“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
— Clare Boothe Luce
Let’s start off here with a simple question:
What does your perfect day look and feel like?
Visualizing your perfect day is important not necessarily because it will be a recurring reality, but because it’s crucial to understand what a simple life — or an “uncomplicated life” — really means to you. And it’s different for everyone — for me, it means practicing my morning gratitude meditation, quiet writing and reading time, a few fours of focused time with our coaching clients, and doing something memorable with Marc and our son, Mac. For others, it’s a long morning walk, afternoon yoga, a productive day in the home office, and a hot bath before bed. And for others, it’s simply lots of time to focus on an important life goal, while still leaving enough time to get a good night’s rest.
Take a few moments now to visualize what a “perfect day” means to you.
Then shift your focus and consider all the miscellaneous, needless nonsense you get involved in on a daily basis, both mentally and physically, that goes against your “perfect day” philosophy.
Again, we can all agree that life is NOT perfect, and surely there are very necessary, hard things that must be handled every day. But there’s still a lot of mental and physical energy spent on matters that don’t deserve our time and attention.
Truth be told, the average day is actually pretty simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Let’s break the cycle! Here are a few easy ways to gradually uncomplicate your life — and yes, it’s a GRADUAL process, because it’s easy to change your life one tiny step at a time:
- Learn from the past, and then get the heck out of there! – Past mistakes should teach you to create a wonderful future; not cause you to be afraid of it. Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones. Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience. Success is not about where you are standing at any given point in time; it’s about how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come to get there.
- Focus on what’s truly important. – Identify what’s most important to you. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else. No wasted time, no fluff, no regrets.
- Focus on being productive, not being busy. – Don’t just get things done; get the right things done. Results are always more important than the time it takes to achieve them. Stop and ask yourself if what you’re working on is worth the effort. Is it bringing you in the same direction as your goals? Don’t get caught up in odd jobs, even those that seem urgent, unless they are also important. (Read The 4-Hour Workweek.)
- Give what you want to receive. – You get the best out of most people and situations when you give the best of yourself. Start practicing the golden rule. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It works more often than it doesn’t. It really can be this simple.
- Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Don’t try to be friends with everyone. Cultivate closer relationships with fewer people. Start focusing on being everything to someone. Helping or pleasing everyone is impossible. But making one person smile can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus and be yourself.
- Do what you know in your heart is right. – Stop doing immoral things simply because you can. Start being honest with yourself and everyone else. Don’t cheat. Be faithful. Be kind. Do the right thing! It is a less complicated way to live. Integrity is the essence of everything successful. When you break the rules of integrity you invite serious complications into your life. Keep life simple and enjoyable by doing what you know in your heart is right.
- Organize your space. – Start clearing clutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t use and then organize what’s left. Keeping both your living and working areas organized is crucial. If you have a cluttered space, it can be distracting and stressful. A clear space is like a blank canvas, available to be used to create something great. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Simplicity” chapter of the brand NEW volume of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Be efficient. – Stop being inefficient simply because you’ve always done it that way. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives simply because we haven’t given them much thought. Instead, streamline your life by finding better ways of handling common tasks. Focus on one system at a time (your cleaning system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and logical. Then, once you have it perfected, stick to it.
- Let things be less than perfect. – Smile every chance you get; not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have, and all the problems you know you don’t have. You must accept the fact that life is not perfect, that people are not perfect, and that you are not perfect. And that’s okay, because the real world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards people who get GOOD things done. And the only way to get GOOD things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.
- Let go of needless drama and those who create it. – Never create unnecessary drama, and don’t surround yourself with those who do. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Don’t walk away from negative people, RUN! Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.
- Forget what everyone else thinks and wants for you. – One of the greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you. Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to be. The best thing you can do in moments of indecision is to simply follow your heart. Take calculated risks. Don’t just accept the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what others will think, or afraid of what might happen. If you do, nothing will ever happen. Don’t let small minds convince you that your ideas and dreams are too big. They aren’t.
(Note: Marc and I customize and implement all of the aforementioned points with our students in the Getting Back to Happy Course & Private Life Coaching.)
The floor is yours…
If you’re up to it, I’d love to reflect on the points above with you:
What resonated? What would you add to the list?
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.
(Finally, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new articles like this in your inbox each week.)