Simplicity Is Power

“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated.
It is hard to keep things simple.”
~ Richard Branson

Simplicity is power.

Complexity is confusion and chaos.

You could contemplate these two lines for hours, even days, and it would be time well invested.

Masters have the ability to take something often complex and make it simple, easy to access, and easy to apply. To focus their lives upon their One Thing; and this is no small feat by any stretch of the imagination.

We’ve been discussing the characteristics that bring you the greatest opportunity to understand, leverage and actualize your own genius. Most specifically in the last several installments we’ve been exploring the necessity for solitude and minimalism. (reference MGG4)

We live in a society that is addicted to complexity.

Needing more.

Needing to do more.

Needing to have more.

But in a society of doing we forget that mastery comes not from doing, but from being. Big difference.

“To be is to do.”
~ Socrates

Oh yes, there’s plenty to be done. More than plenty. But all that you do or don’t do comes directly from who you are. And you’ll never learn to be more without taking time to step-back from the incessant doing and dive deeply into your own being self. Dive deeply into your own sense of self.

This may seem simple, and it is, for success is pretty simple, it’s just simply not applied.

Studies at Stanford have shown that for mastery and superhuman performance to occur… accurate self-knowledge is absolutely necessary. Please read that again and ponder deeply. Especially the word accurate.

In a world gone mad with fantasy, dreaming, and romanticism, an accurate assessment of one’s true Innate Abilities is the fundamental road to sanity as well as potential mastery.

As we discussed last week, willpower (even in the most willful person we know), is limited. Decision fatigue is a new psychological term that is rampant in our world. (reference MGG6) Therefore, those who are absolute masters know themselves; they know their One Thing; and they focus their energy and attention upon it.

Michael Jordan is arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time; and inarguably the highest paid athlete in the NBA even to this day. Yet, when he decided to play baseball he failed miserably.

He forgot who he was. His self-knowledge was off or aggrandized.

He very quickly returned to his One Thing.

Michelangelo didn’t play sports. Alexandra Nechita doesn’t play jazz. Kobe Bryant isn’t an expert in chess. Stephen Jobs wasn’t a master chef. Danny Way doesn’t build businesses.

Each of these masters knows themselves, their unique genius, and they build their entire lives around the mastery of their specific craft.

Are you thinking?

You must simplify.


Becoming a master is not genetics or special talent as much as it’s knowing who you are; your unique ability; and doing whatever it takes to develop them to a level of mastery.

As we’ve discussed prior, if you have a deep seated need to be social and popular, then unless you’re willing to let that go, you’ll never achieve even a degree of mastery.

Unless social and popular is your mastery.


Because in the words of ultimate human achievement researcher Steven Kotler, (when speaking of those who achieve mastery and shatter all previous standards of what’s possible), “It’s not that they work much more and much harder. They work much, much more and much, much harder!”

There are three things that must be considered foundational to facilitate your “much, much more work.”

  • Your Mind
  • Your Energy
  • Your Time.

Your mind and your energy are the greatest assets you’ve been given by your Creative Source. Invest in them wisely.

Time is your greatest resource. Use it wisely.

“My greatest resource is time; and I never have enough of it.”
~ Kevin O’Leary

I could write an entire series on these three factors alone (and maybe I will some time. But not at this time.) Let me just address each of these things in respect to Mastery, Genius and Greatness.

Learn how to Develop Genius, Mastery, and Contribute Greatness in this article.

Unless and until you’re investing heavily in your greatest asset. Which means:

  • Investing in books, MP3’s, online learning systems and experiences,
  • Live on-the-ground-in-person-face-to-face personal development and advancement events (yes you read that correctly. In fact read it again).

You’ll never touch even a fraction of your potential without getting out from in front of your computer and attending a live immersion event.

It’s a fact.

I have several online courses and resources (reference mastery products). They’re high quality and full of content and integration exercises. They’re a great start. But at best they’re a distant second to a personal live event experience covering the same material.

Not a very popular concept for many in today’s “online-click a mouse-environment” I know, but true nonetheless.

If you want to double your income, double your results,
and double your feeling of aliveness and fulfillment…
You must triple your investment in your own development, advancement and growth.

I call this my “One by Ten Formula.” Every single dollar and every single hour you invest in your own development, advancement and growth will conservatively return to you ten times over.

You see, in the words of Jobs, “Success is hard;” and if you don’t have a firm foundation upon which to build, you won’t put in the hours; you won’t weather the storms; you won’t do the work and have the perseverance necessary to develop mastery.

It takes a lot.

Count the cost before you begin the journey.

Most don’t.

And you better love what you’re doing or you’ll quit. Most do.

If you’re going to commit to mastery and greatness then you must make some fundamental commitments first:

  • Invest three times as much time and money in your own development, advancement and growth as you wish to see in your results.

Studies of the wealthiest people in the world prove conclusively that they’re committed to lifelong learning. They read daily, they attend personal development events on a regular basis. They listen to audio books and lessons in the car.

If you choose to be in the top 3% then you must do the things, and value the things, that the 97% don’t. I can instantly tell what you value by looking at your checkbook, your credit card statement, and your calendar. Where you invest your time and your money tells all. Think about it.

“The number one investment that anyone can make is in their own education.”
~ Warren Buffett

  • Find your Innate Ability and Unique Genius.

This is not a romanticized Innate Ability! In other words, something you think you want to do because it looks exciting or sexy on someone else. No. Remember Stanford studies show that accurate self-knowledge is key to ultimate human performance. Accurate self-knowledge brings accurate skill and ability assessment.

