Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Sometimes, the simple things are the best. Although there is some room for the occasional bit of complication.

What does that mean?
This quote hit me pretty hard, once I started thinking about it. What if it didn’t matter what kind of car you drove. What if it didn’t matter how nice your house was, so long as it was functional? It got me thinking about how much of our lives are complicated only because we choose to make it so.

How do we complicate things beyond need? When we get a laptop, suddenly everywhere is the office. To me, that’s more complicated than necessary. Same with smart phones and tablets. Yes, they can be useful, but how much easier do they make your life, or are they a complication? If you have to worry about the battery and how many bars you have, how much help is it in simplifying our lives?

Why is simplicity important?  
I believe simplicity is important in our lives. Whether it’s a camping trip with no phones, computers or microwaves or if it’s just a relaxing evening with a book and a fireplace, going simple can be a great way to reduce your stress and relax.

Simplification is a useful tool to help you unwind. Reduction of extraneous input (phone, kids, parents, loud sounds, bright lights, phones, computers or whatever) and focusing on the one simple thing (which could be kids, loud music or computers) really helps me.

Sometimes I can get a bit overloaded with input, distractions and the frenetic pace of our modern life. Sometimes we just need to simplify, even if it’s only for a few hours. This can really help the body and sensory system recharge and be ready for another busy day. At least, it works for me. How about you?

Where can I apply this in my life?
What do we really need to live? There are the basics: food, water, clothing and shelter. Then there are a few more, connections with others, information/education and health. Once we get beyond the basic needs, often make things more complex than is necessary.

That said, there are things that make life more comfortable, so we trade extra complexity for some other benefit. A modern washing machine is far more efficient than taking your clothes to the stream and pounding them on rocks. The complexity comes when we need to install plumbing, sewer, and electricity to make it work. Everyone I know wouldn’t hesitate to make that trade, but it is more complex.

Where does one cross the line into too much complexity? That is a very personal decision, and depends on your interest and tolerance for complexity. I find that, within certain bounds, I thrive on complexity. In the rest of my life, I prefer simplicity. Not back to the age of washboards and candles (except for camping weekends), but I find myself streamlining my complexities in many ways.

I am starting to treat my electronics more as tools, than as toys to be tinkered with. I still enjoy building computer systems, but will probably buy my next system custom configured. Same with my next laptop (this one is only 8 years old, it’s still got a little life in it for posting and reading blogs).

Simplify. I don’t need the stress and hassle of digging up all the specs, figuring out what is the best, downloading all the drivers, etc. At one time, I thrived on the challenge, but I have better things to do with my time these days. How about you, how are you using your time, energy, and effort?

Take a moment and look at your life. What are you doing that doesn’t serve you? Where do you chase complexity for it’s own sake, and where can you simplify? For those looking for a resource, Leo Babauta runs an excellent site on minimization called mnmlist.com. I’m sure there are other great resources out there for specific aspects of your life, look for what you need. Search engines are your friend. 8)

What part of your life do you want tone down a bit, cut back, reduce or minimize? What were the reasons that led your present level of complexity, and what are the new reasons to reduce it? Has the need passed, or do you need to find another way to fill the need once satisfied by this bit of complexity?

Think it through, and come up with some ideas, including what to do with the extra time and energy that used to go into the complexity you just downgraded. Feel free to try this again and again, until you are more comfortable with yourself. And check back each year to see if you want to change things around or stay the course.

It’s your life, and your choice. Try something, see how it works, then try making some adjustments. Perhaps you get more out of that complexity than you initially thought. Don’t feel bad about adding it back, there is such a thing as “too little,” and it’s a personal decision just like “too much.”

From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius104563.html
Photo by loiclemeur

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About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in calm, contemplation, happiness, improve, refresh, relaxation, simplicity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated

  1. alex says:

    Brilliant post. Resonated with me a lot

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