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The Assumption Of Difficulty: How Gall’s Law Reinforces The Importance Of Simplicity In Our Pursuits

Mitchell Wilson


Mitchell Wilson


Feb 8, 2023

The Assumption Of Difficulty: How Gall’s Law Reinforces The Importance Of Simplicity In Our Pursuits

I'm obsessed with finding frameworks for self-discovery.

Gall's law is one of those that just clicked for me, although without realizing it, I had a tendency to disobey it unknowingly.

Gall's law states that:

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”

A common example is the jet.

You can't just go from no airplanes or human flight to jets. No.

You have to start with biplanes and all the other inventions leading up to the jet.

Even life itself started with a single-cell organism and evolved from there.

There's a simple-to-complex gradient across nature, it's embedded in everything.

And once we start recognizing it, we can start acting on it to our own benefit.

Things Complexify Naturally 🔀

It used to be called 'getting your shit together', now they call it work-life balance.

Both point to the idea that things tend to get out of wack.

Let something evolve long enough in the world and it'll gradually grow more complex.

Like a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering as it goes.

Rarely will we just stumble upon a smooth, stable life flow without immense intention involved to simplify.

Beliefs Are Built Step By Step 🧱

The beliefs we hold near & dear haven't come to us in one fell swoop. They weren't delivered or discovered in the same moment.

Epiphanies contribute to their makeup, but time is required too.

They accrued, grew, and melded as we've went through our life experiences.

They came from walking the path.

So when we feel as though we don't have the proper beliefs in place for what life is throwing at us, we may initially think we won't be able to figure it out, to see it through, to expand ourselves into the unknown and stake a new claim.

Bit by bit, however, our understanding develops.

Stagnating in the face of the unknown is a disservice and compounds its power if we aren't willing to lean into it and give it a run for its money.

The Mask Of Scary Problems 👺

The overwhelm we experience with a problem is due to its sheer size, complexity, and consequence.

Gall's law is a tool mind that reduces the magnitude down to a more digestible size.

It encourages us to look for a solution so simple it works, THEN enhance from there.

Whereas our default may be more bells & whistles based.

An insight-fruiting question I learned from Tim Ferriss:

"What would this look like if it were easy?"

It breaks beliefs. It tears down so many assumptions of difficulty.

Don't make things harder than they already are.

Instead, simplify your approach so much so that you become unstuck.

Build top-tier mental wealth

Let's keep your soul off airplane mode.

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