Published: 21st March 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Why simplicity can prove to be the ultimate sophistication
Pro Tip: Don’t get swayed by people who make simple things complex and confuse you. Choose simple over complex when making decisions because your decisions are then made from understanding
Rinku,’ said Rahul. ‘I didn’t understand what our new lecturer was trying to tell us today. Did you?’
‘Not really,’ said Rinku. ‘But it was fascinatingly complex. Very intelligent. I want to spend more time and understand what he said.’
‘I can’t believe that he spoke so much in two hours and I still didn’t get what he was saying,’ said Rahul. ‘I feel like a fool.’
‘Don’t be harsh on yourself, Rahul,’ said Rakesh. ‘You could be the victim of twaddle tendency (TT) — the tendency to use too many words that convey nothing. In such cases, the speaker or writer uses many words or abstract ideas to hide their lack of clarity or present undeveloped thoughts. Simply put, a lot of gas.’
‘But he’s our lecturer. How can you say that?’ asked Rahul.
‘Twaddle tendency becomes more dangerous when authority figures are involved,’ said Rakesh. ‘Since we take them seriously, we don’t question and assume there’s a deeper meaning. The bottom line is this — if a person cannot convey an idea clearly, be it in ten minutes or an hour, then it’s mostly an acute case of TT.’ ‘But isn’t it possible that they’re highly intelligent?’ asked Rinku. ‘That we don’t understand such complexity?’
‘The clearer we are about our ideas, the simpler is the way we present them,’ said Rakesh. ‘That’s the hallmark of someone who knows what they are talking about. People who say things simply are not simpletons — they’re the intelligent ones. And Rinku, if you think that those who complicate simple things are geniuses, then you could be a victim of the complexity bias.’
‘What’s that?’ asked Rinku.
‘It’s our bias to choose complex over simple,’ said Rakesh. ‘Like we choose products that advertise complex features that mean nothing to us. We assume they’re important because we don’t understand them — when it’s just a lot of gas.’
‘Hmmm,’ said Rinku. ‘Any pointers, bhaiyya, to help us identify TT in the future?’
‘Firstly, that people who know what they’re talking about seek to clarify and help you understand, not confuse you,’ said Rakesh. ‘Secondly, those who are clear, say honestly that they know this and don’t know that, while those who aren’t clear go round in circles, talking endlessly and complicating the issue. Between simple and complex, go for simple.’
‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘And practice it too — if I have nothing to say, I’ll keep quiet.’
Pro Tip: Don’t get swayed by people who make simple things complex and confuse you. Choose simple over complex when making decisions because your decisions are then made from understanding and not from ego.