It seems to be a human trait that when things get difficult, the pressure is on or we want to change our situation we look to addition and complexity. We add a new system, we start a brand new approach or we look to buy our way out of our issues. Unfortunately this often produces the opposite effect, things get harder, pressure increases and our happiness decreases. So we repeat the cycle ad infinitum.
If you study success and look to the people, teams and organisations that cope best in the situations described above then you will see the opposite approach. Where others add and create complexity they look to remove and create simplicity.
The sports teams that perform best under pressure go back to basics. Look at the rugby 6 Nations that is currently taking place. The teams that win the close games handle the pressure better by reducing options. Reduced options makes for simpler decisions. Simpler decisions means less mistakes and in close games less mistakes means a win. Just ask Wales.
When things get difficult or complicated in a work context the successful organisations don't look to add shiny new systems, they reduce, they ask questions to break down the complexity - 'what would this look like if it were easy', 'If we could only do one thing to improve this what would it be', 'what can we do less of'.
If you look to genuinely happy and fulfilled people you will find they approach happiness in the opposite manner to most of us. We generally look to make purchases of objects or experiences to increase our happiness, this can work, albeit briefly, yet we end up on the hedonic treadmill. Our new shiny object quickly loses it's shine and we find our happiness postponed until we make the next purchase. The genuinely happy souls take the opposite approach, they look for the things that make them unhappy and then remove or limit them.
Off the back of these realisations I am now looking to my own life and looking for opportunities to simplify. What can I do less of? What are the sources of unhappiness? How can I eliminate them? When the pressure is on how can I reduce my options to make the right decision?
Ultimately simplification is a skill, I encourage you to look for opportunities to practice it.