More About “Less is More,” More or Less.

January 15, 2012

I like New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s one of the best moments to reflect on where I’m at and where I’m going, and to make a simple effort to direct the course towards a place that I’d like to be in the future.  This year, mine comes from a classic tenet of design I learned in college: less is more.

There’s a lot of “more” around.  I’m at the mercy of it at times (maintaining this blog, my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Viddy while I work on my band stuff and other stuff at the same time).  But there are moments when the “less” really shines.  As I was working on some new music tonight, I was thinking about how few instruments and gadgets I’m really using in the studio, for example.  Sometimes, zeroing in on a few things that you like best can really help define what you’re doing.  It can also give you more time to effective in what you’re doing.  Rather than screwing around with 50 gadgets, you’re going deeper using the 5 that are your favorites.  As Buckminster Fuller might say, “do more with less.”

I like being busy and I’m fine with dabbling in a lot of different creative pursuits.  And I don’t expect for my “less” to be anything like anyone else’s “less”.

But like most of us, the noise out there in the world is deafening, and it pays to shut it off for a minute and focus.

mike

56 Comments

  1. alan80106455006 on March 11, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Hi, Mike! I’m a enthusiast about your excellent blog. I totally agree with your classic tenet of design you learned in college: less is more. Every time we try to polish up one thing with different means at the same time, we probably fail eventually. The more methods we use simultaneously, the more possibility we fail. That’s because we are detracted from too many choices. Furthermore, we can’t focus on a few choices or even just one. Then, it would be lack of more details. Thus, I think that your concept – less is more – is right!

  2. nevergiveupgirl on February 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I am huge fan of linkin park. You and Chester Bennington inspire me to never give up! thanks and great work on the music

  3. thegluelpfan on February 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Well I have to say I’ve always been inspired by how many things you can handle at the same time and still maintain that creative energy…and btw very nicely put words.We do sometimes need to shut off for a while:)

  4. ristinw on January 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    So happy to see your stuff here! :) I really wanna say thank you to you, Mike. You are one of the people who can bring sunshine to me when I forget to smile. :D Thanks (from the deep of my heart)!
    Wish you love and all the best!

  5. highlandpark1999 on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Linkin Park has contributed to the Transformers movie franchise. Will they be part of it again, if they make a Transformers 4 movie? Here is some footage I took in Los Angeles.

  6. Radyo Plexus on January 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Inspiring words..

  7. linkingabo on January 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    MIIIKE! Don’t know if you’re reading it, but you really should check out this video..:::

    (you put the studio version of this song to the LP Radio earlier… thank you for that and all the good music there! ;))

  8. diegodelsonlp on January 22, 2012 at 8:53 am

    With just voices, guitars, bass & drum can be a great song, like this:

    LESS IS MORE!!!! : D

  9. sonokeling2011 on January 20, 2012 at 4:20 am

    “But like most of us, the noise out there in the world is deafening, and it pays to shut it off for a minute and focus.” I am soooooo agree with this n I love this line. As Enigma said “silence must be heard”. Well , I cnt stay too long in silence without hearing ur music tho :D . Btw I agree with ur words n I decided to make the most from the less … Good luck for u n please send my best wishes for Rob , tell him Happy Birthday. Xo

  10. anvanoppens on January 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Guess whose birthday it is…
    Spread #HappyBirthdayRobBourdon all over Twitter today!
    (Sorry for the spam here) Thanks!

  11. ptangela17 on January 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    About New Year´s resolutions: Since I was 13, one of my resolutions has been to see you guys play live in Portugal.
    Unfortunately, that was impossible…until now! Now I can, and you don´t come to play here!
    I had to take this off my chest … keep up the good work!
    Love Y´all!

  12. 26pj on January 19, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Well said.

  13. 1oo71 on January 18, 2012 at 6:19 am

    You know, I think it’s good that we live in such a full world. Rihanna said she wanted to be the “only girl in the world”, but that kind of implies her lover didn’t have a choice. I think a choice is much more meaningful when it is deliberate / when it’s made amongst an ABUNDANCE of options.

