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“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann

Are you going through life without an awareness of your surroundings? Maybe you realize you have absolutely no idea what happened last week, but you’re pretty well booked for the next month. You think about what you are about to do but forget to enjoy it. Sound familiar? Most Americans simply cannot stop their fast-paced lifestyle. But is a rushing, sophisticated, and distracted existence really what you desire? To simplify your life means to calm it down enough to thoroughly embrace it. When we simplify our lives, we are choosing to let go of what is inconsequential and hold onto what matters. Family, experiences, good food, and great beauty. These are some things, of many, that keep life from being frittered away. 

1. Stop doing what you hate.

The wise people in our lives will always tell us to stop doing something if we hate it. Very few of us actually listen to them, but they are right! Although we might find ourselves stuck in something unbearable, the moment we stop gives the opportunity for transformation. Are you realizing that something in your life is only causing consternation? Stress can be a dangerous side effect in your life. And if you have no passion or sense of fulfillment for what you do, you may be going down a destructive path. So stop doing it. Rather, do your best work in whatever form that might take. You only have one life to live, so don’t waste time on something you don’t care about.

2. Focus on what matters.

Everyone has a different idea of what matters most. That is our unique quality as individuals. The question is, what matters to you personally? Is it your family and friends? Is it living up to your own standards of success? Or standing out against the crowd to promote something of value? Whatever matters to you, immerse yourself in it. There is so much in your life that is simply excess. If you got rid of the excess, it would genuinely improve your life. It’s worth it to consider what’s in your life and determine if it really matters. Keep in mind the time and energy you spend on something and the outcomes that result. 

3. Buy quality things that work.

One of the most valuable keys to living a simplified life is to make smart purchases. This means finding things that make life easier and produce a high reward. For example, when you consider which computer to buy, get the one that will last the longest instead of settling for the cheapest. And when you get a case for that computer, buy a leather computer case instead of a cheap plastic one.

Simple, yet creative and well-rated purchases give you an uncomplicated future. You won’t be looking for replacements as often. And you don’t have to spend extra energy making up for something that is only doing a halfway job. You’ll worry less and have a pleasant experience with your purchase more often. Products like MacBooks and leather cases and goods are prime examples of quality purchases. Buy things that work—not things that will break down or wear out in a short time. 

4. Don’t overthink your relationships.

Nowadays, relationships are quickly increasing in complexity. Interaction with others is becoming more complicated as the internet and social media expand our sense of connection. Now, humans around the world are connecting with each other over the web without ever talking in person. We rarely have face-to-face exchanges anymore. And even if you know someone personally, much of your interaction could still be through social media platforms. Most complications occurs when things aren’t clear between individuals. Assumptions are made and people can become dramatically confused by slight or subtle nuances. The disadvantage of our modern-day communication methods is that they don’t carry the clear signals of body language and tone of voice that accompany a face-to-face conversation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Go out of your way to talk to people in person. Be as clear as you can. Give and receive grace. And always ask when in doubt.

5. Enjoy your story rather than worrying about someone else’s.

If you want life to get complicated real fast, worry about someone else’s life. If you want to simplify your life, write your own story. Enjoy it. The worst thing is to get so distracted with someone else’s story that you never get a chance to live your own. It’s not about the beginning. And it’s not even about the end. The words and actions in between are what count. Enjoy the process of living. 

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

Perhaps you like staying busy. But busyness doesn’t equal success. Do things that are worth your while and take out everything else. Remove the superfluous and learn to say no to things that won’t give you happiness. By simplifying your life, you can improve it. Simplification does not happen overnight. It doesn’t even happen in a week. And many things will try to complicate your life again and again. Remember that simplifying is a process and a lifestyle.

You only have one life. What will you do today to simplify it?

April 18, 2019 — Matt Marciante

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