Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

People often make fun of my mobile telephone. My Nokia 3120 has been with me for most of a decade. It lasts well over a week on a single charge. It was thrown out of a car window and kept right on truckin’.

But my phone gets a lot of flak because it doesn’t do text messages, or go on the internet, or play Words with Friends. I don’t care about any of those things as long as it does a damn good job of facilitating my 600 minutes of talk time per month.

To steal a phrase from Donald Knuth: [A smartphone] is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to get to the bottom of things. This requires reducing my life to its core priorities.

One good thing I have acquired in my old age is the ability to identify what matters most. At this point in my life, I want to focus on the relationships and interests that are important to me, not explore those that aren’t. I want to be contacted by fewer people, not more. By delaying gratification, I only consume the information that I actually care about. Then I have extra time and attention to divert where they are needed. And that’s priceless.


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