By Joseph Rutakangwa
Do you find life to be difficult? Do you and wish life was as simple as ABC? If yes, then you are on the same bus as most people on this planet. In the pursuit of a simple life, people feel compelled to do stuff they’re uncomfortable with so that they can live simpler. Thus, rather than making life simpler and enjoyable, pursuing simplicity is turned into a weary load. But do they have the correct meaning of a simple life?
Dictionary.com defines “simple” as easy to understand, deal with, use, etc. A simple life is one which you do more of the things you love and have only that which gives you value. A life where relationships are easy to deal with and everything around you make sense.
I bet you would like to simplify your life and there are only two steps to get there:
1. Know what’s most important to you.
You may often talk about priorities in life. But have you stopped to think about which things stand out most to you, let alone the amount of time you spend on those things? Imagine that you’re going to die and you get a chance to give yourself advice. What would you say?
Spot a quiet place where you can think freely. Write down the top 18 things based on your priorities at this point in your life. Ties are not allowed!
The first 6 things are your “imperatives” – what you consider most important and hold on dearly.
The middle 6 are “great to have” – what you consider important but can let go of if circumstances arise.
The bottom 6 are “optional” – what you do/have just because and can forgo.
How was it? This exercise is all about trade-offs. You have to decide which things you’re willing to let go so that you can put more time and energy on the important ones. I wrote about what I consider the most important things in life, read about it here.
2. Get rid of everything else.
Re-evaluate each item on your list. Ask how your life appreciates due to each item, how each item serves you, and what you reap from it. Take some time to redo the ranking exercise if necessary. Now that you have your final list of 18 items, eliminate all optional items – the bottom 6.
Then take on this exercise to your possessions, people, time commitments, and words (what you say). Get rid of the bottom 6 – the non-essentials.
So, let put these steps into practice. How do you start living a simple life today?
A. Let Go
You shift to something better when you let go of what wasn’t intended to be. When you let go of the life you projected, you will enjoy today and the life that is waiting for you.
Letting go is not giving up. Giving up implies selling yourself short; letting fear and life battles limit your opportunities and keep you locked down. On the other hand, letting go implies liberating yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It means removing toxic friends and belief systems from your life to create more space for ideas and relationships that are conducive to your happiness.
B. Put Your Life in Slow Motion
Live in the moment. When you slow down the pace of life, you’ll spend more time in the present and experience simple pleasures that you’ve taken for granted. Among the most satisfying simple pleasures in life are:
– Sleeping in fresh, clean bed sheets
– A good laugh
– Making someone smile
– Hearing the right song at the right moment
– Listening or telling a funny, interesting true story
– Making brief eye contact with someone of the opposite sex, etc.
These “moments” are priceless.
C. Focus on What You Can Control
Start focusing on the elements that are in your control and get the most out of them. Spending more time worrying and complaining leads you to create more of the things you don’t want through your thoughts. Reality is usually as bad or good as you think it is.
The source of happiness is usually right in front of you, not elsewhere. We all know what makes us happy and see meaning in life because we all have hearts. The voice of the heart stands for things that matter most to you – the few imperative things through which you get fulfilment. It acts in a place of the things that you can’t live or do without.
When you focus on your most important things and eliminate the rest, then you’re living a simple life.