Evernote Essentials author and pro bono Twitter comedian Brett Kelly appeared on Tim Ferriss’s blog the other day. While I’m generally at odds with the motivation behind Tim’s “four-hour workweek” school of thinking[1], I enjoyed seeing my friend Brett get cited as a self-made success story on a big stage.

The upshot of Brett’s path to success:

Simplify things and cash in.

Right on. There is something in that sentence for everyone. I can’t think of any job—from being a writer to a garbage collector—where those words don’t apply.

Winners simplify.

It’s really what Steve Jobs’s “we’re here to put a dent in the universe” quote personally means to me. Our universe will always move toward chaos. However, I believe that we, as thinking, though extremely temporary, beings have the ability to reverse the course of chaos, if only for short periods of time.

To dent the universe is to simplify it. Whether you sell widgets or time, the people that pay you want you to make their life simpler. If you aren’t making someone’s life simpler, you’re probably nowhere near your full market value. And by you, I mean me, too. I’m very imperfect at it.

Bobbing along in the current of entropy will always be the easiest option, but the best things tend to happen when you swim the other way: when you simplify.[2]

  1. Instead of finding creative ways of avoiding work, I think you should find fun things to do for work and then spend a hell of a lot more than four hours a week doing those things.  ↩

  2. (And when you work more than four hours a week.)  ↩