The Importance of Keeping Things Simple

“If its working, keep doing it. If its not working, stop doing it. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.”—-Dr. Melvin Konner

By Dave Hood

Are you stressed out? Simplify your life. Start by stopping the demon of multi-tasking. It will frazzle you. Instead, do one thing at a time.

Prioritize your day. Do what is most important, not what is urgent. Most people must work, and so this is high on the list of daily priorities. Make time, at least one hour a day, for leisure pursuits. So, if you’re an aspiring writer, consider using your leisure time to write. Make time for physical activity, such as yoga or weight training or cardio workout, such as a brisk 30 minute walk each day to stay healthy. Do what is important, not what is urgent. Those urgent tasks only complicate your life.

Spend some time each day in solitude, contemplating, reflecting. For instance, take a walk by yourself in a quiet place or relax in the silence of your bedroom. Solitude can be like meditation. It clears and calms the mind.

As well, focus on the moment, the present moment of time. Experience, with your senses, your surroundings. Make a note of the daisies in the garden, the sound of the blue jay, the white clouds crossing the blue sky.

The Buddhists also provide excellent advice: If you cannot make something better, don’t make it worse. And so, often the best way to move forward is to do nothing at all. Instead, see how the person behaves or how an upcoming event unfolds.

Difficult people complicate your life, and often will make you feel bad about yourself. Distance yourself from people who are a thorn in your side. If they’re toxic, delete them from your life. If they must remain part of your life, distance yourself. Never get into a war of words with difficult people. Never believe that you can change them. Accept what cannot be altered. Difficult people must learn for themselves.

Simplify your thinking. Focus on positive outcomes. Don’t listen to the internal critic who is constantly harping at you. Stop the “what if” thinking. It is catastrophic imagining that will evoke worry. No one really knows how tomorrow will unfold. It is one of life’s mysteries. Choose to view the future with realistic optimism. What are the advantages of thinking pessimistically? Really, there are none. Negative thinking will ruin a sunny day, like rain that washes out a golf match you are looking forward to.

Learn to let go.  Many things in life are out of your control. Focus your time and energy on those things you can control in your life. If you cannot control something, let go. For instance, you cannot control other people, so let them be as they are. It’s best to control nothing. Instead let it be. Everything has a beginning and ending. Nothing remains the same.

Savor the simple pleasures of life, such as a stroll on the beach, reading a book, listening to music, spending time with a friend. Savoring is an easy way to live simpler.

Prevent adversity before it hits you in the face. To do this, anticipate setbacks or obstacles in your life. Make a plan to deal with adversity. Take action to prevent potential adversity from becoming a reality.

Simplify your life by decluttering. Sell old books, collecting dust on the bookcase. Give away clothes you haven’t worn in a year to the Goodwill. Tidy and organize your living space. For instance, organize your CD collection by genre. You’ll be able to quickly find your CDs next time you desire to play your favorite song. Clean and tidy the house or apartment.

“If you don’t like something about yourself, change it. If you cannot change it, accept it.” (Ted Shackleford) Stop expecting others to praise you. Don’t expect others to give you the recognition you feel you deserve. Most people are too wrapped up in themselves and their own lives to think about you. Instead believe in yourself. Praise yourself. Replace negative self talk with positive affirmations.

Erica Fromm said, “There is only one meaning of life, the act of living itself.” Strive to live the simpler life. You will become happier by keeping things simple.


About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
This entry was posted in Personal Essay, Personal Reflections and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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