The Evolved Way To Survive Is To Simplify Your Focus

Blog #294

We are mid-way through February and I think I have finally thought of a meaningful resolution. (Remembering that Charles Darwin was born in February triggered it.)

Do you remember Darwin’s key insight? Yes, we remember him for his (huge) contributions to evolutionary biology. But what of his key insight that we, the ones still trying to make our mark, should keep in mind?

Here it is: Those who are most adaptable to change will survive.

(Time out. You probably thought his key insight was “survival of the fittest.” Actually, a guy called Herbert Spencer first used that phrase in his 1864 book Principles of Biology after having read a book called On the Origin of Species by, you guessed it, Charles Darwin. So, I stand by “adaptable to change” as Darwin’s key insight.)

Many people, believers and non-believers in Darwin’s theories, assume that evolution (adapting) leads to greater complexity. Well, guess what? Some experts argue a creature can adapt by becoming simpler, not more complex.

“Adaptable to change” could thus mean cutting back, not adding on. Or, if you still prefer it, “survival of the fittest” could mean “survival of the simplest.”

The debate is ongoing, but I won’t wait to see who wins, complexity or simplicity. A simplified me living a simplified life-style seems simply appealing right now.

Come to think of it, so does the idea of simplified organizations with simplified processes delivering simplified products and services. Once upon a time, before business evolution was a thing, we called it strategic focus.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.