Why We Overcomplicate Things – And How To Reduce Complexity

By Rick Houcek

Ever feel like your life, your relationships, or your projects are a mess… too muddy and too complicated?  Well, who doesn’t at times?

In my experience, we complicate things for one main reason:  because we are unwilling to deal with our own insecurities and short-comings.  We then blame some other person or event, not ourselves, and that skews our reality.

Let me give you a few examples.  Here’s one…

A manager who’s insecure about confronting another person about non-performance or bad behavior will eventually abdicate his responsibility to hold his direct reports accountable for their actions or results.  Then when another employee complains, the manager will complicate the whole matter by getting angry at her for calling out a co-worker, instead of dealing with or confronting the real problem – the offending employee.

Or, the manager will defend the offender by saying, “Well, he’s overloaded; he’s going through a rough patch” or, “He’ll snap out of it, give him time.”  You know what, that’s a cover up.  You are riding your own unwillingness to fix yourself.  Fix your unwillingness to confront.

Here’s another example…

A married couple who’s not good at communicating.  Well, they don’t talk about important topics, and then they get mad at each other when things go wrong; when decisions go south – they disagree on parenting, they have no intimacy, and then they blame those things, instead of the real problem, which is their unwillingness to talk about important matters.  You cannot fix any problem if you blame the wrong issue or are unwilling to discuss it.

A third example…

A procrastinator won’t admit or deal with his procrastination.  Instead, she blames “not having enough time”, or “your expectations of me are too high,” as the reason for non-performance or incompletion of tasks.  Any convenient excuse will do. But, if she gets more time, the next go around – she’ll probably still wait until the last minute and run out of time again.

You see, it’s not about lack of time; it’s not about unfairly high expectations; it’s really about dealing with your real problem – procrastination.

What’s the solution?  Well, deal with your own stuff.  Don’t run and hide.  Don’t stick you head in the sand.  Identify your own problems, no matter how painful, and get over it!

You’re not in Junior High anymore – you’re an adult!  Grow a pair!  Fix yourself!  You know, it may even take professional help.  Just do it!  You’ll see the world differently, more clearly, more accurately.  You’ll make smarter decisions, you’ll lead better, and you’ll be respected by your kids, friends, direct reports, peers, and other leaders.


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