Occam Razor: Shave all your problems away!

The simplest solution, often the one with the least assumptions, is usually right. So says Occam’s razor.

Why am I talking theories on a Saturday? Isn’t it time for breakfast?

Hold on for two minutes. You’ll like what I’ve got. This razor will shave off a ton of misery in our daily lives. Interested?

Imagine you are stuck in traffic, running late for a meet. You are anxious. You turn on a spiritual channel on the radio and try positive affirmations. And force yourself to smile – fake it till you make it, right?

Just when you think you are succeeding, the car in the back honks. And honks. The saint on the radio is still talking but is drowned by your inner voice. Can’t he see we are stuck? We are all under pressure to reach quickly; what makes him so unique? These young rich brats (he’s driving a Mercedes) are the cause of all the problems in the world. Their parents are to blame. And so on. We curse the driver, his parents, the state of the world, the traffic, everybody.

The razor gives us an alternative. The simplest explanation is our guy likes honking! Or a slightly more exhaustive assumption – perhaps there’s a toddler with him who’s responsible. Suddenly, our anger disappears – for the act is no longer personal!

This works equally well when a colleague doesn’t return our call or email. The simplest assumption is that she has not got to the email yet, and hence there is no reply.

The razor magically moves us out of the equation, and that is liberating. Unless you want to engage in a spot of self-pity!

Try it; it’s fun and rewarding. Here’s a secret I have learned. The simpler solution is mostly the truth. And even when it’s not, it’s easier on our minds!

As Marcus Aurelius says:
We need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions to eliminate unnecessary actions.


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