As backwards as it may sound, you don’t need to do more to get more meaningful progress in your life.
The power lies in simplicity.
In other words, this means subtracting, not adding. It means doing less overall, not doing more.
It’s easier to accumulate than it is to let go. It likely has to do with the human tendency to prioritize avoiding loss, even if a part of us knows letting go will be beneficial for us.
Here are 4 reasons why your life is complicated.
We all complicate our lives to some extent. But we can lessen the complexity with awareness and intention.
1) Lack of awareness
Many of us don’t even realize we’re overwhelmed by a multitude of things, siphoning away our time, energy and attention in our daily lives.
The overwhelm has become a constant we’ve accepted as our reality.
A physical illustration is a stack of magazines sitting on your coffee table, unread, gathering dust, and accumulating one issue at a time through your mailbox. You’re used to the magazines being there, so it’s seemingly not a big deal. You almost don’t notice it anymore, as it’s become a part of your table.
Little do you know, every time you see this stack (either directly or peripherally), it’s subconsciously adding a level of stress and taking a bit of energy from you. The stack represents unfulfilled hopes of reading the magazines, another item on your never-ending list, and another failure to do anything about it.
What stacks of magazines are there in your life?
2) Magnet for Responsibility
If you often live your life through the language of “have to”, “should”, “must” and “need”, chances are you’ve got a weakness for taking on too much responsibility in certain areas.
There will always be responsibilities.
A good amount of them are most likely warranted. However, there are probably some you’ve extended or ones you’ve taken on unnecessarily and unconsciously.
This is often a result of discomfort in saying no, feeling a need to prove yourself, or the need to feel a sense of belonging or status. Whatever is underlying, take some time to evaluate the different ways this shows up in the responsibilities you’ve created for yourself.
3) Belief in Busy-ness
We’ve been conditioned to believe the more responsibilities we have, the more activities we do, and the more tasks we accomplish, the better off we are. In order to feel more successful, we think we need to work harder, get more done, and be constantly looking for the next thing.
What often ends up happening is we don’t feel any more successful after we’ve gotten the promotion or new car.
Busy-ness is over-stretching your resources at a personal cost to yourself.
Eventually, you’ll realize while you are doing so much, spending so much time, working so hard, nothing is satisfying. In fact, it’s all exhausting and limiting. You may feel like you’re barely able to breathe. The busy-ness becomes an unrelenting drain on your well-being, increasing in damage with more time and more things accumulated.
Why are you so busy? What’s behind the ambitious scheduling of your life? Is there an emptiness you’re trying to fill by immersing yourself in busy-ness?
4) Over-confidence in Resources
We tend to over-estimate the resources we take for granted, chiefly our time and energy.
Since they come seemingly without us having to do anything, we often aren’t mindful if we’re utilizing them to our advantage. We also don’t realize we can create more out of it if we approach the usage more intentionally.
As much as we’d all like to think we have tons of time in the future, none of us really know how much time we have.
Time is a gift, which could be taken away just as easily as it is given.
If you continue to tomorrow or “some day” your dreams or aspirations, eventually you’ll run out.
We also only have so much energy to expend before our self-control gives away. Ever have the best intentions of finishing a task in the evening and find you simply can do no more than sit in front of the TV or your phone?
Ironically, the more intentional you are in using your energy, the more you will have. You’ll get a boost from focusing your energy on the things truly meaningful to you.
What’s holding you back from simplifying and making meaningful progress in your life?
It takes concerted effort to simplify the madness you’ve had a hand in creating. Not only that, it’s often difficult to realize it’s essential for you to simplify.
While you may add certain things to your life to accelerate meaningful progress (whatever it means for you), this is after you’ve taken a careful look at what’s currently draining your resources and make the necessary cuts.
You can apply the concept of simplicity across all areas of your life. When you reduce the distractions, you’re better able to focus on what’s truly important. For the next couple posts, we’ll explore simplicity in a few areas of your everyday life. More to come!