if that is your case, I bet you feel there’s something missing. Less but better is an inspiration to create the space you need to tune in the signal and discard the noise. But focusing on less means missing a good number of balls, which means you’ll be taking risks. Finding the courage is difficult because the reward is uncertain. We lack references, role models to follow, which are admittedly hard to find in our world. We are on our own but I believe it’s worth the effort.
Enjoy what will probably be a beautiful Autumn weekend. Cheers.