Living the Simple Life
- June 29, 2016
- Posted by: ian gadot
- Category: Inspirational, Tips
How complicated is your life? Do you have time to do the things you want to do? It’s easy to get caught up in all these things we believe we “have to do” without realizing that we actually don’t have to do any of them. I’ve totally over-simplified things here (obviously if we want to keep our house or put food on the table there are some things that have to be done). But if we forget about the essential functions of our lives for a moment, we can take a look at everything else.
Simplicity means not having responsibilities in your life that aren’t worth your attention. It’s about choosing to invest your time in things that actually improve your life. It is NOT about keeping up with the Jones’… which is- I think how many of us wind up taking on too much. Every choice you make about what you buy and what you commit to must be taken with the following consideration: will this add real value to my life, or not?
Too often, those extraneous things, nagging chores and responsibilities are things that we took on believing 100% that they would add value to our lives. In reality, they may be decreasing the value of your life. Take that fancy, awesome, kick-ass boat that seemed completely necessary for total life happiness. Now, it needs repairs, it needs to be hauled back and forth from the lake, and it takes up space (which may mean additional costs incurred to store it). Maybe your family is pretty busy, so for all that extra work and responsibility, you get to use that kick-ass boat only a few weekends a year. Is the boat adding value, or just taking up time and money?
It could be the house with enough bathrooms to handle a football team, an elaborate wine cellar, and a yard to die for. Suddenly you have to hire a housekeeper, a gardener, learn to love (and buy) great wine… and have you really actually used all those bathrooms? Is this big beautiful house worth what it costs to keep it, or was it something that at the time seemed to ensure absolute bliss in life?
Granted, for many people these examples don’t work. There’s probably someone out there who loves his boat spends all his available time on it, and can absolutely say that it brings him value, joy, and happiness. That’s awesome! Everyone should have that one thing. Problem is we’re in the habit of thinking we have to have everything! That everything will increase the value of our life… until it doesn’t and so we’re on to the next thing. If you’ve ever wondered how all of those storage unit complexes stay in business, this is how.
A personal example for me was my Jeep. I had owned one before, but it was a total lemon and I had to sell it so I could actually make it to work on time. I vowed that I would one day own a Jeep again and that it would be my hobby. My project. My happiness. So, six years later with a daily driver paid off and money in the bank, I went and bought my Jeep. She was beautiful! Everything I had ever dreamed of. Six months later, I still only had time to drive it twice a week (to work), was incurring additional costs each month for maintenance, insurance, and the small portion of it that I financed. I kept telling myself, “No! This is what is going to make me happy!” Well, I finally came to my senses and realized that the dream I had finally fulfilled actually took value from my life by inundating me with more work, more responsibility, and more costs. It turned out that my answer to happiness was costing me a lot, and was taking value from my life instead of what I had intended it to do.
So I sold it, and I don’t regret it. I’m not worrying about the additional money needed to support it, not wondering how I’m going to find time to use it, and not thinking about how it’s sitting in my garage “going to waste” because I don’t have time to use it. I took something that I truly believed would be value-adding to my life and got rid of it because it was doing exactly the opposite. And that is exactly what I’m telling you to do too.
Getting rid of a boat you don’t use, or a house that’s too big, not only means monetary savings that can be used for better things (things that actually add value), it allows you to have extra time and space in your life (both physically and mentally). The icing on this proverbial cake, is you also have less stress because it’s one less thing you have to think about. Now imagine if you could eliminate everything except the essentials? What if you could prune your life down to a tiny, efficient little machine that was so simple in form that it practically ran itself. Then what would you do with all that time, money, and brain space?
Simply put: the value of simplicity can be priceless. Simplicity means wealth… just a different kind.