The Art of Living Simply

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There used to be a time when I would rush around, continually trying to keep up with my day. I was always so busy and preoccupied that I didn’t have time to stop and notice everything around me.

I’m sure we have all felt this way at one point or another. But how often do you find yourself living this way? It’s like you are so busy with life that you have no time to live! How ironic right? But the truth is that many people are stuck on autopilot, speeding around everywhere at 100mph trying to keep up with… what exactly? Themselves? Society?

It is time to slow down and live life to truly live, not just survive and get through it. (see: Stop Living A Mediocre Life!) Time is valuable and we don’t get it back. If you think that you don’t have time to slow down, then you are the one who needs it the most.

Today I would like to show you some ways to cut out what you don’t want, and truly be able to live life. Enjoy!

It is not what we add, but what we subtract, that simplifies our life.  

People are always falling into this trap, where they want to simplify their lives and be happier, so they add more to their already overflowing agenda. Soon enough they are right back to where they started, thinking that whatever they added didn’t work, so they scrap it and add some other method instead. The problem here is not the method they are using (whether they are trying to meditate every day, or write every morning, or eat healthier, etc.) The issue is that they did not subtract. You can’t pour water into a glass forever. At some point it will overflow. Same goes for your life. You can’t keep adding new things forever or you will become too overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out, and nothing will work. The key is elimination. If you want more time in life, do less. Cut out anything that you don’t need to do. Study your daily schedule and find where you can eliminate time that is typically wasted and pointless tasks. You must subtract out the old bad habits and time-wasters before you can add more of what you want into your life.

What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? 

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, was created by Joseph M. Juran. He named this principle after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who published his first paper “Cours d’économie politique” in 1896. In this paper he explained that about 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He also recorded that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. Why is this principle important to living simply? In a book by Richard Koch called, The 80/20 Principle, he explains, “The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually leads to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards.” By remembering this principle, you can understand that 80% of your outcomes comes from 20% of your inputs. Knowing this helps you leverage your time and money to truly live the way that you want to; to live your dream life. If you can understand and apply this principle, then you can live life productively and seek maximum satisfaction by only focusing on what is truly important to you. 

So by asking yourself what 20% of sources are causing 80% of your problems and unhappiness, you are able to begin putting the 80/20 Principle into practice! Once you identify what these issues are, you just have to figure out how to eliminate them from your life. If you can’t completely eliminate them, then at least you can greatly reduce them so that you can spend your time and energy on better things.

What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

Once you have figured out the main issues that you need to eliminate, you can now go on to look at what you can keep and increase in your life! You have subtracted out what you don’t want, and now you have room to add in what you do want. 🙂

You can also ask yourself some other questions based on the 80/20 Principle, such as:

Who are the 20% of people who contribute to 80% of your enjoyment and help you grow?

Who are the 20% of people who cause 80% of your anger and second guessing?

There are so many questions you can ask yourself based on this principle, so don’t limit yourself to just these above. Come up with some of your own if you want! If you have a good one, you can always put it in the comments below so that others can think about it too.

Keep an Open Mind

People with an open mind experience much more in life simply because they are open to it. Keeping an open mind is being slow to judge. It means trying new things, and letting go of old negative energy and grudges. When you keep your mind open, your world opens up too. You find that there are more possibilities for you than you thought and that your life is not just set in stone. It is open to whatever you are. Keeping an open mind opens up new opportunities, adventures, and experiences. It also rids you of a lot of unnecessary negativity that comes with a closed mind. Closed minds are stubborn and complicated. When you start living with an open mind, everything is so much more simple, clear, and fun. You can learn a lot by simply experiencing everything without judging so much.

Listen to Your Inner Self

For me personally, I put a lot of emphasis on this because it is so true. Every time I have tried to ignore what my inner self was telling me, I became miserable. Some people call this inner self God, or the Universe, or your gut feeling, etc. It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you understand what I am talking about. Everyone has their own personal preference as to what exactly this inner feeling is. But no one can deny that there is some kind of inner feeling that seems somewhat spiritual in a sense.

To trust your inner self you must first get to know your inner self. Maybe you do this through prayer, or meditation, or some other way. Knowing your inner self is one of the best things you can do for yourself because once you know your inner self, you can listen to its guidance. Your inner self is your true self, and it already knows what you truly want and don’t want out of life. It simply knows everything you need for a fulfilling life. All you have to do is listen.

Sometimes we think we know what we want but when we get it, we realize that we didn’t actually want it. This is because we actually didn’t know what we wanted.  We thought we knew what  we wanted, but in reality we didn’t. This is because we didn’t connect with our inner self. The inner self always knows exactly what you need, and it is always there waiting to show you the way. All you have to do is pay attention to it and be open to it.

By listening to your inner self, you start to live according to your true values and desires. Life becomes more simple because you are not confused with what society wants for you, what you think you want for yourself, and what you really want for yourself. You know deep down what you want, and life becomes much more simple and enjoyable when you listen to that.


There are many other ways to live simply – such as eating healthy meals, hanging out with positive people, keeping your thoughts positive, personal development, smiling, connecting with nature, etc.- but instead I decided to focus on how to easily and permanently change your habits to live a simple and fulfilling life. I believe that if you follow these main principles above, then the rest of living simply will come to you as a byproduct.

To living your best life,

-Alex

3 thoughts on “The Art of Living Simply

  1. Alex. Absolutely brilliant and insightful. Forty six years ago I took off my watch and I have not worn one since. I had been tied to always knowing what time it was because I always had to be somewhere just like you were talking about. So how would your principles apply to our electronic world? I’m an old guy but I am a slave to getting my coffee and opening my tablet. Then I have a definite schedule of websites that I look at. I digress. Keep it simple stupid- the kiss principle. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pat, that is fantastic to hear! 🙂 As a society we rely on the internet heavily these days. If you enjoy your morning routine and it makes you happy, then great. Keep it up! But if you really do feel like a slave to it, then maybe instead you try a week of subtracting the coffee and tablet, and instead adding tea and a good book (or whatever you would prefer to add). You might find that this is more fulfilling, or that you prefer the former. The important thing to remember here is to pay attention to what information you are feeding into your brain every day. What we surround ourselves with we become. ps-the kiss principle is great!

      Like

  2. Pingback: I Did. | Happy. Healthy. Wealthy.

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