S:0770 Distinction: Complex vs. Complicated

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


This is a subtle Distinction with potentially big ramifications.

Complex things are simply just that, complex. There may be many moving pieces and they may fit together in many configurations, but you still have a sense that all will work out. Generally, complex things — relationships, events, schedules, and physical stuff — are solvable. For instance, learning to fly an airplane is a complex undertaking, but ultimately do-able.

Complicated may be like complex, but complicated includes an element of “it’s hard.” When involved with a complicated task you may wonder if it’s ever going to come to a satisfactory conclusion. And there comes a point when you begin to doubt if the result will be worth the effort.

Take on complex issues. They can lead to satisfying, enlightening conclusions.

Just notice if things start to feel hard, doubt-filled, and complicated. If so, you might want to step back and notice if there is another way to get the outcome you want.


Coaching Point: Is your life complex….or complicated?


Copyright 2010 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.