Who doesn’t love addition? More money, more happiness, more of all the good things in life! All we have to do is say yes, right? And there is so much pleasure in saying yes. But here’s the rub - our love for addition has a hidden toll.
“I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure,” Ive explained. “And in the short term, it’s the path that feels less risky and it’s the path that feels more secure.”
Our overindulgence of addition is like a drug that momentarily anesthetizes us to the feeling of discomfort. As explained by Jony Ive, the chief designer of Apple’s iPhone, the challenge is wrapped up in our feelings around risk and security. It is difficult to actively and continually seek present risk and lack of security for future growth. Because, who doesn’t love wallowing in the success of things that already work, that they are good at and comfortable with?
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was notorious for his willingness to say goodbye to successful products and technologies in the pursuit of even better alternatives. And if success leaves residue, one clear sign is that when we are truly interested in exceptional growth in our lives, like Jobs suggests, we must unavoidably and continually say goodbye to perfectly good things in pursuit of better.
I’m reminded of our grade school education. In reality, we are taught to value subtraction by getting rid of the figurative home button from a young age. The concept is normalized as we switch grade levels, teachers, friends, subjects and even schools. We are taught that while we will miss people and things, the process of growth by subtraction is a good thing. In grade school adding a year in the same grade is NEVER the cool thing to do!