“Bringing simplicity into our lives requires that we discover the ways in which our consumption either supports or entangles our existence.” ~ Duane Elgin
I think that it is safe to say, that for most people, their consumption of things, entangles rather than supports their quality of life. Think about it – how much of what you have, what you do and even what you think, really and truly enhances your life?
If you look at some of the happiest people in the world you will notice that it is their lifestyle and way of being, not their possessions that brings them joy. Another example – babies: give them a simple cardboard box and they will most likely keep themselves occupied for hours. I’m sure you’ve seen the scenario in which the packaging of the expensive and high tech toy is more interesting that the gadget itself. What is the common thread in both these examples? Presence and engagement in the experience and moment. So consider that what you are most attached to may not actually be serving you and in fact may be keeping you from living a life based on what you most want and in alignment with your core values.
Without a doubt, we know that simplicity fosters freedom, peace, connection and joy. Why? Because when you remove distractions and excess from your life – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – you can focus on what is truly important, meaningful and essential.
Now the obvious place to start is to simplify your life and de-clutter your home and office – get rid of all the excess and non-essential things you possess! And although this is definitely a good place to start, today I want to focus on something different – on simplifying 5 less obvious and non-tangible things in your life…
Are you up for the challenge? Here they are:
1. SIMPLIFY YOUR SCHEDULE
Take a look at how jam-packed your schedule is and all the commitments you have. Then consider how often you under estimate how long activities will take to complete and how often you feel overwhelmed and frazzled. And then assess what is actually filling up your day. Do you really need to be doing all these things, are they serving you and are they in alignment with your values and what is most important to you? If not, cut them out immediately and think about how you’d prefer to spend more of your time. Sure we all have responsibilities and things we have to do but we’re talking about the other stuff – the decisions and commitments that are driven more by our ego than our soul. Start focusing more on what energizes you and puts a bounce in your step and dedicate more time to those things.
2. SIMPLIFY YOUR GOALS
Now I’m all about setting goals but I also know that only having two or three goals or projects that you are intentionally working on at any one time will dramatically improve your focus, commitment and success rate. So identify which goals are most important to you NOW! Get them complete and then start the next ones. This will not only simplify your life, but your schedule as well.
3. SIMPLIFY YOUR WORDS
What? Simplify my words! How is that going to make my life more peaceful and happy you may ask? Well, there are two aspects to keeping your words simple. The first is about keeping your words honest, sincere and clear. Say what you mean and mean what you say. And as my mother always used to say: “if you don’t have anything kind to say, say nothing.” The second aspect is to listen more than you speak – a valuable discipline to master and one which will help you connect better with those around you and also help limit misunderstandings! Now that for sure will simplify your life.
4. SIMPLIFY YOUR THOUGHTS
We literally have thousands of thoughts every single day and for most people, they are generally not empowering, positive or helpful. In addition they are mentally draining ultimately affect your performance, creativity and problem solving abilities. The bottom line – they are of no use. So take responsibility for your mind. Pay attention to your thoughts and when you notice they are not positive or helpful, simply choose to change them. Have a go-to mantra or question you can ask yourself to focus your mind and thoughts in a more positive direction. It could be as simple as saying: “I choose to be positive and happy in this moment”. Bamm! You’ve cut that negative self-talk dead in its tracks and refocused your mind!
5. SIMPLIFY YOUR CONNECTIONS TO THE WORLD
Having meaningful relationships and friendships is not only healthy but also essential to our emotional well-being. However the key here is meaningful – relationships that energize you, support you, lift you up and you leave feeling better and not worse. Evaluate your relationships and simplify your life by distancing yourself from those people that do not bring out the best in you. Again this is about quality not quantity. In fact in this case ‘quantity’ – whether in person or via technology and social media, although may give you a sense of connection and being needed, will ultimately distract you from what is truly important in your life. As you simplify your life and connections you will see how your remaining relationships strengthen and deepen. And also never dismiss the importance of time alone to reflect on where you are at and to recharge so that you remain in alignment and true to who you truly want to be.
What areas of your life need simplifying? Which of the above, if you had to commit to, do you think would serve you the best right now? Keep it simple and pick just one. Start there and then progressively work through the rest of the list!