Saturday, April 22, 2017

A to Z of Happiness: S - Simplify #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z

Simple living is usually thought of as minimalist living or spartan living, or even miserly living.

Grow your own food.
Don't keep a car.
Give away ALL your possessions.
Don't outsource.
Cut off from the world.

In short, go to the Himalayas and live like a monk!

Personally, I don't see anything wrong in doing that. I think it would be an immensely empowering experience to be so self-sufficient. But, if everyone took off to the Himalayas, wouldn't it get too crowded?

Jokes apart, I have a slightly different interpretation of simple living... a SIMPLER interpretation.


What Is Simple Living?

Every individual in this world is different. And we all have different roles to play in the grand scheme of things. So how can one size fit all? It can't.

I believe that simple living is all about removing the UNNECESSARY clutter and noise from our life. The stuff that we don't really NEED. The stuff that DISTRACTS us from what is really important in our life.

If a car helps you do your work more efficiently and lets you spend more quality time with the people who matter, then what's wrong in keeping a car?

If using a mixer-grinder-juicer in your kitchen allows you to eat healthier, then why give it away?

If outsourcing your cooking gives you more time to do stuff that gives you greater satisfaction, then what is the harm in it?

If an internet-enabled smart phone lets you make video calls to your grand-children, halfway across the globe, then how can it be a bad thing to have?

Simplifying our life doesn't mean that we give up all worldly possessions, dreams and desires. It just means that we set our priorities, and then align our life with those priorities. It is a simple 3-step process.

3 Steps To Simplify Your Life

  1. Identify your goals.

    Personal goals - could be related to health, travel, education, hobbies, etc.
    Professional goals - your career ambitions and financial targets.
    Relationship goals - marriage, kids, social clubs, etc.

    Make sure these goals are not in conflict with each other. Remember what happened in the movie Cheaper By The Dozen?

  2. Identify what you need for those goals.

    Do you need more sleep and exercise? Or maybe a course in photography and a new camera? Or a new job with flexi timings? Or perhaps you need to move to a smaller town, so you can afford a bigger house for a bigger family?

    Figure it out in simple actionable statements.

  3. Remove everything else.

    Let go of all the habits, beliefs, possessions, and even relationships (Yes, those too!), that don't align with your higher goals. Most importantly, let go of all the secondary goals that conflict from your higher goals. Majority of them will anyway be things that the SOCIETY expects you to do, not what YOU want to do.

    Yes, this won't be easy. But this is all the difference between a "simple life" and a "complicated life."

3 Tools For Simplifying Your Life

These are our three sharpest tools for simplifying our life.

  1. MINDFULNESS (covered under 'M')

    Watch what/who you let in your life. Watch WHY you let them in your life? Do they take you closer to your goals? Or do they deviate you from them?

  2. GRATITUDE (covered under 'G')

    Always appreciate what/who you have, and remember how they are helping you fulfill your dreams.

  3. RESILIENCE (covered under 'R')

    And once you identify that something/someone is important for you, then commit to them. Don't let anything/anybody else come in between you and what makes you truly happy.

10 Things We Can All Do With A Little Less Of

Here are a few things that we all can do with a little less of. And they are:

  • Worry less.
  • Complain less.
  • Compare less.
  • Think less.
  • Want less.
  • Talk less.
  • Doubt less.
  • Hate less.
  • Fear less.
  • Say 'Yes' less.

Have you got all your priorities sorted out in life? Do you need what you're chasing after? Do you need what you already have?

This is my 19th post for A to Z of Happiness.

I have completed this challenge once before, and published it as a kindle ebook. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

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Molly of Molly's Canopy said...

Wise words! Looking at life goals -- rather than just eliminating clutter -- is a unique way of framing this process.

shalz75 said...

Love the quote Chicky - it sums it up just right! You have hit the nail on the head with this post for simplifying doesnot mean giving up! It just means to better manage our lifestyles with our priorities in place!

A gorgeous Summer Palace in Bangalore

WM Anderson said...

Your suggestions make so much sense. We have just moved from an enormous house to a tiny flat. I had no idea I could live without all the doo-dads and bric-a-brac. But I can honestly sy that on many days, I HATE it! Me and Madonna have a bit in common ( Material Girl).

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog because it let me find yours! I agree with so much of what you wrote here - thank you for expressing it so well! I've worked hard at subtracting those bits I don't need from life and focusing on those I do - so this resonates. And I love your "less list" - I may post that :) - Louise

Cathy Graham said...

