Eureka moments are incredible. That moment when you discover (or at worst learn) some incredible thing that will fundamentally change the way you work or think. They’re amazing moments. We all strive for that moment of enlightenment where we make a leap forward, our Elon Musk moment, where we revolutionize an industry or a concept by flexing our mental muscles.
But don’t hold your breath. Those moments are NOT common moments. Not only are they not common for you or me (no offense) but I have a feeling that they’re not even that common for the game-changers, the people who’ve revolutionized the world in which we live. But that’s ok. Because here’s the secret.
They don’t need to be.
You see, most things don’t require some sort of Bill Gates level sleuthing. Most problems that we encounter in our day to day lives can be solved using two things that are oft overlooked; simplicity and common sense.
We have a tendency to go full Benedict Cumberbatch when we encounter a problem. We all want to be the great detective Sherlock Holmes. We all want to be Tony Stark, inventing world-altering technology that no one has ever been able to comprehend using our big, beautiful brains. But the thing is that not only are most of us NOT Tony Stark, but most of us are not dealing with “Tony Stark with shrapnel in his heart” type problems.
Most of us are trying to figure out our itinerary or a faster way to fill out a spreadsheet. The point is that not only are most of us not geniuses, we’re also not required to be so even if we are outstanding individuals in our given fields. Let me give you an example.
I became friends with this incredible guy that we’ll call…Steve. Steve was a digital animator and possibly one of the most interesting people that I’ve ever known. At one point, I was interested in learning a little bit more about animation and so I reached out to Steve to see if he might have some advice. Not only did he agree to give some advice but he sort of invented an impromptu animation course for me to get me going.
Now along with being wildly funny and interesting and pleasant, Steve is also a highly regarded professional in the field of animation. He works on huge Hollywood blockbusters and has done work on some of the most CGI driven films of the last decades, films that blew everyone away as special effects masterpieces. Steve is a digital hairdresser.
Steve’s job is to make sure that when someone falls out of a window, their hair falls the right way. His job is to make sure that when someone flies through the air, their hair flips in just the right way.
I don’t say these things because I believe that Steve is not doing important work or that he’s not successful. Steve is great at what he does and what he does requires simple solutions. He doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. He doesn’t have to change the way the world works or thinks. He has to make sure that movies look realistic, even when they’re fantastical in nature. It’s a challenging job but when it comes down to it, Steve’s job is to find the simplest, most effective way to do his job.
Like most people, Steve’s job is to do his job better and more efficiently over time and that’s usually achieved using simple solutions.
Imagine the last time you were talking to someone about a series of complicated plans. Let’s say you were trying to arrange a bunch of drives for people to get to a cabin for a weekend. There is ALMOST ALWAYS that moment when someone says, “wait…we’re making this way too complicated…why don’t we just.”
Our lives can be summed up in the phrase, “why don’t we just.”
Why don’t we just.
The next time you’re thinking, “there has to be a better way to do this,” you’re probably right. But instead of trying to figure out some super interesting solution that no one has ever thought of, Google it. Type in “how can I…” in the search bar. Chances are that on that first page, the simplest most effective answer will be RIGHT there.
And if it’s not, that’s ok. Just work towards solutions that are as bare-bones as possible. The simplest way of doing something is often, if not usually, the best way to do something.
Why don’t we just.