The Kiss Principle

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04th Oct, 2021

KISS, is an acronym for ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid.’

It is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960 coined by the late Kelly Johnson, who was the lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works, a place responsible for the S-71 Blackbird spy plane amongst many other notable achievements.

The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, as simplicity guarantees the greatest levels of user acceptance and interaction.

It is important to follow simple rules. Paradoxically, rules give us freedom. Good rules let us focus on what’s important. They reduce stress, guide action, and improve our thinking.

The best rules are deceptively simple. So simple that even a child can understand them. There may be exceptions, but as a rule, we should keep it simple. 

I’ve found that the most successful people have simple rules that they take very, very seriously. Simple maxims, repeatedly performed, make for a successful life. People avoid simplicity.

Smart people love to over-complicate things so they can feel like they’re working hard. And if they fail, at least they can say to themselves: “I tried something tough, and it just didn’t work.”

But the world rewards you for outcomes, not effort. When you insist on working hard, even when it’s not the most effective strategy, you miss obvious solutions that are right in front of your eyes.

Genius rests in simplicity, not complexity.

This works with health too. Instead of thinking about complex diets and workout programs, healthy people have simple rules.

-Break sweat every day.

-Get enough sleep every night.

-Eat food, mostly plants and that also not too much.

Amazon is also driven by simple and memorable rhetoric. Jeff Bezos has compressed his entire philosophy, packed with ideas, into two simple rules:

1) It’s always Day 1

2) Be obsessed with the customer

So, then, why don’t people flock towards simplicity?

Nassim Taleb says that if you hear advice from a grandmother or elders, odds are that it works ninety percent of the time.


Because Grandma has spent her life compressing rules down to their essence. Her rules stand the test of time.

But in general, there’s too much complexity and not enough simplicity

Whenever you’re trying to solve a problem, ask yourself: “What answer am I missing because it seems too stupid?”

I try and follow some simple rules like:

-Be as curious as possible.

-Good things come from compounding.

-Always ask better questions 

-Talk about other people being wrong as little as possible.

Complexity makes us tense and anxious, which hurts performance.

But simple rules allow for relaxed concentration, which improves performance. Simplicity makes us more focused and less stressed.

Keep it simple and stay blessed forever.