Keep It Simple

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Simple is not a copout. We do not engage in creating simplicity just because it is a great way to move through easy street and not work. It is less stressful when things are simpler. I’m clear headed, focused, and in the flow when things are simple. Getting to simple? A lot harder than the way it feels once you reach simplicity.

I have a picture on my desk where I write, work from home, and do most of my self-development as a constant reminder. It has three words in white on a simple black background. “KEEP IT SIMPLE,” it reads.

A reminder for me to stay there in an ever increasing world that seems to want to make things more complex. Finding simplicity especially for most, I am going to take a guess is near impossible. While writing this blog I was interrupted in the time of 30 minutes, three times. So, even when we want to get to simplicity we cannot even focus long enough on the process of creating it, with out interruption.

A favorite quote of mine:

“Simple can be harder than comples. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Steve Jobs

I feel the way Steve above describes it when I do get there. Like you can cut through all the noise. You see so clearly the way. It is empowering. It keeps me rooted in the essentials of life around me. Anchored in the most important essentials. Those are the most rewarding moments. Those are the days when I finally lay to rest my head on the pillow, and I sleep the best. Still, those times can be rare for me too.

To start, we have to indentify with what essential means to us. We have to cut the fat out of our lives to understand when we’re to wrapped up in non-essential things that make our lives more complex. If you knew you were going to lose everything in your house, what would be the three physical things you would want to make sure you wouldn’t lose if you had a few hours to collect them? Those things are the essential things.

For me, one piece of technology so I can stay in touch or call for help. Whichever piece of tech was the closest for me to grab would do. The second, would be something that represents a significant milestone in my life. I’d want that physical memory to be something I will need to lean in to as a memory to get by. Lastly, I have a lot of art in my house. I’d want one peice of my dad’s art he made before he passed to survive. Only so I can be reminded of him, what’s possible, and something I can pass on to someone else someday. Now of course all humans present are exempt from this excercise. Of course we want them to survive if they are in the house. For this excercise though, its about physical essentials you have placed around you.

That excercise is an example of how we can hack away at the unessential in our lives to really get to what’s most important. The simplest blocks of life found in the daily decreasing instead of increasing. What’s most important helps me appreciate simplicity because what’s most important rarely comes in abundance. It’s rare.

Another simple excercise that helps us bring more simplicity into our lives is by taking an honest look at what we fill our life with from the time we get out bed to the time we return to it. People think I’m a little cray, cray because I literally map everyday by hour what I plan to do with my time. But, it’s filled with what’s most important so anything that isn’t doesn’t get an opportunity to tack anchor in my days. If you don’t plan your days, someone else will. I’m not hardcore or unwilling to change those plans once they are plotted, but it feels really great to have the guide there.

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

Henry David Thoreau

The challenge is there for you. You can search online to find all kinds of people that claim to have figured it out. Many I have actually written about. What are you holding onto that you need to let go of because it makes things to complex? Where do you see the area in your life that needs to have a simplicity make over? Start with a small area. Get the ropes figured out. Then, go after something challenging. You’ll find peace in it as well as freedom. I promise.

✌ Shawn

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