The word “simplicity” is a hot topic right now. It’s trendy. If you’re a minimalist, you’re part of the cool crowd, and you’re doing things right. And this is nothing against minimalists—I tend to be one myself, and I think it’s great—but if we define simplicity as synonymous with minimalistic, we’re missing the point.
Simplicity is not a “trend” to be attached to one specific “lifestyle”. It’s not about having less, or religiously shunning any type of privilege or convenience. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s a lot simpler than that—really.
The Truth about Simplicity
The truth is, simplicity is not about having less. It’s about having more—of a lot of things:
- More focus
- More energy
- More peace
- More joy
- More freedom
- More time
I mean, who wouldn’t want more of those things?
At its very root, simplicity is about achieving balance and clarity. It’s about learning to manage all the aspects of your life in the most efficient manner that will empower you to live the type of lifestyle you desire. Perhaps that does involve decluttering, downsizing, and kicking materialism to the curb—but that’s not where it ends.
Trendy simplicity tells us that if we just throw out enough “worldly possessions” and apologize for any presumed “privileges” we may have, we’ll find ourselves in the clear and living a beautifully simple life. But that’s not how it works. It’s time we learned to be thankful for and manage the things we’ve been given. This is called contentment.
So how do we start achieving more focus, energy, time, etc.? The concept is simple, really: pinpoint your essentials—assets that assist or empower you in pursuit of your ideal lifestyle—and guard them from chaos and distractions so that you can begin to find the clarity you need to move toward your goals.
Identifying Your Essentials
Let’s start by identifying your essentials.
- What things are you most passionate about?
- What activity or environment provides you with the most energy?
- What assets do you have that empower you most in working towards your goals?
The answers to these questions are your essentials—the foundation of the lifestyle you’re working to create. Now it’s time to manage and protect them, and in order to do that, I have a few more questions for you:
- What do you find is causing you the most stress right now?
- Where does the most noise (distraction) come from in your life?
- Are you truly maximizing the use of your free time, or are you letting these distractions have the upper hand?
I’m not going to lie, attaining a mindset of simplicity is a fight sometimes. It’s not something to be passive about. But once you’ve identified the areas of your life that pose a threat to your essentials, you can take action. If something is causing you stress, see what you can do about eliminating it. If meaningless noise is creating chaos in your life, be intentional about unplugging and tuning it out. And if you find that your already-sparse free time is being sucked into the vacuum of distractions, fight to reclaim it.
Simplicity is about finding the balance—not between less and more—but between chaos and calm; between noise and tranquility. It’s about learning to live fully focused—powerful and unbound—in this whirlwind of a world. Are you ready for that?
- What are a few of your essentials?
- What has helped you simplify your life and manage those things?
- What is your biggest struggle when it comes to maintaining a mindset of simplicity?