Basic Principles

Compiled and/or created by

Tadao Ogura, M.D.


III.  On Attitudes
III-2 K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

Dr. Ogura’s Comment
This Basic Principle has been quoted in AA for al least 50 – 60 years!  Like many other sayings in AA, this one also came out of early AA members often painful experiences.  Most of them must have tried to “figure out” what to do or how to do it in the face of tough situations or under tremendous pressure.  Since they had decided not to  escape into alcohol under pressure, they had to try other ways.  The harder they tried all sorts of tactics, means, maneuvers, and even manipulations, the more miserably they seemed to fail.  Slowly, they learned that they had “no control over  people, places, and things.”

The best way to deal with what appear to be very complicated issues and situations is to “Keep It Simple.” In order to “Keep It Simple,”  they realized that they must stop their heads spinning, too.  The more they tried to understand, figure out, or manipulate, the more confused they became.  Therefore, they quickly learned that they should not think too much.  Not to think made them feel “Stupid.”  Soon, however, they realized that “Keep It Simple” had to be one with being “Stupid.”  

Thus came, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

Actually, I saw too many of my patients who managed to make their lives unnecessarily more difficult and painful by spinning their heads too much.  The reason why they did that was because of their escapism attitude.  By understanding, figuring out or manipulating, they are, consciously or unconsciously, trying to find the easy way out.  As discussed in “Choices in Life” in the Basic Principles, they should have done the opposite.  When they were advised to “Keep It Simple, Stupid” and practice it, their lives have become more “manageable."

There is another dimension in "Keep It Simple, Stupid." For us to "Keep It Simple, Stupid," we must have a deep-seated sense of Faith in the Heavens. When we "keep it simple, stupid," we must give up controlling "People, Places, and Things" and have decided to take whatever the consequence as the ultimate Will of the Heavens. In other words, by practicing "Keep It Simple, Stupid," we are surrendering to "the Will of God, as we undertood Him."


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