Law of Triviality

What is Law of Triviality?

The Law of Triviality is an idea that helps us understand why people often spend a lot of their time talking about small, unimportant things instead of focusing on big, critical issues. Imagine you have a group project, and your team spends most of the meeting deciding what snacks to bring instead of planning the key parts of the project itself. This behavior is what the Law of Triviality is all about.

Put simply, the Law of Triviality is when people give too much attention to easy, simple topics and overlook the complex, serious stuff. It’s like when your teacher asks the class to help improve the school, and everyone talks about what color to paint the lockers instead of how to make classes more interesting. Our brains like to deal with things we can understand quickly, so we end up discussing these rather than the big decisions that might be harder to think about but are much more important.

How Does Law of Triviality Affect Us?

  • Time Management: If we’re not careful, we can waste a lot of time on things that don’t really matter. Like in a meeting, if everyone chats for half an hour about what snacks to bring to the next meeting instead of planning the important tasks.
  • Project Delay: Things that are easy to talk about, like choosing a font for your project report, can distract everyone and slow down the big goals like finishing the research.
  • Resource Allocation: Sometimes, more resources (like money or people’s energy) go into small parts of a project. This happens when those small things are talked about a lot, even if they aren’t the most important parts.
  • Decision Making: Making decisions about little details, like what pictures to put in a presentation, can take up the time and energy that should go towards making important choices, like what the presentation should actually say.

For instance, imagine a school board meeting where everyone spends an hour picking the color for a shed’s roof but only 10 minutes choosing a new math curriculum that would affect students’ learning a lot more. That’s the Law of Triviality in action.

Dealing with Law of Triviality

  • Set Clear Agendas: When planning a meeting, make a list of what to talk about and decide how much time to give to each point, giving the most time to the most important stuff.
  • Focus on Goals: Always remember what you’re trying to achieve. When talking about something, ask yourself if it’s helping you get closer to your main goals.
  • Encourage Perspective: If the conversation starts to drift to small things, ask questions about how these things affect the big picture to change the focus.
  • Assign Priorities: Decide which issues are the most important and tackle them in that order, leaving less essential things for later.
  • Limited Discussion Time: When small topics do come up, make sure you only spend a certain amount of time on them so they don’t take over.

Related Topics with Explanations

  • Parkinson’s Law: This says that a task will take as long as the time you have for it. It’s related to the Law of Triviality because if you give too much time to talk about small things, you’ll end up using all that time without getting to the important tasks.
  • Analysis Paralysis: This is when you think too hard about something and end up not being able to decide at all. It’s connected because sometimes, this happens when people are stuck on the little details instead of the overall situation.
  • Decision Fatigue: After making a lot of decisions, you can get tired, and then you might start avoiding hard choices and make easy, often less important ones instead. It’s similar to how the Law of Triviality makes us focus on the simple stuff.
  • Attentional Bias: This is when what you’re already thinking about affects what you pay attention to. You might ignore the big issues because your mind is caught up in the small ones, just like with the Law of Triviality.

Why is it Important?

Understanding the Law of Triviality is important because it helps us see why we might not be getting things done efficiently. For instance, in school, if everyone keeps talking about what theme the yearbook should have and ignores working on the articles and interviews that need to be finished first, the yearbook team will be behind schedule, and the yearbook might not turn out as good as it could have.

For the average person, recognizing this can help you focus on what really matters in life, like studying for a big test instead of organizing your desk for the tenth time. It helps you not to get lost in the little things and spend your time and energy on actions that will actually make a difference.


In summary, the Law of Triviality shows how we can get caught up in the simple, easy-to-talk-about stuff and lose sight of the big, important tasks. It happens in meetings, school projects, and even in everyday decisions. By understanding how this works and using strategies to keep our focus on the important things, we can work better, make smart choices, and move towards success in what we do. Remembering to set clear goals, organize our priorities, and not get bogged down with trivial details helps us achieve the goals we really care about.