Reflecting over the last twelve months, which have brought more changes than most of us have seen in our lifetimes, has prompted me to write on the subject of simplicity. What really matters after all is said and done?
My wife and I had both the pandemic and a major life change to deal with. We moved from our estate, where we had lived for over twenty years and raised our wonderful girls, and where I had my private Strategic Acceleration Studio, to a beautiful condo (with much less upkeep) two minutes from our RESULTS Center. We knew it was time to simplify our lives and move on.
What’s your new norm?
How about you? Are you working virtually more? Have your values changed as to what is important to you now? Should you simplify your life?
In the new reality, we have to wonder—how simply can we live and still maintain a rich, fulfilled life? For example, can we get by without travelling as much? Can we do meetings differently and still be effective? Can we communicate with people differently and still achieve the results we want and maintain healthy relationships? As we explore these different perspectives that have been forced on us by COVID-19, let’s look at how simplicity can actually bring more success to our lives.
About a year and a half ago—before the pandemic—I authored a little book called Strategic Simplicity. Let’s look at the three concepts that were the basis of that little tool and bring them to life for you.
Simple living can encompass a number of strategic, voluntary practices that will simplify your lifestyle.
It can mean:
- Saying no more often. I do it almost hourly nowadays.
- Being happy with less stuff, less obligations, less clutter, less everything. I’ve given away a ton of things in the last months.
- Being more flexible
- Reducing your possessions. Keep what you really enjoy and need, and share and give away more.
- Increasing your self-sufficiency (by creating systems)
- Being more satisfied with what you have rather than wanting more (i.e., I haven’t bought a new vehicle in years and actually love my older Jeep and Mercedes convertible).
And as we’ve seen during the pandemic, it can also mean:
- Finding less complicated, alternate ways to vacation with your family (perhaps exploring more of your own country)
- Discovering simpler, more creative ways to do business virtually, which simplifies your life with less TSA (unless you’re flying private), travel pressure, and commute time
- Investing more quality time with your family
Living simply doesn’t mean living in poverty; that’s not success. Strategic simplicity is a more intentional lifestyle—choosing to have less, need less, and still live a rich life because of all the benefits it brings. It can actually serve as a filter for your life.
Strategic simplicity comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s just a matter of finding the best fit for you and your family.
The Benefits of a Simple Life
Bringing simplicity to your life can help alleviate negative things like materialism, constant consumption, exhaustion from having to manage or even think about so many things, or the realization that you don’t own your life. (I call that living on a hamster wheel.) Or you can strategically choose simple living for a variety of other personal reasons.
Consider these benefits:
- Margin Time: There are many wins from the margin time that can come with strategic simplicity. Don’t fill up your calendar; leave margin time.
- A Healthier Life: Simple living can benefit physical and mental health on many levels. I’m selling my office park because I want less worry; I want an even simpler life.
- Time for Fun and Laughter: Cutting back the stress in our lives gives more time for things like relaxing, enjoying looking at pictures, walking in nature, and having all kinds of “simple” fun.
- Less Clutter, More Organized: Living simply declutters a daily schedule and materialistic lifestyle. [Note: I still recommend having cool stuff you like that inspires you, propels your effectiveness, and makes or saves time.]
- Giving: When we simplify our lives, it takes less to make us happy; we have margin time to think about the things that really matter, and we can become more loving, caring, giving, and even thoughtful. Ask yourself if you are giving enough compliments and appreciation; both can bring tons of joy to those around you.
- More Thoughtful Reactions: A simpler life allows for time to consider a better response when things go wrong.
- Self-Care: When we reduce commitments, obligations, and as many stressors as possible, there is more time to relax, think, pray, be creative, and be grateful.
- More Engaged Relationships: It’s often hard to connect with those we love as much as we would like because we over-complicate our lives and don’t leave time for them.
- More Capacity: When we aren’t tied to stuff, engaged in drama, or overreacting, we can have massive freedom. We can make better decisions and are better able to live the lives we truly want.
Strategic Actions for Achieving Simplicity
- Awareness: All actions—and hence all results—follow thinking. Take time to reflect and give strong thought to this message. Think about your life and the life you want to live. Is it too complex? Too simple? Chances are, when you answer these two questions, your awareness will skyrocket.
- Clarity: It’s now time to get clearer on what kind of life you want to live—simple or complex. One great way to do that is to MOLO your life.
- MOLO: This powerful activity, which I originally published in my book Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life, can show you where you’re wasting your efforts, often in small ways, and complicating your life. It can also help you get clearer on where you should be investing your time to significantly move the results needle and simplify your life. [Suggestion: MOLO your life by simply listing what you want more of and what you want less of as well as what should you should do more of and what you should do less of.]
- Focus: Focus will help you identify and concentrate on what matters the most for the success of your vision for a simpler lifestyle, and it will help you filter out distractions that hinder its progress. You will end up doing more of your High-Leverage Activities and fewer Low-Leverage Activities.
- Elimination: Making more to-do lists and a refined list of your goals can simplify your mind in a huge way. And taking things off your lists if they don’t matter anymore is crucial.
My tagline is “Change your thinking, change your results.” Watch this video below. I believe you can make your life richer and fuller—especially now—by strategically and intentionally bringing simplicity to your awareness and taking actions to make it a reality.