Jordan was the king of basketball and still is. He was marginal at best at baseball. He took some hard lessons, hard knocks and a lot of humbling before he returned to where Universal Intelligence had placed him to shine. Are you following?

Romanticism is rampant. While it’s possible that we’ll find the Pegasus and Unicorn one day… it’s not too probable. Are you listening?

Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Find out what you’re good at. Your unique genius. I can help with this and I’ll always shoot your straight. Your life and your results will transform.

I have a very comprehensive package entitled, Living a Meaningful Life as well as my latest e-book Life Unleashed, to help you do just that. Start there. You’ll be grateful that you did.

Furthermore, I have a brand new LIVE event coming to Phoenix, AZ on October 3, 2015.

Life Unleashed LIVE! is entirely centered on clarifying your Innate Ability, your Unique Genius, and bringing your Greatness to the World. Stay tuned. You have plenty of time to plan.

Ask yourself: What’s my One Thing that I can master my industry doing?

Being good at many things negates the ability to be great at One Thing.

  • Align your specific goals with your specific skillset.

This point is vitally important and cannot be overemphasized.

In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ground breaking research and documentation of the now heavily pursued “Flow State,” he found that two of the characteristics that facilitate this profound state are:

  • Clear goals; and
  • Goals that are congruent with, and aligned appropriately, with one’s particular skillset.

Game changer alert! Man, that’s important. Read the two points above again. Seems like an echo of the Stanford studies on accurate self-knowledge. Are you following?

Romanticism never produced a Mozart. Never has. Never will. Innate Abilities coupled with long persistent work (as well as other things we’re discussing in this series), brought Mozart’s genius to the world.

  • Habituate all high value activities.

Avoid decision fatigue which is rampant. Save your willpower for the high leveraged life and business decisions which must be made to drive and determine your destiny. We’ve explored this in great detail. (reference MGG6)

  • Focus. Focus. Focus. Learn to say no to social engagements. If you’re committed to mastery this is a must! And it’s a fundamental factor of minimalism.

People often ask me, “What do I say without hurting someone’s feelings?” My favorite is, “Thanks so much for thinking of me and I already have plans.” Simple. Straightforward. True. Each of my days is planned nearly to the tee.

If you can’t do this, that’s okay. Just be honest with yourself. You must fall more in love with your mastery than with your social activity—more in love with it than with anything for that matter. For such is the price of greatness and there’s no value in lying to yourself.

  • Say no to 4 hours of TV per day (the American average). Know your value and hourly worth and remember that time is your greatest resource. Use it wisely.

“The problem is that we all think we have time.”
~ The Buddha

Of course there’s more. There’s always more. But these six things are a good start. We still have a lot of ground to cover and let me just say… if you’ve decided to commit to mastery then you must be putting these lessons into immediate action.

In fact, let me add one more:

  • Never leave the site of a new learning, insight or a self-commitment without taking some type of action within 24 hours or less.

Get busy.

Education without execution is a waste of space.
Execution without education is a waste of time.

And the journey continues…

Stay Awake, Love Life, Be Epic!

james arthur ray



Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!

3 Responses

  1. Well it sounds strange but we do need to re-learn to make things simple. The education system has been making things sound complex and we have learnt one way or the other to do things this way.

    Thanks James for this lesson. Lots to ponder this week!

    There is nothing more exciting than invest our time in our self-enhancement.

  2. The bane of happiness and a ‘successful’ experience is the tendency to take on more, to add to your daily tasks and to believe you have found a perfect path. More is not better. Locating the source of anger, frustration and despair, not the excuse, not the explanation, not even the cause like an expectation or belief, but following 'it' to source requires prior preparation and tenacity . Swimming against the current of frustration and upset, without surrendering and ignoring the minds taunts of madness you will eliminate all unnecessary baggage.

    I was 15 when I read the collected works of St. Augustine for the first time. I was shocked when I read.

    There is no possible source of evil except good. – Saint Augustine

    Keeping 'it' simply simple in a world that taunts and resists your commitments moment to moment is a position on the court. From in the stands, where in the blink of an eye you may reside as well, there is no struggle, only editorials. Seeing the present from the future, by even a few seconds is astonishing while trusting your internal compass, heart/gut combo to present the path moment-by-moment, means for me operating in the present for the moment. One is being either ‘all in’ meditating or all 'out here', in the world. The mind rebels and is addicted to the noise of TV, radio, music, mind numbing nonsense conversations and some days I fail attempting to shut it off at all. The failure is purely an in the stands admonition.

    Who am I? I am not a mind, thoughts, or body. Is what is left the 'soul'? 'You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.' was never uttered or written by C. S. Lewis and may not be valid either. I answered 'who am I?' numerous times in my life and from the early 80's for twenty years spent time in an immersion event at least quarterly and a number of times, once or twice a month for a year or more. The power and exhilaration experienced 'being' in a room with 100, 200 and especially 2000+ openly committed is beyond words. A ‘mastermind’ does not always appear but immersion events are a way to skip across the pond by choice. The last ten years I have participated in random events, sometimes with nothing at stake but to relish in the experience. The buzz is profound and always lasts for days and at times for a month or more when what I had at stake was big enough.

    Do what you do best and learn to delegate the rest.
    Stay congruent with your ‘self’.
    Align all habits to purpose.
    Align all goals with purpose.
    Carve out time for purposeful action. NO to all that stops, deflects or subtracts from purpose.
    Implement all insights with action or lose them to the drift.

    Thank you James for always assisting in knocking off some barnacles.

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