"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
~Leonardo Di Vinci
Pope Boniface VIII wanted to commission some paintings for St. Peter’s and so he sent a courtier around to find the best painter in Italy. The courtier asked all the artists to give him a sample of their work to send to the Pope. He came to Giotto’s workshop, explained his mission, and asked him for a drawing which would give the Pope some idea of his competence and style. “Sure,” said Giotto; and he laid down a sheet of paper, reached for a brush dipped in red paint, closed his arm to his side to make a sort of compass of it, and in one even sweep scribed a perfect circle. “There you are,” he told the courtier, handing it to him with a smile.
“That’s your drawing?” asked the courtier, who didn’t know whether Giotto was pulling his leg. “Is that all you’re going to send His Holiness?”
“That’s more than enough,” said Giotto. “Send it with your other drawings and see whether it’s understood or not.”
The Pope’s messenger took the drawing and went away trying to hold his temper. Did that little painter think he was a fool?
When he got back to Rome he showed the Pope the painted circle and told him how Giotto had scribed it—freehand, without a compass. The pope and his advisers DID understand the achievement and gave Giotto the commission.
This idea of simplicity is very inspiring to me. It can be expressed in all areas of our lives. As a matter of fact in today's age of overly complicated and drama filled busyness it is easy to get lost in the fray. I suppose it has always been like this.
More times than not the answer lays in the simple, in the space between the object being focused on.
I often say, "Simple, Not Easy." Meaning, like Giotto's painted circle; simple isn't easy. As a matter of fact there is a lot of mastery in making the complicated simple. The opposite holds true for the novice. Many make the simple complicated.
It is easy to complicate our lives with many things and it can be challenging to simplify, but once done the difference is undeniable. It's not easy keeping things simple either, this is more of an art than science.
The art of simplicity can be applied in everything that you do in your life: personal, professional & pass-time.
So why is simple often not easy? Well, many reasons. It took Giotto a lifetime of skill and expertise to paint that perfect simple circle. Simple yes. Easy? No! It was his mastery of the complex that allowed him to achieve the simple.
So here are some things for us to practice:
How can we make our life's simpler?
How can we simplify our relationships?
How can we simplify our careers?
How can we simplify our Finances (which can help to simplify our jobs too!)?
How can we simplify our every interaction?
How can we simplify our diet?
Etc... etc... etc...
Here's a few big ones for us:
How do we simplify our attachments?
How do we simplify our fears, meaning how can we understand their root rather than chasing their manifestations?
When talking about fear I am reminded why many people come to me to train in Krav Maga: They want to train because they don't want to be afraid. They want to be confident. They may not know it, but they want to be better protectors.
Applying this idea of simplicity is one of the things that I love about Krav Maga. Krav is a simple, straight forward, no nonsense approach that was designed to teach people to be more effective protectors in a very short period of time.Unlike many systems of martial arts that can take years or even decades to become proficient in Krav Maga was originally designed to be "taught today and used tonight" by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers, Law Enforcement and the Mossad, Israel's special covert operations and counter terrorism division and now civilians from all across the globe. At its core Krav Maga remains an effective and simple tactical system and I think this is one of the main reasons that it is becoming so popular with people from all walks of life all over the world.
People often ask me complicated questions regarding conflict between people or regarding circumstances. Often these complicated scenarios manifest themselves from our fears to which no answer will quench its thirst. Once one question has been answered there are three more taking its place. This is because in many cases the real question isn't the one being asked. The real question can often lay in those primal fears that we all have. Fear of our own inner demons of feeling protected in some way. It could be physical, emotional, social, financial, etc. It's all interconnected.
Remember the K.I.S.S. method? Keep It Sweet and Simple! That's the name of the game.
So what in YOUR life can you simplify? The process may be simple, however my guess is that if you're anything like me, it will be far from easy to do, but totally worth it! It takes true mastery to make the complex simple.