The current western world offers many distractions for those looking to divert their attention. There are news, blogs, websites, youtube, social media like Facebook and Twitter. There is a plethora of information that is available with a quick web search.

And yet the quality of decisions that an average person makes remaines largely the same as it was decades ago.

Despite preponderance of information regarding healthy diet the overall health of the US population keeps declining. In some circles it’s popular to regurgitate that people are living longer – so everything is O’kay. But everything isn’t OK. People are living longer, due to better disease-management and more advanced medical devices and techniques – but is the quality of life better? Answer to that question isn’t very clear.

Similar trend is observable in the financial markets – they are more open, more available, retirement funds regularly report how well they’re doing and all publicly traded companies report their financial standing to the SEC; reports available to anyone with an internet connection.

And yet the choices people continue to make defy logic or rational expectations.

Bad investments, diminished financial stability, less erudition, electing the same old-idea politicians in to the office, parroting the party line. Decisions, decisions.

Everyone is trying to decide better, do better, and the outcome remains the same.

Maybe it’s not about more information, knowledge, political clout.

Maybe things aren’t going as well in your specific life as they could precisely because you’re wasting your time making decisions that have absolutely no bearing on your life. And meanwhile the decisions that are critical to your day-to-day functioning are instead turned over to autopilot.

Perhaps tree-hugging hippies, ivory-tower intellectuals and vagabonds were right in that beauty in life is about simplicity. And so they went to remove everything. No possessions, no families, no permanent dwellings.

And what if they were right but fell just short of what actually matters?

Relevance. It only matters if it’s relevant. Decisions only matter if they’re relevant.

I could decide to be the king of France tomorrow, and would rightly be ridiculed or placed in a mentally-ill institution. Why? It’s not relevant to my day-to-day. Irrelevant is when someone decides to watch the news about going-ons somewhere else in the world, somewhere far removed while ignoring a brewing mess in their own investment portfolio that they depend on for retirement.

Irrelevant is when a whole group of people who can’t make a good decision about what to cook for dinner instead decide that some random actress’ pregnancy is relevant, conclude that it’s very important to them personally and proceed to waste precious emotional energy and time obsessing over it and monitoring news feeds. Maybe to that actress and her immediate family and friends it’s relevant. How it could be relevant to people this actress doesn’t even know exist – that I don’t know.

Educators speak in well rehearsed platitudes that knowledge is power, that academics are important, that more facts and information lead to better decisions – better outcomes.

I contend that this correlation only exists when this knowledge and information is relevant. If it’s not then it’s just more noise, more distraction from what really matters, more clutter.

And just maybe the real road to happiness, fulfillment, productivity and success isn’t more decisions.

Maybe we’re already past the peak return on investment when it comes to consuming raw information without an appropriate balast of wisdom. Maybe more doesn’t add that much more at all. To me it seems that more in reality adds less and less every time.

Perhaps the way forward isn’t more. Perhaps the correct way forward is less. Less of everything, and more relevant.

Adding more is just bloat. Time to refine. Refine until only the relevant remains.

When simplicity remains, it’s elegance. When only relevant remains, that’s true pinnacle of beauty. Relevant simplicity is the only thing that leads to “wow!”

Isn’t that the only thing worth pursuing?