Day 16: Simplify

If you watch much TV or read online ad’s, it may seem like the world wants your life to be complicated.

Of course they don’t say that. Instead they tell you that for every problem there is a solution and that solution is another thing, another class, another app, and another brand. To be happy all you have to do is to own the things you need to solve all of your problems.

But this simply isn’t true. There is very little evidence that owning more makes you happy. Sure financial security and being able to pay for medical care will increase your happiness, but owning another lawn chair or iPhone probably won’t.

So why is it like this?

The answer is simple. People want you to buy what they make. But most of us already own more than we need to survive. So in order to sell you more stuff they create a need, real or not, and then try to fulfill that need with their widget for only $19.99. This isn’t evil; it’s just marketing.

And the problem isn’t that marketing exists. Where you get into trouble is when you believe so many of the messages directed at you, you end up with too much stuff, too many commitments, and too many pieces of information. Soon you can’t focus, and you shut down.

At that point another widget won’t solve the problem, because the problem has become that you simply have too many things. So what’s a boy or girl to do?

The answer is to simplify.

When you simplify you do three things:

  1. You make space for the things that matter. If you walk into the house of a minimalist, you know what’s important to them, because it’s there in a room with not much else. When you simplify your life, you focus on what’s important by creating space around it.

  2. You let go of distractions. All of the other stuff in your life that you kinda sorta need is a distraction. And this goes for commitments as well as information as well as stuff. The more you have to keep track of, the more you have to work at tracking them. Simplification helps you let go of the distractions so you have more time, energy, and joy.

  3. You see who you really are. Perhaps the most powerful result of simplification is that it forces you to see your essence. No longer can you hide in a sea of stuff. Instead you are forced to stake a claim on who you are, what you want to do, and what you need to do it. Simplification is one of the most powerful processes of self-discovery and self-recognition you can go through.

So today’s challenge is all about looking at simplicity in your life and why it attracts or repels you.

Challenge #16

  1. Practice. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions:
  • What does simplicity or simplification mean to you?
  • What do you think it would be like to radically simplify your life?
  • What excites you about simplifying your life? What scares you?
  • What do you think would be possible if you simplified?
  • What would be the hardest thing to give up?
  1. Reflect: Once you’ve answered the questions take a few mins to read over your responses and reflect.
  • What do your answers tell you about your longing for simplicity or resistance to it?
  • What obstacles are you putting in your own way?
  • What are the biggest misgivings you see?
  • Which answers reveal your bravest self and which one’s reveal the fearful part of you?
  1. Share: Please share in one or all of the following ways
  • Blog – Write a post where you explore any of your answers or a reflection on your answers as a whole.
  • Post – using #30dayhappy or posting in our Facebook Group share one answer that interested you or anything else you learned.
  • Comment – Love the idea of simplifying? or hate it? Let me know in the comments below.