(This week I had the privilege of guest posting for Kimanzi Constable of Talesofwork.com. I’d love for you to swing by check out the post “Why you Need Courage to Follow Your Dream“)
It’s hard to imagine a life without electricity, running water, phones, indoor plumbing, tarmac roads e.t.c. (especially if you come from the western world).
It’s actually possible to get so used to these facilities that they begin feel like basic human needs.
But the truth is, they don’t fall under “basic human needs” category.
photo credit dieseldemo (creative commons)
We can live without them.
Actually, a good portion of the world lives without them. I grew up without all of them.
Most of us have have big dreams for our lives – big places to go, big things to do.
But life’s clutter sometimes gets in the way. Clutter is life’s excesses. Things, relationships, places we think we need but can really do without.
Clutter can range from that machine in our garage to the numerous friends and commitments that keep us busy but unfocused.
Clutter comes when we are unable to differentiate “needs” from “wants”.
It’s hard to be intentional in life when you have a thousand things vying for your attention.
I believe that true success comes from “being less”, not “having more”. “Being less” is a condition and attitude of heart and it shows in the habits we keep, the lifestyle we choose.
I am not saying we avoid comforts and things. Not at all. Considering that we can only give what we have, we need to have something to give.
What I mean is in our quest for more, we must watch out for the health of our hearts.
I can think of two reasons why simplicity is good for you (and there’s more of course, please add your thoughts in comments)
Why simplicity is good for you
- Simplicity takes you further faster. When you are lean (literary and figuratively), you can do more, go further. Leanness means agility, maneuverability, manageability, adaptability. And these are crucial elements to success.
- The more stuff you have, the more things you have to take care of. That means a chunk of your time, energy, focus must go into maintaining things.
In all, simplicity brings focus. And focus yields results.
In trying to live simpler lives, one of the biggest battles we have to win is that of the mind.
By far, society seizes you according to your outward accomplishments and the “stuff” you own. Some of us live by it’s definition – that we are what we own.
Nonetheless, our value does not come from things but from our Creator.
To simplify, we can think on the following;
1. Only you can make you feel better.
A new car, a new house, new wife, even another child will not make you feel better about your life. Stuff can’t make you feel better. Health begins from the inside, not from the outside.
2. Delayed gratification
I am married to a thinker. He likes thinking things through. Unlike yours truly, (me), who dislikes waiting. Hubs doesn’t mind waiting if it means making a more quality decision.
Some of us cruise down the highway of life, waay over the speed limit.
But to live a simpler life, we must develop our ‘wait-er’ – Patience. Waiting gives room for answers to ‘marinate’. Your capacity to enjoy life is increased. You get a better deal out of life. And most of all, you learn self-control.
3. Balancing your life
How you spend your time says a lot about you. Success is a culmination of time spent doing worthwhile productive things.
We only have twenty four hours in a day and so we must prioritize our key roles and responsibilities.
Keeping a balanced life is a life-long pursuit since our lives and priorities keep changing. But at whatever stage, we must strive for it.
Over all, we do well to understand that real wealth is not what lies in our garage or closet but what lies between our ears and in our chest. It’s a mind and heart thing.
Success is never an overnight journey. We don’t have to own it all now. If you cannot afford it, it can wait. If you can afford it but you don’t need it, it doesn’t need to see your front door.
Question – Any thoughts on living the simple life? Can we live on less and still achieve more? Does “clutter” inhibit success in life? Please share your thoughts in Comments.
Also check out the follow-up post The Simple Life: Keeping Priorities