During our most challenging years, Jess and I struggled with work stress, burnout, anxiety, financial difficulties, physical illness, and more. On the other side of these challenges, we have emerged with a healthier outlook on life; more knowledge, and a continued commitment to learning what enables us to avoid life’s pitfalls more effectively; and, above all else, one resounding shared intuition:
As very driven, ambitious people, we have come to learn that a philosophy of simplicity in all that we do is key to living a life that is healthy, balanced, exciting, rewarding and freeing. What do we mean by ‘living simply’? It’s an approach that extends to all aspects of our lives. Here are few key areas in which we have simplified to enhance our experiences:
In this age of uniting technology like the Internet, social media, and cheap, available travel, the world is becoming an ever-smaller place. For young(ish!) people like ourselves, that means a lot of opportunity and a lot of possibilities. Put simply, there’s a lot we could do and a lot we would like to do — so much so that the breadth of options can itself become a crippling trap of indecision! That’s why it’s critical to really dig deep and ask yourself, ‘What really has meaning to me? What to I really want to do? What would I not just like, but love to do? What is more important, and what can wait? What can I live with potentially never attempting and accomplishing?’ Ask these questions, reflect on them deeply, ask the opinions of those who know you (and trustworthy advisors who don’t). Make your choices and go after your goals with full commitment.
Learn to say no
This connects to the point above. As you move through life and enjoy more success, you will have more demands on your time. Time (after health) is your most precious commodity and it is important to manage it well. As much as you might want to take on everything, an inevitable consequence of informed prioritizing and goal-setting is that some things have to get left on the table. When opportunities come your way, never be afraid to say ‘yes’, but, equally, never fear saying ‘no’. There are only so many hours in a day and there is only so much you can take on at one time. And remember, a ‘no’ may only be a ‘no for now’. You can and will be constantly updating your ‘to do’ list, but focus over time is key to success in any endeavour.
Declutter your space
No one needs a lady named Marie to tell you to tidy up your condo (or whatever form your home may take). The things you own end up owning you. This is true from a perspective of amassing too much consumer debt (mental clutter) as well as too many possessions (physical clutter). The principal of minimalism is one that most seem to agree is healthy, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how many very intelligent people I talk to seem to still be caught in the web of seeking fulfillment through the ownership of possessions. It’s the ‘if…then’ mentally (for example, ‘If I get that new car/house/job/partner/etc., then I’ll be happy). Stop it. You know better. Yes, getting something new that has meaning is a great thing for anyone, but being sparing in the acquisition of things makes the impact of coming into the possession of something truly meaningful a much more fulfilling experience. At home, we regularly purge to rid ourselves of needless possessions that weigh us down. Day to day — out of sight, out of mind isn’t always a bad policy. I, for example, have a tendency to start reading multiple books at the same time, ending up with 5 or 6 of them sitting on the coffee table, causing me not to pick up any of them for fear I’m spending time with the ‘wrong’ book! So, I’ll pick one, put the rest in another room or cupboard, and focus in on the one I want to read most. This is healthy, but too much ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can result in drawers, cupboards, spare rooms, and garages full of crap. Don’t do that!
Declutter your brain
Equally important to not amassing too much useless stuff in your physical spaces is not amassing too much useless stuff in your head! Journal and make lists to get your thoughts on paper and your priorities in order. Talk things out when you feel blocked or indecisive. Go for a brisk walk or jog when you’re feeling pent up and frustrated. And for the love of goodness, meditate. If you haven’t started doing that yet, start as soon as you can. Why not start here?
The above just scratches the surface of what we mean by living simply, as it’s a key component of the Some Good lifestyle. But breaking things down into bite-size chunks is another big part of our philosophy, so that will do it for today! Keep reading and watching to see how we extend a philosophy of simplicity to all aspects of our lives.