We are faced with a world of complexity. We also have a craving for simple and easy. Our brains and our psyches would really prefer to avoid the messy realities of the world and the inherent difficulty of trying to solve persistent and intractable problems. When faced with a complex problem, we will very often substitute a much simpler answer and pretend that is true. This is where simple gets very complex indeed.
Proposals are a fundamental part of my professional reality. Having written a few hundred or so over my career, you’d think I’d be fairly good at that. And I am, in my way. I have strategies. I like to think that I give good proposal. But there are aspects of the process that are persistently challenging. The most significant part being figuring out what the client actually requires.
How we deal with complex problems is challenging. Our minds evolved to take shortcuts and make things easy. There is a lot of danger in doing so when we confront truly difficult situations. We need to find simple—but not simplistic—ways of communicating complex and complicated relationships and information.
Words are powerful. They shape how we function, they influence what we think and they change how we perceive the world around us. The astonishing thing is that they have the power to do so without many of us even realizing it.