Happiness Requires The Least Effort
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” — Isaac Newton
In this period of information overload, there’s never been a better time to simplify life. The struggle of modern existence can lead to inner turmoil if we’re unaware. The key to an inspired life is to simplify it. To gain clarity on what’s important, we ought to let go of unnecessary conditions and direct our attention to what we value most. Most people chase material possessions believing they’ll be happy, only to realise it makes matters worse. The more clutter in our life, the less capable we are of knowing what’s important to us. Naturally, we react instead of pursuing what is essential. Does this make sense to you? Can you see how chasing, longing and wanting are the ego’s way of craving more? When it gets more, it desires even more because it believes it will be happier or fulfilled. I liken it to eating a carbohydrate-rich diet. No sooner than we have finished a meal, we are hungry again an hour later. In contrast, if you have followed a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you realise how full and satiated you feel hours after the meal. What I’m trying to say is, we need to switch from consuming to appreciating since the former is grounded in wanting more.
Health, relationships, family and living my purpose are central aspects to my life nowadays. It’s taken an entire lifetime to reach this point, yet it has been worth the struggle. That which brings us joy and happiness requires the least effort. It is why I’m drawn to the quote by Henry David Thoreau who once said: “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” The following are points to follow if you wish to simplify your life. It requires patience and persistence for something of value to yield results. Akin to a plant, the initial stages begin with the seed sprouting beneath the soil, invisible to the naked eye. Yet, with nurturing and time, it grows into a healthy plant and so too with your habits
1. Surround Yourself With Extraordinary People
These include: friends, family, romantic partners, co-workers and those who offer you support and encouragement. Significant people are those who encourage your personal growth. They are your humble ambassadors in time of need and won’t abandon you in a crisis. Being in the company of such people leads to simplified living because your inner needs are met through close connections. Great people inspire and strengthen you, not drain your energy. In contrast, energy vampires rob you of your vital force. They want to gain something and are unwilling to offer anything in return. Steer away from them, since they will deprive you of your long term happiness.
2. Let Go Of What No Longer Serves You
Letting go of what no longer serves us is essential to simplifying life because we free ourselves from what consumes our energy. This includes: people, things, places, relationships, behaviours or habits. If it doesn’t bring you joy, remove it from your life or distance yourself from it. However, don’t fill the void with something else, allow it time to recede so you have less to focus on. In doing so, you free up mental and emotional resources for more important matters. Create a space for something wonderful to appear and trust it will take its place.
3. Focus On Experiences, Not Things
People believe happiness comes from gaining material possessions. Sure, it might offer happiness for a short while, although once it wears off we yearn for something more. Newspapers are filled with stories of people who inherited millions of dollars, only to find themselves more miserable than before. This is not because of money per se, rather the stress associated with managing large sums of money. Accumulating material objects amplifies insecurities already present in a person. We ought to focus on experiences and surrounding ourselves with friends and loved ones. Travel more, perform random acts of kindness, do charity work if that appeals to you. The key is to find fulfilling experiences that embody who you are. Don’t you find it interesting that you are more likely to remember a delightful holiday years later but forget about a purchase of a new item within months? You might even lament buying the expensive item by that point.
“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” — Edwin Way Teale
4. Be In Tune With Your Nature
When you’re in tune with your nature, you connect to your source. I’m not referring to religion or spirituality, yet something greater. You are the expression of universal intelligence. Everything from your thoughts to your body reflects the infinite powers of this creative intelligence. Stay connected to your source and you’ll feel the aliveness of the universe permeate through you.
How do you stay in tune with your nature? Here are steps to consider:
- Be kind and compassionate to yourself and others
- Think empowering thoughts
- Live a healthy life
- Eat whole foods close to its original state
- Balance your giving and receiving
- Create fulfilling relationships
- Be of value in your community
- Respect Mother Nature
- Be of service to others
- Be at peace with yourself
- Think globally, act locally
We are conscious creators of our destiny. We must be willing to upgrade our model of reality and remove preconceived ideas about how life should play out since these concepts keep us trapped in the past. Simplifying life brings immense joy because we need little to make us happy. Economic studies in Australia suggest households on a combined income of $40k per annum are no happier at this threshold. In the US, the figure is $75k, which confirms we needn’t accumulate vast amounts of wealth to be happy. Life is more intelligent than we give it credit for. We are provided with the inner wisdom to make sense of our lives, yet we’re controlled by our impulses instead of focusing on what’s meaningful. We mustn’t succumb to the out-there model that suggests our inner needs originate from outside circumstances. Considering this, make a vow to simplify your life instead of focussing on what will make you happy outside of you.