"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," said Leonardo Da Vinci.
Simplifying the complex is perhaps one of the most underrated virtues of our time. We pride ourselves on excess -- the newest gadgets, a full social calendar and quantity over quality with regards to relationships, experiences and possessions. We even find a weird sense of righteousness in workaholism. As a life coach in New York City, I meet a lot of high-achieving individuals and they often do not consider a simple life a successful life, until we dig a little deeper. Then it can be baffling as to why they did not consider simplicity a must in the first place. Happiness is the goal of all other goals and the secret to happiness is simply inner peace. Overindulgence in anything disrupts this. When we tread the peaceful path, simplicity lines the walk.
The truth is, simplicity is freeing. It is natural. When we over extend ourselves and fill our lives with clutter, both materially and emotionally, we lose touch with the essence of ourselves and with what matters. Our resources -- time, money, even energy, are limited. Spreading them too thin does not serve anyone. Least of all you.
Here are five easy tips to simplify your life:
1. Seek quality, not quantity with friendships.
For a second, picture a life without the friends in you are so fortunate to have. Who do you miss the most? These are the people to invest your time with. Having two to three real friends is a blessing. No one can be a real, constant and reliable friend to 11 people.
2. Stop being so available!
Your email, IM, cell do not exist for other people's convenience. They are there for your convenience. Next time you go for a walk or out to lunch leave them behind. You do not need to be addicted to your inbox. The world can live without you for 45 minutes, I promise. Practiced regularly, this will make you calmer, guaranteed.
3. Limit your possessions.
Lose some! Do you need nine black dresses? Seven purses? Twelve pairs of boots? Keep your favorites: the ones you would want to save in a fire. And stop spending on stuff that is not necessary. Your bank balance will thank you, too.
4. Schedule downtime.
At least one night a week and four to six hours on a weekend, commit to planning nothing at all. In this time, be spontaneous and do what feels right for you. It may well be pottering around at home. This image makes serenity smile!
5. Commit to a calm month.
Cut the entertainment, spending and stimulation. Go out less. Do stuff in nature -- like have your coffee in the park and when you walk your dog at night, stop for a few minutes to look at the stars. Observe the simplicity of the universe -- nothing is strained, busy, overworked. It just is. Be part of that stillness.
How has simplifying your life worked for you?