Sometime ago I remember listening to a keynote speaker who opened his presentation using the humble of cup of tea as his metaphor for life. In essence, his metaphor centred around the simplicity of choice, once upon a time – the humble of pot tea was the centre piece cure-all for many of life’s perplexing situations. Furthermore, the only decision we had to make was black or white (with or without milk) and one lump or two. Fast forward to our current times and the humble cup of tea has transformed into a kaleidoscope of options from white (not talking the milked up version) to black to green and then there’s the gardener’s delight from herbs to fruits to infusion…you get the picture – his metaphor represents our masterful qualification in over complication.
This is representative of many areas of our modern life, especially where invention and innovation are concerned, there are times in my day where sending a seemingly simple email is suddenly a complex exercise.
So what does this have to do with ‘Just KISS’?
Well firstly, lets hone in on the word ‘just’…you know it’s a four letter word right? Sure we can reference just as being short for justice and use it in the context of circumstances and outcomes as being fair and just in a legalistic judicial manner, however just is frequently swapped in for a minimalistic perspective… I’m just grabbing a break or I’m just over here or its just your imagination or its just….you fill in the blanks.
Just can be used as an encourager, made famous by Nike – Just Do It – minimising the potential overwhelm, agonising and anxiety associated with a certain something – to simply step up and get on with whatever it is you might be facing.
My favourite line about just comes from the movie Finding Neverland, where Johnny Depp’s character responds to Peter’s “he’s just a dog” comment with “Just a dog? Porthos dreams of being a bear, and you want to shatter those dreams by saying he’s just a dog? What a horrible candle-snuffing word. That’s like saying, he can’t climb that mountain, he’s just a man, or that’s not a diamond, it’s just a rock. Just.”
Relevance: to Just KISS (Keep It Super Simple) denies the possibility of the ultimate realisation of what-it-is that’s in motion.
If you’re in start-up or operating from limited resources, find the value in simplicity, getting back to basics – like the humble cup of tea.
The undoing of many innovative ventures is in the notion of running before they can walk, striving to have all the latest and greatest business tools, investing in resources they don’t yet need.
Make the most of the resources in your hands and KISS…that’s right, drop the just, drop the need to minimise the cut through power of a crisp clear KISS, a good KISS is far from ordinary.
Simplicity in its purest form is powerful. You may be familiar with some of these scenarios:
- Remember Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc and Toy Story? Pixar rewrote box office history with some their movies – most of which were story-boarded over lunch in a café on nothing more than napkins or serviettes as we say in Oz.
- WC Fields wrote a movie plot on the back of shopping receipt and sold it to Universal Studios for $25,000 – which was a big deal in 1940.
- Lionel Ritchie wrote the hit song ‘Lady’ for Kenny Rogers on toilet paper while …well let’s not over complicate the simplicity of the moment.
- Spanx – started with a pair of Sara Blakely’s cut-off stockings. Her tenacity transformed her KISS from $5000 savings into a multi-billion dollar business. Remember when Oprah said she doesn’t wear underwear anymore – she wears Spanx. The rest is history.
The next time you catch yourself talking yourself out of opportunity because of what you perceive you don’t have…take a breath and reconsider what you do have, what are the resources at hand, take another breath and KISS…you may be pleasantly surprised by want comes next.
Each of the above examples could easily fit into the category of ‘they just got lucky’ – well maybe not the Lionel Ritchie example. Truth is all of the above hustled their backsides off to breathe life into their creative genius.
No one just gets lucky. Luck is a myth – there is only ever that moment where opportunity and prior preparation collide. The value of that meeting is determined by your readiness to step up, follow through and make the most of the KISS resources at hand.
This Valentine’s Day – KISS with passion, purpose and conviction…and perhaps a cup of tea.