Living a simple life means different things to different people. At one end of the spectrum, living a simple life means going back to an 18th Century horse and buggy lifestyle. This definition is based on a primitive way of life that is sometimes characterized by not having electricity, running water, or modern conveniences. People who live this form of the simple life are mostly interested in total self-sufficiency with little or no reliance on anyone else for their basic needs. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t seem like a simple life at all.
On the other end of the spectrum, to some people the simple life may only mean growing vegetables in the family’s garden. This characterization of the simple life is not primitive at all and has no goal of ever becoming self-sufficient. It’s a lifestyle based on an idea of saving a little money here and there and slowing life down wherever possible. I compare this definition of the simple life to someone sticking their toe into the swimming pool to see if the water is cold before they jump in and get wet. In this definition, there is a limit to what is acceptable and what is reasonably inconvenient.
When I define what the simple life means to me, neither extreme as I have portrayed above is what I am talking about. Living the simple life to me isn’t based on an 18th Century existence or growing tomatoes in the backyard. Living the simple life in my definition is a way of life that is based on simplifying our lives through refocusing our energy, time, and resources to the priorities in our lives. Priorities in this case are the people, places, or things that matter the most to us and ultimately brings happiness to our existence. Although the choices we make eventually define a lifestyle fashioned by our priorities, the definition of the simple life to me is not a lifestyle based on a preconceived way of life we must conform to. Our simple life is defined by the priorities we deliberately choose to focus on.
In the context of this website and my blog, my definition of the simple life is a state of uncomplicated, straight-forward, unpretentious living, not affected by worldly desires, wants, or standards, where the focus of our life is based on our priorities and the value of our life is measured by our quality of life, not quantity of life. For all our discussions about the simple life, this is my definition.
Now that I have given you my definition of the simple life, how does this measure up against the life you are living? Are you living a simple life? Are you living your life in an uncomplicated manner? Are you living your life in a way that is not influenced by the wants and desires of others? Is your life focused on your priorities, the important people, places, and things in your life? Do you measure your life’s value by the quality of life you enjoy? If you’re like most people in our hectic society, you’re probably not living a simple life. Like most of us, you’re treading water as fast as you can, barely keeping your head above water.
Why do we live our lives this way? Instead of making a conscious effort to focus on the important things in our lives and eliminate the things from our lives that don’t measure up, we keep moving as fast as we can trying to fit everything we possibly can into our lives. We act like a juggler at the circus trying to keep multiple balls in the air, not focusing on any one ball too long, but moving as fast as we can attempting to keep them from hitting the ground. It’s time to slow down, let a few balls drop from our focus, and redirect our lives to what’s really important.
Living the simple life helps you focus your time, energy, and resources on the important things in life, the priorities that are important to you. Once you make the commitment to focus on your priorities and reallocate your resources, your life is never the same. Life is simpler. True happiness comes to you naturally.
Do you want to live the simple life as I have described? Do you want to eliminate the clutter in your life and focus on the things that really matter and give meaning to your life?
To live a simple life we first need to identify our priorities. We need to identify all the people, activities, and things that are important to us. These are the building blocks, the foundation of our simple life. Like any structure, our foundation must be solid. Otherwise, the first trouble that comes along will cause our simple life to collapse.
Once we’ve established our priorities, we must refocus our resources to support the priorities we identified. Things we say are important to us won’t stay priorities for long if we don’t direct our time, energy, and money to support them. Staying focused on our priorities and supporting them with our resources helps us reduce and eliminate the clutter in our lives and simplify the life we live.
In my blog we will discuss the simple life in more detail. You and I will explore the idea of living the simple life, help you start identifying and focusing on your priorities, and redirect your resources to the things that are really important to you.
If you have family or friends that will benefit from these discussions, please share my blog and ask them to join us. They can follow my blog on my website, subscribe to my RSS feed, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and/or have my blog sent to them by email. I promise that if they apply these principles to their lives, their lives will never be the same. Their lives will be simpler.
Keep it simple and follow your dream!