SIMPLIFY ME

May 11, 2011

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Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One of the underlying themes or principles of this blog that I think we should incorporate into our lives is simplicity. Not simplicity as in living in poverty or getting rid of everything you own. But taking a minimalist approach to how we live to increase the quality of our lives and the quality of what we have.

In the world today the average person is drowning in “mountains of stuff” that has to be managed. Additionally we are barraged with an endless stream of media and information that dulls the senses. Technology is in my view supposed to simplify our lives, but instead it is often the harbinger of stress and complexity.

Is it any wonder we find it hard to think straight?

Long before I had the idea of this blog, I noticed that I had a predisposition towards simplicity and minimalism. Not perfected by any means, but a yearning towards simplicity with style and function. Below is some of what goes through my mind as I come across things during the day:

  • Why do manufacturers have to plaster electronics with stickers detailing all the features that are already listed on the packaging?
  • Can’t the advertisers give us a break? I really don’t want to be advertised to while standing at a urinal in a public restroom or while I am pumping gas.
  • Why won’t hospitals, clinics, and human resources departments utilize computers to fill in forms without requiring the the person filling in the form to give the same information for the same question on three different forms?
  • Don’t get me started about the government and taxes…
  • Its interesting how people who grew up in poverty end up being successful and amass a “mountain of stuff” that they almost never use.
  • Its amazing how much stuff people bring home and never use-  just because it was free.
  • The average computer case is gaudy and ugly. Apple’s hardware is beautiful.
  • We are surrounded by a sea of cheap, plastic trinkets that are continually marketed to the masses. Consumerism is out of control. But we cannot blame the system or the companies really- we are to blame.
  • Cars and trucks should have clean lines.
  • Why do we insist on holding onto something we haven’t used for the last 5 years?
  • Can we outlaw fine print?
  • Convergence in tech is the way to go… when done right.

Those are some of the thoughts that go through my mind. The more I apply simplicity the more I like it, the less encumbered I feel. Simplicity though is not purely a physical manifestation. It has to start “between the temples”. We have to simplify our thinking. De-clutter our minds and shut out the noise. A cluttered mind will create a cluttered environment…. a cluttered life.

Ever sit down to watch a show only to feel dumber than before you watched it? It’s time to remove the senseless garbage from our lives in whatever form it takes.

By a sudden purge or by gradual steps, for the sake of our sanity and pursuit of a good life we must master simplicity.

Look for the clutter and unnecessary complication in your life:

  • Items you never use, books you don’t read, clothes you wont wear, and the Bowflex in the garage collecting dust.
  • Cheap, broken, or free trinkets.
  • What are you looking at and listening to that clutters your mind?
  • The wrong people will add stress and complication to your life and your mind. Liars, thieves, drama queens, drug addicts, and other characters of poor repute who have no intention of improving themselves or helping you have got to go.
  • Bad food definitely complicates your health and corrupts your ability to have a sharp and peaceful mind.
  • Lousy bosses, long hours, and unappreciative clients all add up to insanity. Especially when that stuff follows you home.
  • Debt… it really needs no elaboration. It sucks up your time, your money, your well-being, and sometimes your dignity.

There are so many areas in our personal lives that we can clean up and apply simplicity. A desire for the finer things in life through a balanced minimalist approach is all you need to get started.

The eventual goal is to minimize our egos.

Article by Chris Harris @ Between the Temples. Image credit: Puuikibeach

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