  14. mikeecem on January 18, 2012 at 3:57 am

    i wonder how will mike and linkin park use these “less” things in their music. Mike, my man. You know your job. i support you all time. Good luck :)

  15. zahralp on January 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    understood

  16. Nina Nine on January 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Wow! My new year’s resolutions are not so intensed like yours! I’m always say “less is more” because I’m stylist and it’s true. I always think how you do to do everything that you do… but that’s thinks happened when you really love what you do. I wish all the luck at everything you try to do, because LP, really save me from a time I were lost. Sorry my bad english, I’m latin! :/ :D

  17. shinodacakes77 on January 17, 2012 at 8:45 am

    You always make the most sense

  18. Jersha_LP on January 17, 2012 at 5:49 am

    “The noise out there in the world is deafening, and it pays to shut it off for a minute and focus.”
    Very well said Mike, my thoughts exactly :) :)
    So looking forward for the next album :D

  19. jozzie8 on January 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Mike love the way your mind works. Everything you say always seems so logical.

  20. royhahn1 on January 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Nice post Mike. You are right as allways. I am one of your biggest fans.
    Dont hurry up with the next album just to sattisfy us, if you need time, take it.

    And all the others:
    There is a burger contest in Germany. Would be nice, if you take a minute and vote for mine.

    http://www.mcdonalds.de/mein_burger/index.cfm#/galerie/detail/112513

  21. easytuner on January 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Mike, I’d really to say a really big ‘THANK YOU’! These last year was really harsh for me, I was in a bad kharma, and I felt that the world was falling down on me! And then today, like something knocked in my head to show me the way, I just listened to your song “Not Alone”, and it all became clear! My rebirth was here, your music saved my life dude! I have no word as strong as my thought to express my feeling right now, but “Thank You” is a beginning!
    Wish ya the best for this year 2012, Cheers to you and your Linkin Park fella ^^ !

  22. jagta on January 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Mike you’re like a one-man-army. Amen MIke. Amen. ;-)

  23. anvanoppens on January 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Indeed think you’ve got a point. Now you made me (= probably all of us) even more impatient for the new stuff.

    BTW, just because it looks great, I’d love to see the complete version of that awesome painting in the back of that picture, show it please? :)

  24. dcl1982 on January 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Coming from someone who makes more money than I know what to do with, and who is famous, I’m glad you have your head on straight and don’t feel the need to have a bunch of junk/gadgets around the house/studio that will never get used, to make music. Now, go, get out of that studio and go have some fun with friends and family!

  25. vickykun on January 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I know exactly How you feel. Well, not exactly ,but in my own way…
    Well, usually I don´t make new year´s resolutions because I can´t do everything that I promise to myself.

    Less is more… I just can´t stand doing nothing if you know what I mean. Somehow I feel a great warmth in my stomach when i´m doing something that I enjoy. It´s too exciting! *-*
    Sometimes we just have to relax…

    well, that´s all.

    kiss kiss

  26. ves13 on January 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I agree with you, a minute of silence is welcome, it gives you time to think of your priorities. I prefer to be focused on one thing only so I definitely go with less is more. I admire you for being so busy, it probably takes a lot of mind power to be like that. And it takes time; I wonder, do you get any sleep? Still, I guess you’re enjoying all this. Have fun, Vesna

  27. valeria012 on January 16, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Help me give the gift of light to a family in Haiti. Support Power the World and learn more here: http://mfr.golnx.co/Kn

  28. colinreid on January 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Good read. Would like you to post more things like this

  29. adhara9 on January 16, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Mike – fyi the Facebook link you provided in your blog post is wrong (it doesn’t go to your official page).

  30. parry13 on January 16, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I like some much that you use things of the school!! You are really a DOCTOR!!

  31. yomarqueslp on January 16, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Really great post, Mike, thanks for sharing it with us. I agree with your New Year’s resolution and your last sentence is really inspiring to me.
    Plus, the picture is amazing! Can’t wait to listen to the new music.
    Best of luck!

  32. therosko on January 16, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Thank you for the interesting post. I guess it is motivating not only me, but also other people! The point you are making is a really good one, so once again, I might try using it as an example ;) Thanks!
    -Rossi from Bulgaria

  33. itsumademorokku on January 16, 2012 at 3:57 am

    haha kinda sounds like it was too much on tour with those buggy keyboard so you decide to take it easy this year
    can’t wait to listening to what you are up to do ^^

    take care and have a lot of fun ^^

  34. chiragddude on January 16, 2012 at 3:41 am

    Well, I adore the depth in your music Mike. ATS exhibits how multiple layers contribute to the intensity of the music. That distinguishes Linkin Park from anything else out there.

    So, I don’t wanna believe it’s about taking back on the multi-layered music. Is it?

    BTW, it’s been too long since you last did a Q&A here on MikeShinoda.com, so I’d expect that.

