Today, we’re going to discuss the value of pursuing simplicity in action, virtue, and work.
The Pitfalls of a Complex Life
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz
Does your life feel complex? I believe many people’s lives feel overwhelming because they are pursuing harmful, counterproductive, and abusive objects, people, and ideas. I do not think people’s lives are complicated because they are doing too much. Our lives become busy and exhausting when we give draining, counterproductive elements our time, energy, and attention.
Such pursuits only increase your stresses, undermines your emotional stability, and destroys your opportunities. A few examples:
- An uncommitted romance will only produce doubt and anxiety as you desperately try to figure out what you are to the other person.
- Consuming mass media will undermine your emotional stability as you perceive every person to be an extremist incapable of treating you with basic human decency.
- Wasting your money on knick-knacks drains your funds and keeps you living a stressful paycheck-to-paycheck life.
Why do I over-complicate my life?
But why would you pursue such counterproductive things? Because negative people, ideas, and objects give your life “excitement,” “drama,” or “martyrdom.” Dealing with an inconsistent lover is exciting and ample for gossip. Consuming mass media gives you an emotional high and excitement as you consume troubling story after story. Being broke all the time from poor financial decisions allows you to play the “victim” even when you create your life’s problems.
Your “complex” life is built on pursuing what is terrible for you all for the sake of attention, excitement, and drama. Therefore, if you wish to simplify your life, you need to remove the toxic elements as much as possible. Removing these elements also removes short-term excitements. However, in the long-term, you’ll be able to accomplish what you want and pursue what is meaningful.
What Does A Simple Life Look Like?
A simple life is free of vice and turmoil. The simpler your life is, the less unnecessary stresses plague your day-to-day. For example, if you keep your finances simple and avoid wasting money on knick-knacks, you’ll increase your spending power. Now, money is no longer a source of stress but a tool to invest in yourself and your comfort.
As I stated before, people do not like the simple life because it is discomforting. There is no attention when you live virtuously. For example, there are no Facebook likes or Twitter wars or fast cars and cheap thrills. There is only the silent calm of understanding your purpose, where you wish to go, and having the luxury to pursue what is most important.
Here are a few more benefits to pursuing the simple life:
- Without weak individuals in your life, you don’t have to worry about manipulations, abuse, or toxicity
- By reducing your emotional highs, you can better control your emotions and become the ruler of yourself
- By ignoring the distractions of daily life, you can focus on your happiness and virtue
- Reducing your consumption will decrease your stress and anxiety surrounding money
How To Achieve A Simple Life
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucious
Now, how do you simplify your life? You decrease time around evil, streamline your responses to virtue, and work smarter. By introducing more simplicity into your life, you can make doing what is best for yourself and others a more comfortable, enjoyable experience.
Therefore, you should become more direct and straightforward in your communication, daily actions, and virtues.
Communication: Be Direct As You Can In Your Speech and Actions
The more direct you are in your communication, the better off you’ll be. Why? Because expressing yourself honestly saves time and helps determine who are allies and who are manipulators. Additionally, the better you grow in your communication, the more you learn how to navigate through life’s troubles and understand the people who wish to exploit you.
Therefore, determine who you can and cannot trust, then plan your speech accordingly. Avoid people who throw fogs and try to make everything more complicated than it needs to be. You need to ignore the people who will introduce drama, stress, and anxiety into your life.
With people you can trust, always be direct in your speech. When you are open and forthcoming, you can quickly resolve issues. Drama is created by keeping your grievances to yourself and hoping they will resolve naturally. Such behavior will complicate your life, ruin your relationships, and make your journey harder than it needs to be. Therefore, cut through your emotional immaturity. Be direct.
Lastly, talk less and listen more. The more you listen, the more you can learn. Ask questions, and seek clarification. Never be ashamed to admit or show your ignorance.
Daily Action: Make Your Actions As Productive As You Can
“No days unalert.” – Robert Greene
Your success is built on your daily actions. If your daily activities are stifled by bad habits, troubling thoughts, and persistent shame, you will not accomplish as much as you need to. Therefore, you’ll want to zero-in on increasing your efficiency and improving your daily efforts.
For example, if you create calendar blocks, these blocks can help you remain focused on the task at hand. Or, you can set timers for your to-do tasks. This timing ensures you stay focused on your current task while reducing your urge to linger or wander.
Secondly, work smarter by reducing your emotional energy. The less angry or disappointed you feel towards a belittling coworker or difficult problem, the more power you’ll have towards getting things done. A vital aspect of the simple life is a reduction in emotional highs and lows so that you can avoid drama and instability.
Next, consistently review your actions. The more engaged you are with your present and past actions, the better you can plan for the future. Schedule a few times a day to sit back for three minutes and look over your schedule. What have you completed? What would you like to achieve? How are you doing so far?
Lastly, give yourself a meaningful reward for performing well. If you’re doing your work and achieving your goals, you need to sit back and enjoy your success. Enjoying your success doesn’t make you weak, but incentivizes you to try harder so you may reap greater rewards.
Virtues: Be The Best Version Of Yourself
The simple life is virtuous. It is not noble to be a gossip or a wasteful spender. If you wish to reduce the complexities and troubles in your world, then look towards being more virtuous.
When faced with a decision, ask yourself, “Is this the action or thought my ideal self would have?” Your ideal self would not waste time watching YouTube videos when there is work to complete. Your ideal self would not waste time with an inconsistent lover. Furthermore, your ideal self would not waste money on things that do not promote your long-term happiness.
Additionally, avoid people who insult you, reject virtue, and are hostile towards your self-improvement. I cannot stress enough how much your life will improve when you avoid weak individuals. From the aggressive news media to your “trusted” family, you have to be willing to reduce the time you spend around those who do not want the best for you.
Lastly, decrease your excess wants. Over-consumption will eat away at your time, energy, and money. If you do not waste, you will reduce your wants. Focus on simplifying your life by reducing the media you consume, cutting spending on unnecessary things, and minimizing the emotions you invest in harmful ideas and people.
Live The Simple Life
The simple life is not a reduction in work. The simple life comes from reducing the things you consume while focusing on increasing your virtue. Additionally, the simple life is built on being direct and honest in your communication, as well as any analysis of your behaviors.
Remember, vice will only increase your anxiety, undermine your peace, and strengthen your stress. “Drama” and “entertainment” are not worth losing your peace of mind and emotional stability. Therefore, focus on living virtuously, and you can achieve a simple, more peaceful life.
- What is something you do to make your life more complicated than it needs to be? Is there an addiction you have or a person you associate with?
- What is one way you could simplify your life and improve things for the better?
- Who are the people you can trust and speak plainly to? Do you speak honestly with them?
- What virtue do you struggle to practice? Which virtue do you excel at?
- What distractions could you minimize in your daily activities in order to improve your productivity?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.