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Won't you find a single world-renowned doctor who achieved success by simply prescribing a couple of aspirin?

James Huang | 2023.06.03

You won't find a single world-renowned doctor who achieved success by simply prescribing a couple of aspirin. I've always been a fan of Warren Buffett's annual shareholder letters, because they contain his own words and are both humorous and wise. In one of his articles, he made the statement above, and recent experiences have made me think about its meaning.

I have two interpretations of this statement. First, sometimes experts tend to make simple things sound complicated just to show off their expertise and impress their clients. Second, on the contrary, in my practical experience, when you simplify concepts or methods, the listener may respond with "What? Is that it?" or "It seems like it's not that easy to achieve." Therefore, simple and effective answers may become the reason why others don't trust you, forcing you to complicate simple things in the end.

It's like skincare products. Most people are unaware that the cost of "packaging" in skincare products is far higher than the cost of the "stuff inside the package". You can spend your money on solid ingredients, but most people prefer to believe in endorsements, packaging, and advertising, resulting in paying a higher price for what should be simple and inexpensive.

Moreover, in business or entrepreneurship proposals, I rarely encounter teams that dare to present with less than 10 pages of slides. Although it may only be a school competition or a training process, everyone is trying to fill in as much content as possible, rarely presenting their ideas very confidently and concisely.

Because we try to guess what the listener wants to know, we tend to fill in what we want to say, what we can say, and what is not important. On the one hand, we want to show that we are very strong, on the other hand, we hope not to let others feel that we have not considered these issues, and on the third hand, we hope to show that we are very attentive and serious. However, real experts can see through it; more than 80% of the content is just fluff, and the useful information is scarce.

We are often taught to "make simple things complicated" in our learning process, such as homework, writing, reports, reading notes, and discussion. You need to be able to expand on one "point" and turn it into a room full of "points". However, when we face complex problems in real life, we often need to "simplify complicated things," organize the information into something others can understand, and then gather resources or seek help.

At this time, your learning experience and expertise are difficult to help, because you cannot figure out what is the focus.

I have hired many employees, and I am most afraid of those who lack responsibility, ambition, and cannot grasp the point. A person who cannot grasp the point means that they would not be able to understand the point when listening to their boss or supervisor, and the communication time and cost increase. A simple matter may require several repetitions to be done properly, and the efficiency is poor.

A true master can explain things to you in the simplest way possible, and if even they cannot explain it clearly, then it means that they are not truly an expert. On the other hand, you should not judge the quality of other people's proposals as good or bad based on whether it is "simple" or "complex," or whether they are careful or not.

Simplicity does not necessarily mean inefficiency, and complexity does not necessarily mean meticulousness. The key is the person. As former CEO of GE, Jack Welch, said: "To make the best company, you need to use the best people. People come first, strategy second. Once you have the right people, the strategy will follow. If you prioritize strategy first, you'll only get a bunch of fancy presentations."

Yes, the key is the right person, the person who can execute, and the person who has the correct judgment, rather than a bunch of fancy charts, tools, or data analysis. Otherwise, even if you get a thick presentation file, it will be meaningless.

Train your vision, broaden your horizons, and you will be able to distinguish who is trustworthy and who you should give up on. Don't trust people who speak in fancy and complex words too much, and don't think that a doctor who only gives you two aspirin is not trying their best to heal you.

Once you have the right person, things will work out. The key is not giving you a couple of aspirin, or a more complex prescription, but the doctor who gives you the right prescription.

Don't be deceived by external packaging. After all, the original form of many things is not complicated and is often our own confusion.

Won't you find a single world-renowned doctor who achieved success by simply prescribing a couple of aspirin?
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