It is Important to be Light

There are widely understood benefits to being what could be termed light. In the software industry this is typically associated with Agile and loose coupling. Coupling is often thought of in relation to software units and/or external dependencies, but it is equally applicable to processes. You may be coupled to a poor release cycle process, or perhaps the inadaptability of the process (due to bureaucracy) creates the coupling. Either way, we see time and again the benefits of be adaptable, light, of limiting couplings. Who thought they’d need to replace .NET Framework and EF6?

This is a principle I have found generally applicable to life with few, if any, negative side effects. The approach beyond software is to avoid couplings unless necessary.1 This if often first thought of in the material domain, as in minimalism, but it extends far beyond that. Being coupled to paradigms and philosophies (meaning unwilling to change one’s mind) is a sure-fire way to stall development as an adult. It is better for you and the people around you if prejudices can be disposed easily. Temporally too, low coupling is beneficial. Consider the individual with greater freedom over how they spend their time, the opportunities presented to them are opportunities; they can be grasped.2

And so we see that reduced coupling creates greater optionality, with the options presented now filtered through the criterium:

Does this increase my coupling?

which can be rephrased as

Does this decrease my optionality?

Answering yes to either suggests the option should not be taken, at the least because it may preclude future opportunities, but also because the increased coupling will likely have unintended side effects, of the negative sort.

In simpler situations, like a software project, realising this increased optionality is hugely empowering, in life it is enthralling: the world is your oyster.



This philosophy is, obviously, completely unsuitable for human-human relationships. If there is one area where coupling is good, to be encouraged, it is here.


It would only be fair to acknowledge that an individual may be unable to take opportunities because they have already jumped at prior ones. Opportunity cost. However, there is something to be said for never allowing one’s schedule to be full, to have slack in the system, in order to accomodate opportunities yet to manifest.