Love this, Chicky! I totally believe in simplifying our lives. It all gets way too cluttered and complicated. I'm a messy person and always will be, I'm afraid. Being creative with a mind that flits from idea to idea doesn't help. It does help to declutter from time to time but I don't think I'll ever be cured. LOL! Oh well! I do try to buy less in hopes that will help.

Love those last three points you have on mindfulness and being aware of who and what you let into your life and whether they are adding joy or taking away from your goals. Good reminders.

I liked how you mentioned that it's okay to keep things like our cars and phones if they're adding to our quality of life and bring us joy. We need a car out here where we are. It's a long walk into Ottawa and no buses so we're stuck that way. I do like living out in the country though and enjoy simple walks in nature more than the noise and crowds of the city.

Another wonderful post, Chicky! Good for you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chicky - all of these things ... and focus on what you need to do and get that done ... then move on ... cheers and thanks for the reminders of what I don't need anymore ... Hilary

Vinodini Iyer said...

This is my most favorite post on your blog. I have always been a hoarder. No matter how hard I try to reduce the clutter I end up accumulating more. But I realise that there are somethings that I really can't do without. Your logic makes sense to me. If a smartphone allows me to be connected with my relatives abroad why should I throw it away. Rather I should decrease my social media addiction that has grown due to the smart phone. Its about deciding how to make the best of what you have while eliminating the non-required stuff.

Debbie D. said...

Good points about setting priorities and establishing what's important to you. Some people want to drive fancy cars and live in large, showcase homes. We prefer to spend our time and money on other pursuits, like travel. So, our cars are older and our home is small. Some people may look down on us because of that, but who cares?
Material possessions are overrated, IMO.

Donna H said...

I share your view on a simple life. It isn't about giving away all your possessions, but not being ruled by them. After I lived in my house for about 10 years I did a massive clean out. (I didn't have anything when I bought the house - no furniture, dishes, etc so I become a bit of a pack rat). I remember taking out 12 bags of trash in addition to a bunch of recycling and a few Goodwill runs. It was a lot of work but it felt so good afterwards. Girl Who Reads

Ipsita Banerjee said...

I agree. And yet as we live in a joint family I must say there are so many social and filial obligations that are tough to get rid of! Visiting from the challenge. Thanks for dropping by.

Sreesha Divakaran said...

In a way, this is also the idea behind decluttering. Another simple way of determining what stays and what goes is "have you used it in a year?" This applies to everything, not just possessions. If the answer in a particular situation is no, then probably it's just taking up space in your life.

the little princess said...

Amazing thoughts Chicky! I loved your points...A few days ago, this is exactly what I was discussing with a friend...what's the point in unnecessarily complicating our lives?

Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Molly! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Exactly, Shalini! And I've got quite tired of reading and hearing people tell others to give up everything.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Oh, I love relocating every few years, WM. It's a great way of sorting through the unnecessary clutter in our house.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Louise! I am glad this post resonated with you! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

I know, Cathy. Everybody tells you to keep a clean desk, keep everything in place, but some people like messy. They work better in messy. It is their source of inspiration. For them, messy is simple. That's why I feel we all should simplify our lives in our own way.

Car is a necessity where I live too. Giving it up would mean complicating our life unnecessarily!

Thank you :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Thank you, Hilary :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Exactly, Vinodini! I'm glad you could relate to it. Happy blogging! :)

Chicky Kadambari said...

Exactly, Debbie! Besides, if our priority in life is to travel, then who would take care of a big house and fancy cars?

Chicky Kadambari said...

Wow! 12 bags, Donna! That's a lot! But I can imagine how light it must have felt after that. :D
Thank you for visiting!

Chicky Kadambari said...

Sighhh! Ipsita, joint family is probably one of the first things I would give away! :P
I guess I'm more of a loner! :D

Chicky Kadambari said...

Exactly, Sreesha. That's how I get rid of stuff in my house too.

Chicky Kadambari said...

I know, Princess! We first complicate our lives, and then we walk around telling everyone that life is so complicated!

Shilpa Garg said...

I wholeheartedly believe in KISS and that's keeping it simple, silly!
There's no point in making our life complicated. It adds to clutter mentally and physically too.
I like the 10 pointers you shared about the less that we can do with in our life. We need to practice them religiously.

The Unknown Journey Ahead said...

I'm not sure I have all of my priorities sorted out - but right now I'm on vacation, and it is a good time to reassess.

Chicky Kadambari said...

KISS is the golden mantra, Shilpa! I thought about you when I wrote this post! :D

Chicky Kadambari said...

@ The Unknown Journey Ahead: Oh! Vacations are the perfect time to clear our head out and reassess our priorities!

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