Simple Advice

Simple Advice for Life: 5 Reasons offering simple wisdom is best

When others ask you a question, do your break out your big words and your wisest guru voice? Or do you use the K.I.S.S. method—you know, keep it simple silly? Providing simple advice for life may not make you feel like a sage on the stage, but it may be more powerful than you know. In this post, we’ll dive into five reasons that offering simple wisdom for life’s complex questions may be the best course of action to take.

When Simple Advice is a Badge of Honor

A few weeks ago, I received some feedback on one of my books. The readers suggested the strategies I offered were far too simple. I always appreciate constructive criticism. Hearing what other people think helps me to grow as a writer.

In this case, the feedback made me smile because I strive to be a writer who offers simple advice. In fact, this note let me know that I’m on the right track. I wholeheartedly believe that the best wisdom is easy to understand, and apply. Keep reading, and I think you’ll understand why!

Five reasons I love simple Wisdom and don’t do complicated.

1. Simple advice is best because many people already know what to do.

There are two Scriptures that speak to this. James 1:22 says, “But be does of the word and not hearers only.” Knowing what I should do is easy, but taking action is usually much more difficult.

Many of us find ourselves in a similar situation as the Apostle Paul, who writes in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.”

I know that I should:

  • Eat healthier,
  • Sleep more,
  • Be patient,
  • Be kind, and
  • Walk with God daily.

These are the good things that I want to do. Then, life happens. I get distracted. I fall back into negative habits and old patterns of thinking. Yes, I know what I want to do. Yet, I don’t know how how to do it.

This is why I’m especially passionate about practical wisdom for taking action! [Tweet “When someone shows us how to put the good that we long to do into action, the advice is pure gold!”]

2. Complex is frustrating.

One of my favorite cartoons shows two people chatting in a coffee shop. One man asks the other, “If we could travel back in time, and bring someone from the 1960’s into the present, what do you think this person would find most amazing?”

The man thinks for a moment, and replies, “They would be shocked that we carry a device in our pockets that contains wisdom and mysteries from all over the world… and that most of us use that device to look at pictures of kittens and baby owls.”

This cartoon makes me laugh every time. It’s so true. Advice from people with IQ’s much higher than mine can be easily looked up on one’s Smartphone. Although complex advice is readily available, it often goes unnoticed. It’s far easier to look at pictures of kittens than to unravel complex verbiage. The bottom line is that most people I know–including myself–appreciate simple advice.

J. Vernon McGee, an incredibly popular Bible teacher would often say that he liked to, “put the cookies on the lower shelf,” so that everyone could enjoy the wisdom of God’s word. The result; people responded in droves! [Tweet “Simple advice doesn’t have to be simplistic, just easy to understand and apply! “]

3. Hurting people need simple.

A crisis is defined as a time in a person’s life when their level of stress exceeds their capacity to cope. The more painful a person’s situation is, the more easily applied wisdom, is needed. I love simple advice because I spend a lot of time with hurting people.

[Tweet “Wounded people need a compassionate person to guide them toward simple steps of healing.”]

4. Simple advice works because change is hard.

Growth is an ongoing journey. It happens one step at a time. Bad habits take time to break. We don’t learn them in a day, and we don’t unlearn them in a day either. If a coach or mentor gives me one piece of advice that I am able to use right now, it’s an enormous help. Philippians 1:6, talks about growth being an ongoing journey that won’t be complete until Christ returns.

When I took karate lessons, years ago, the instructors would say, “Slow to learn, slow to forget.” Too much change too quick is easily undone. [Tweet “Simple advice allows growth to solidify over time. Lasting change happens little by little.”]

5. Simple is fun!

Likely, you’ve heard the acronym K.I.S.S. before. It stands for Keep It Simple Silly. Simple leaves time for laughter and joy. I love advice that allows me to take care of business quickly, and then enjoy the lighter side of life. There is a time to dive into the deep, intellectual side of things. However, I prefer to live in life’s laughter.

[Tweet “Simple advice allows others to quickly take care of business, and then move on.”]

If you’re a parent, coach, pastor, teacher, or mentor, I would encourage you to join with me in harnessing the power of simple. As you probably know by now, there is more than one reason I named this site, Coffee Shop Conversations. While it’s true that I love coffee, I’m incredibly passionate about casual conversation.

I love the Scripture Isaiah 1:18. It states, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD.” The picture of God, asking to reason together with mankind, is awesome! It is as if God is inviting you and I into a relationship… or into a coffee shop conversation, with Him.

As you can see, simple advice and casual conversations are powerful. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Has anyone ever given you simple feedback that made an enormous difference in your life? If so, please feel free to share the advice in the comments below. Finally, what simple words of wisdom are you passing on to others?

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

5 thoughts on “Simple Advice for Life: 5 Reasons offering simple wisdom is best”

  1. All good thoughts here, Jed. Yes, people in crisis (who hence may be needing the advice) don’t need complicated solutions. Simple advice is not the same thing as a “quick fix.” The latter refers to the idea that the work one must do following the advice is simple, not the advice itself.

    Shunning simple advice, it seems to me, hints at pride. “That advice is for simple people, commoners, run-of-the-mill types who need things broken down for them. I’m much more evolved and intelligent than that.”

    I have found that the people who complain loudest about not liking advice that is “too simple” (e.g., those who quit discussion groups that aren’t “deep enough,” etc.) are also people who are often avoiding the hard work of actually applying such simple advice. When I hear simple advice, I have no excuse for not following it. I can’t claim I didn’t understand it. There’s not room to stall in debating the possible alternate meanings or connotations. We just have to do it. So it’s easier to criticize simple advice than to make the choice to change.

    1. Thanks Erik,

      That is so true. Just because advice is simple to understand, doesn’t mean it’s easy to follow. I attended a seminar a few years ago with a friend who assumed I liked really deep speakers–which is actually kind of funny considering my usual attire is jeans and flip-flops. After a session where a speaker used a lot of big words, my friend stated something to the effect of, “Jed, you must be loving this. This guy is really deep.” I remember telling my friend that I thought the speaker was OK, but overdoing things. We then proceeded to rephrase his speech into much shorter and simpler sentences.

      In the end, we both agreed that the session consisted of practical advice, packaged in a very complex manner. It was probably an appropriate presentation for his audience, who primarily consisted of college graduates. And your so right about pride coming into play. This speaker may have been playing into the pride of his audience a little bit too.

      Of course, this is a good caution for me as well. It’s all too easy to drop big words and fancy sounding theories when I want to impress someone. Yet, people have to hear and understand what I say in order to truly have a choice to change. Great input Erik! You certainly got me thinking 🙂

      1. See, that idea that “college graduates” need (or even prefer) complicated delivery over simplicity … I don’t buy it. Bagger or brain surgeon, simplicity helps us know what it is we need to do. So, yes, I think adding complexity only aims at stroking the ego of the speaker or audience, but delays any real action (as you pointed out, in that you had to take the time with your friend to unravel the message in order to apply it).

    1. Hey Jon,

      Thanks for sharing that post. You are so right. We can make chasing after happiness much more complicated than it needs to be. Happiness is often found in simple actions and in choosing to enjoy the everyday joys in life. I love the four happiness strategies you present. They work!

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