  35. emzlp123 on January 16, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I think it will be good for you to take it a little easy and not spread yourself too thin. Less can be more and I don’t doubt that what you’re doing will result in something amazing in the end. I hope you stick to your new years res, Mike.
    Like I said, I can’t wait to hear what LP are coming up with.
    Take care =]

  36. adiek84 on January 16, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Do you want to prepare us for a 5-track Linkin Park album? ;-) When I read your blog post I immediately had to think about one of my favourite artists, Laura Marling. Her music is so minimalistic and really focuses on her vocals and the lyrics. I think she could headline Glastonbury with an acoustic guitar and it would be awesome.
    New Year’s resolutions are a sore spot for me at the moment, cause I finish University in July. I always knew that Historians aren’t really the most needed persons, but I still wanted to study what I love. The consequence is that I’m now facing a period of huge uncertainty. My resolution is probably to not be job- and homeless in 2013.

  37. fellforthehype on January 16, 2012 at 1:20 am

    nice background image.

  38. jpkaukonen on January 16, 2012 at 1:13 am

    <3

  39. mellowdrips on January 16, 2012 at 12:28 am

    yeah less is more Mike

  40. marikobawi on January 16, 2012 at 12:24 am

    For me motto “less is more” or “do more with less” can motivate me to be more creative even in few facilities.
    Thanks for sharing, your blog also inspires me, Mike!

  41. thepixelpod on January 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    i should do the same in my life… -___-

  42. evooba on January 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Wow, that’s a really nice post thanks for sharing your thoughts. “Less is more” is something that we’ve all experienced in different ways in our lives. I’ve came across with it in uni. We had this assignment and I noticed that the best ones were actually the ones with less pages and more facts. Amamzing…it’s simply in our daily routine.

  43. brofro7794 on January 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Love the blog Mike, great use of the words and also inspired me a little :)Great pic as well, can’t wait to hear the new album!

  44. cawproject on January 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    yeah I know what you mean. as I started to work on my very first own stuff I had less equipment, was very creative using it.
    back to the roots. not always the best way, but a good thing to start over.

  45. derekoswald on January 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Hey Mike, what kind of keyboard is the top keyboard? (the one next to the photo frames). It looks awesome!

  46. kathyxx on January 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    awwwwww no hating on Malevich, man. “White Square on White” is the best painting EVER.

    Which I find the comparison odd, because I always likened Hybrid Theory’s style of short songs and power chords to paintings like Malevich and Mondrian. As a compliment, anyway.

  47. cincybmxlpfreak on January 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    I can appreciate that coming from you. I admire your humility. :) I think you take the right approach to New Year’s Resolutions as well…make it vague so that it can impact all parts of your life. My New Year’s Resolution for years was to stop biting my fingernails…so I stopped making resolutions…lol. Not quite the way it’s supposed to work, but I’ve come to accept my nailbiting habit because it’s almost not worth stopping if I’d have to cut them back to play guitar. Lol. Oh well…such is life. :D

  48. cezar_lp on January 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    when I studied architecture, this picture was WTF?? haha. too much minimalist. I love the art of Libeskind or Calatrava (in architecture) really good elaborated like your songs, has the perfect combination of art.

  49. argol8489 on January 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    What was it that made you start thinking this way?
    I think the “less is more” is a good philosophy of life, will be interesting to see the results in your work. Me alegro de que siempre buscas enfoques nuevos.

  50. Whitney on January 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I don’t know how you guys do it. I was glad to hear you’re planning to focus on more music and fewer (exhausting) touring cycles. Be well this year, and thank you for the generosity you’ve always shown us fans!

  51. chirachiras on January 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this.
    The sentence “Sometimes, zeroing in on a few things that you like best can really help define what you’re doing.” really keeps me back on track since I have been thinking about so many things I wanna do as I am getting older but there are just a few things I could get done.
    Sometime one single simple thing can really make a big success and pleasure, enough to fulfill scattering dreams.

    Thanks again & waiting for your new songs!

  52. Alexandra Nofi on January 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I was talking to one of my co-workers about this a few days ago. We are both tired of how Americans like to hoard belongings, talk about themselves and can never take their time with things, everything has to be at the speed of light.

    We did a drawing glass study in my high school art class, and my teacher used that term, “less is more”. It’s amazing how that phrase has a vast definition of so many scenarios and attitudes in our everyday life.

  53. Ally on January 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Interesting gl

  54. purnamalp on January 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Awesome stuff :)

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