Less is more
We live in a consumer-based society with infinite possibilities for shopping online and offline, collecting information and gathering Facebook friends. We can get everything and whenever we want it. And we have an almost unlimited access to knowledge. Everything here and now – at any time and any place: this is now widely accepted to be called NOWism. But what’s the point of such a constant overload? Are we even capable of distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant in and amongst this huge array of information?
The so-called “minimalists” deliver an alternative concept; people who have cut out the “too much” from their lives. Such folk are going against the current of consumption and try to live with as little as possible. They are seeking space, seeing things more clearly, and have generally more time and feel more liberated.
However, the problem is not just the “too much”. As long as you know the odds and are clear in what you want, it is not all that bad to have huge ranges of choice. It conveys the impression of freedom of choice. Although if you are dealing with something you are not very familiar with, the subject begins to get a little hazy and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the situation. Let’s take the example of a supermarket: there you often have more than 500 different types of wine to chose from. If you are a genuine wine connoisseur, this is really handy in this situation. If however you weren’t such a pro you probably would have a really hard time picking one out of the abundance of wine types.
A “too much” can also have negative results on the effectiveness of studying. For instance in a lecture about a complex and unfamiliar topic, during which we receive a lot of disarranged information. At that time our brain is clearly overstrained by all this new stimuli. It is impractical to be bombarded with so much information, which can’t be easily processed. The more information, the more trouble we have to perceive and process it. We quickly reach the point when we lose our focus and hit the information overload button. So we switch off and go “offline”.
“Less” is only “more” when content is short, concise and easy to comprehend. This is known as the “Pareto principle” or the “80-20 rule”. “Hara Hachi Bu“ is a Japanese saying that grasps the issue.
It translates to “Eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full” or “belly 80 percent full”, which means that the right amount of everything will lead to a higher quality of life. It recommends you be economical and effective in order to reach your goal.
We’ve got a motto here at simpleshow: “Keep it simple!” Only through this can we actively promote information transfer on a sustained basis. Thus information will remain alive in each one’s mind. Details are often not as relevant as they might first seem. You don’t have to present all aspects of a presentation to deliver the facts.
Since more than 80% of content is often forgotten, it is more practical to provide snippets of information to entice your audience to acquire more information about the given topic at their own accord.
There is a lot we can learn from the Japanese motto or the minimalist lifestyle. In many areas of our lives it would be advisable to avoid the “too much” and follow the “belly 80 percent full” formula of the Japanese.
In what situations have you felt confronted with a potential information overload? Tell us about your experiences. We look forward to your comments, here or on Facebook or Google+.