“Simplicity is the ultimate Sophistication”
The origin of this beautiful quote has largely been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, though never proven. What it describes is the idea that simple is beautiful, complex is ugly. Evening simplicity is to make a conscious effort to let everything else go in your life and simply be.
Many other great minds have recognized the beauty in this as well. Steve Jobs is known for having used this mantra to define his company’s visual appeal. Most of us who watched Apple’s re-emergence at the hands of Jobs can appreciate the appeal that simplicity has had on our society.
And yet, at the same time, simplicity can often hide complexity. When it’s put to good use, such as in a computer program or a skyscraper, all the brilliance that’s contained in something we take for granted is a small wonder, almost like magic. But when it becomes sloppy or completely wrong, the simplicity turns into the fog of ignorance, obscuring the quality of light for everyone. So while it’s important for us to make time for ourselves, we must also find peace – or the silence and quiet may not be as beautiful as we’d like.
Jobs, for all his genius, was also constantly at odds with nearly everyone around him. His life affected nearly all of the technologies we use on a daily basis and many would argue, at the root of his influence was his insistence on simplicity. His idea of simplicity contained so much complexity, simplicity for him was merely a beautiful allusion. Coincidentally, a metaphor for much of his life. However, he too found the true meaning of simplicity and we all saw a different side of Steve toward the end of his life.
But there’s much we can learn from Steve Jobs, and many others who have found that type of peace for which it’s okay to be simple, let go, and just be. Simplicity in design is an effective marketing tool for certain products; it does tend to speak “sophistication,” but be careful not to associate “sophisticated” with usable or effective. When you remove the uncertainty and scarcity from your life, open your heart and treat others with love and respect I think you’ll find your own definition of sophistication. When you do, enjoy the simplicity of know what matters to you, what doesn’t, and how to be at peace with it all.
In that, is your beauty.