Simpler Living -The Key To A Better Life

In my last blog, I did mention one of my new year resolutions as “Make your life simple”. This may have a different meaning for different individuals – frugal living, no greed, not leaning towards a materialistic angle, self-satisfaction, not having too many expectations and so on.

While all of the above are definitely true, my opinion is not any of them. For me, a simple life means a “not-complicated” life. A life which allows us to enjoy our gift of life itself!

We need to be competitive but not make our lives itself complicated. In these days of hectic competition and various “survival of the fittest” scenarios, making life simple is something which might seem alien to us. However, it’s an absolute necessity to tweak our lifestyle to become simpler – so that we can actually strengthen ourselves to face the challenges ahead.

I would choose to say, start tweaking your daily life pattern because no matter how big your goals and ambitions are, it all boils down to how you actually manage your day. When you make your daily life simpler going forward, it will give you that much time, energy and focus for your big goals ahead.

Now, a simpler life on a daily basis – how is that? Is it possible? To a huge extent – Yes! Read on to get a few pointers regarding the same.

Work On Your Thought Process

Just observe your day over a 24-hour frame. 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day runs through our minds as per studies. The exact number is not in the scope of this article though. The several hundreds of thoughts could be broadly categorised as below …

1.      thoughts carried over from the previous day and hence could be repetitive

2.      a huge chunk of negative thoughts – studies indicate it comes to around 40,000 per day

3.      a portion of affirmative thoughts

4.      thoughts spread over the past, present & future

5.      analytical thinking

6.      thoughts related to certain decision-making processes and so on

I am pretty sure that the list goes on for each one of you. The question here is are you in control of your 60k+ thoughts per day? Who is actually taking the lead? You or the 60k+ thoughts that run in your mind and most of the times, actually run your mind?

Do you feel like running away from your thoughts at times? If yes, where will you go? A dialogue from the popular Bollywood movie, Page 3 comes to my mind. “We have to be in the system to change the system!” While the scope of that dialogue refers to a different context altogether, I would like to apply the learning here. You cannot run away from your thoughts. They are your own. You need to practice understanding, filtering and fine-tuning them.

By doing so, you will be able to improve the quality of your thoughts on a daily basis. Your improved thoughts redirect your actions which inturn lead to favourable and life-changing results. The final outcome? A better and less-complicated life! In other words, a simpler life …

Below is a fabulous and entertaining video of the magic of the human brain.

When so much can be done by the human mind, fine-tuning our daily thought process is certainly not very complicated.

See A Chain Reaction? Well … Break The Chain!

Harsha’s work-place is 2 hours away from his residence. So, the travel time per day totals upto 4 hours which is 1/6 of the day ie 24 hours. He used to drive the whole distance himself in his swanky car. His daily workday was supposed to be – get ready-drive to the office-work-drive back home-relax. However, what happened was something like this …

Wake up cursing the day-get ready-load the mind with renewed tension-snap at family members for trivial reasons-start driving-pick up a huge fight with somebody who slightly scratches his car/overtakes/drives very slowly/ curse the traffic etc (Guess I don’t have to explain further 🙂 )-enter the office in a foul mood-work half-heartedly-a dip in performance due to the low level of energy and enthusiasm-work through the day with the same mindset-leave office-the traffic saga continues on the way home-converts home into office soon after reaching-very less or no family time-a highly disturbed sleep.

This is not the case just with Harsha. There are lots of Harshas and their female counterparts too who go through more or less similar patterns.

However, everything has a limit and Harsha decided to set a limit to his own reactions. The daily grind was inevitable and there wasn’t much he could do about it. However, there were a lot of possibilities wherein he could change his approach and make this 4-hour daily ordeal much more bearable and positive.

This is what he did.

·        He hired a driver. This reduced the traffic-related stress to a bare minimum.

·        He decided to invest his time in a positive manner and switched over to listening to audio books. This habit started giving him new insights & perspectives towards his life on the whole apart from enhancing his knowledge.

·        He practiced few minutes of meditation and techniques at the subconscious level to help him condition his mind better to face the day’s challenges.

·        He visualised himself performing extremely well at work and returning home as a happy person.

·        He approached the day in increments and took one phase at a time. Due to this, he was able to remain enthusiastic throughout the day.

Due to this slight tweaking in just this 4-hour window, he was able to make his day far more positive and simpler too.

Now, think about your schedule. Tweak it in whichever way it’s possible for you. Change the negative chain reaction which is making your day miserable into a positive one. Make the day simpler. You will end up becoming happier!

This value-adding article by Satish Rao delves deeper into more self-sabotaging patterns in people and how to overcome them.

Dump The Blame-Game!

Shaila used to work in an MNC in a very challenging domain. A serious person by nature, she used to approach the day mechanically as if it was a routine she could not get away from. Her Mondays were bluer for her than for most of her colleagues. She blamed the work pressure for her days being unpleasant. She blamed herself for making the wrong career choice. She blamed her immediate environment as the people around her did not help her make the right choice. She even went to the extent of blaming her fate itself for all the proceedings in her life. She hated most of the people and situations in her life terming that they were responsible for her life becoming so complicated.

She had resorted to blaming anything and everything around her. However, the truth was that she did not look inwards for solutions. Ultimately, a turn of events did prompt her to start looking inwards. Deep down in her subconscious, she hated herself. This was the root cause of her so-called complicated life.

She started turning over a new leaf by working on herself. Self-care was the first step. She then altered her career stream to suit her talent and liking. She improved her attitude into a more positive one. Her perceptions became more meaningful. That’s when she started enjoying each day. Mondays were no longer blue! She became open for positive changes. Her life became simpler because she let go of stuffs which were making it complicated.

The blame game happens when one is not strong enough emotionally to face the actual truth. Now, I certainly do not mean that one should take the blame for mistakes not committed at all. The point here is to quickly identify the root cause and find a solution instead of getting involved in blaming self or others. It won’t take you anywhere and will only stall the progress in anything you do. Drop the blame game and move on! Life becomes simpler.

This brilliant article by Susan Kraus Whitbourne, Phd throws more light on the psychology behind the blame-game mindset.

More often than not, it is qualities like the ones mentioned so far and our thought process which actually make our life complicated and not life itself. The more we let go of these negative aspects, the more we will be able to inculcate winning habits and mindset. This will inturn make us happier. The stress drops down. Our lives will seem and infact become a lot more simpler!

Try It Out!

The below infographic shows some more tips to make your daily life and inturn your life going forward much better …

Our lives may be way too competitive …yes! But there is no reason why we cannot make it less complicated! Try it out! I am sure you will be able to do it.

If you feel that you need professional hand-holding in turning your life into a “not-a-very-complicated” one, you can reach out to a Professional Coach.

Yes! I Want To Re-Design My Life And Make It Simpler!

There is no blanket solution to making your life simpler. It’s more practical to go for a customised approach as each of your challenges, roadblocks and limitations could be different. The efforts each of you need to put in could vary too. However, the end-result when you work on this aspect will surely be a far more positive one for sure!

Lesser The Complications, Simpler Will Be Your Life!

Make It Your Lifestyle!

Authored by Sushma Krishnan,

Co-Founder, High Performance Alchemy