Sometimes I forget to keep things simple. Sometimes I forget to slow down and take it all in. Monday night I consciously made an effort to enjoy the wind in my hair and the evening sunshine on my face, even though I only had 30 minutes to check cows and do my evening chores before leaving for a 4-H meeting.

When I was in 4-H and my first two years of college I was on livestock judging team. Our 4-H coach introduced us to the KISS method—Keep It Simple Stupid. The more I got involved with the team and the more I learned about judging livestock I had to remember this. I had a tendency to second guess myself as the classes in the contest progressed and more than once, I went back on my first placing. I’d later regret my decision.

Inadvertently I've taken simplicity into my professional career. I try not to get too bogged down in the details and write what my readers will understand and enjoy. Same goes for photos. I either go for the wide-open landscapes with a single subject in it or a detailed, close up shot. Otherwise it gets too cluttered, giving the viewer too much to look at.

There are times when I forget this. I get so worried about including everything in the story that it turns into a 6-page book report, instead of an informational piece that only takes a few minutes to read. Who wants that? I sure don't. There's times where I get frustrated trying to capture the most simple scene because I want it to be perfect, that I have to regrettably step away and remember KISS.

I get caught up in deadlines and let some less than stellar thoughts crowd my mind. Sometimes, a simple thank you, and nothing more mends the brain. A simple smile to a stranger or a wave to the neighbor on the road. Appreciation goes a long way in this world where we're constantly bombarded by information and negativity.

I challenge you to find a simple way to influence those around you positively. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the world we live in, but next time I get too stressed or too grumpy, I'm going to remember KISS. Thanks Coach for helping all these years later!

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