In many ways, you probably know how to live a simple life, but do you want to? Many want the complexity and constant drama of their lives. This is something we each have to look at honestly. However, some of us really want simplicity, and some would want it if they knew what it felt like to live more simply and at peace. Here are a few ways to get there.
Just Say No … Or Say Yes
An important secret to how to live a simple life is to learn to look honestly at how life gets complicated. This may be different for each of us, but there are some common habits we share. One such habit is taking on new responsibilities without fully acknowledging the costs and complexities they add to our lives.
When a man buys a boat, for example, does he usually think about the time he will spend maintaining it and cleaning it? Does he think about the trip to the insurance office for insurance, the necessity to shop for accessories like life-jackets and fire extinguishers? Does he remind himself that boats break down, and he’ll have to deal with hauling it someplace to have it repaired? Does he consider the trailer-hitch he’ll need, the tarp to cover the boat, the tarp to replace that one when it tears, the bearings in the trailer wheels that will someday fail. Finally, Does he think about the hours he will be committed to working to pay for all this fun?
It isn’t about the boat, by the way. There’s nothing wrong with owning a boat. With nothing else was going on in his life, all of the above could easily be a part of “the simple life.” Hwever, when we don’t honestly recognize the role of our own choices in adding complexity to our lives, we take on more than we can possibly handle. As a result, a million exercise devices sit unused in basements while ten million hours are spent working to pay for them. Look honestly at all the costs, and make well-informed choices – this is the first secret of how to live a simple life.
Money Brings Simplicity – Or Complexity
Isn’t it simple for a rich man to own a boat? He can just pay someone to take care of it while he plays with his kids. Money can bring simplicity to your life, but it’s all in how you use it. This is the second important secret of how to live a simple life.
People use money in ways that overly complicate life, as when they put a down payment on a hot tub that they really don’t need. Then they have to work to pay the interest, they have to clean the tub, find a place for it, and have it repaired. Of course, if you are wealthy enough, someone will take care of these things for you. However, if you make $8 per hour, a hot tub will almost certainly overly complicate your life.
If you really want the simple life, the choice then is to make more money, or live a life that is simply supported by your current income. After I paid off the mortgage loan on my first home, and got rid of the car, life became simpler and more relaxing. As I make more money, I can easily add more “things” back into my life, while keeping it simple, as long as I maintain the balance.
Drama Adds Complexity
For a simpler life, have fewer friends. This may sound harsh, but how many friends do you need? Don’t get rid of true friends, but don’t add people to your life unless there is a real exchange of value between you. We all have acquaintances we call “friends” and yet only tolerate just to “be nice.” Do you think it is selfish to say you don’t owe anything to these people? Then how selfish is it for them to say you do?
With friends and family, don’t get involved in the drama more than you need to. Watch closely, and you’ll see that until a person is ready to change, you rarely can help them in any case, neither with words nor with money. Save your efforts for when you truly can help. You weren’t born with an obligation to anyone, and it’s incredibly selfish for anyone to make such claims on your life. Let the drama swirl around you, but don’t get involved in it. This is a crucial lesson on how to live a simple life.
Steve Gillman has been exploring new ideas for decades. Visit his site for invention ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, and more. Get a free gift too: New Ideas (http://www.999ideas.com)
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