When we were young life was easier, right? I know sometimes it seems that way. But the truth is life still is easy. It always will be. The only difference is we’re older, and the older we get, the more we complicate things for ourselves.
You see, when we were young we saw the world through simple, hopeful eyes. We knew what we wanted and we had no biases or concealed agendas. We liked people who smiled. We avoided people who frowned. We ate when we were hungry, drank when we were thirsty, and slept when we were tired.
As we grew older our minds became gradually disillusioned by negative external influences. At some point we began to hesitate and question our instincts. When a new obstacle or growing pain arose, we stumbled and fell down. This happened several times. Eventually we decided we didn’t want to fall again, but rather than solving the problem that caused us to fall, we avoided it all together.
As a result, we ate comfort food and drank alcohol to numb our wounds and fill our voids. We worked late nights on purpose to avoid unresolved conflicts at home. We started holding grudges, playing mind games, and subtly deceiving others and ourselves to get ahead. And when it didn’t work out, we lived above our means, bought things we didn’t need, and ate and drank some more just to make ourselves feel better again.
Over the course of time, we made our lives more and more difficult, and we started losing touch with who we really are and what we really need.
So let’s get back to the basics, shall we? Let’s make things simple again. Here are 60 ways to do just that (And don’t try them all right now. Just pick one or two that resonate with you, and begin):
Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
– Oscar Wilde
- Don’t try to read other people’s minds. Don’t make other people try to read yours. Communicate.
- Be polite, but don’t try to be friends with everyone around you. Instead, spend time nurturing your relationships with the people who matter most to you.
- Your health is your life, keep up with it. Get an annual physical check-up.
- Live below your means. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Always sleep on big purchases. Create a budget and savings plan and stick to both of them.
- Get enough sleep every night. An exhausted mind is rarely productive.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush around like a mad man. That 30 minutes will help you avoid speeding tickets, tardiness, and other unnecessary headaches.
- Get off your high horse, talk it out, shake hands or hug, and move on.
- Don’t waste your time on jealously. The only person you’re competing against is yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who fill your gaps. Let them do the stuff they’re better at so you can do the stuff you’re better at.
- Organize your living space and working space. Read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done for some practical organizational guidance.
- Get rid of stuff you don’t use.
- Ask someone if you aren’t sure.
- Spend a little time now learning a time-saving trick or shortcut that you can use over and over again in the future.
- Don’t try to please everyone. Just do what you know is right.
- Don’t drink alcohol or consume recreational drugs when you’re mad or sad. Take a jog instead.
- Be sure to pay your bills on time.
- Fill up your gas tank on the way home, not in the morning when you’re in a hurry.
- Use technology to automate tasks.
- Handle important two-minute tasks immediately.
- Relocate closer to your place of employment.
- Don’t steal.
- Always be honest with yourself and others.
- Say “I love you” to your loved ones as often as possible.
- Single-task. Do one thing at a time and give it all you got.
- Finish one project before you start another.
- Be yourself.
- When traveling, pack light. Don’t bring it unless you absolutely must.
- Clean up after yourself. Don’t put it off until later.
- Learn to cook, and cook.
- Make a weekly (healthy) menu, and shop for only the items you need.
- Consider buying and cooking food in bulk. If you make a large portion of something on Sunday, you can eat leftovers several times during the week without spending more time cooking.
- Stay out of other people’s drama. And don’t needlessly create your own.
- Buy things with cash.
- Maintain your car, home, and other personal belongings you rely on.
- Smile often, even to complete strangers.
- If you hate doing it, stop hating it.
- Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.
- Apologize when you should.
- Write things down.
- Be curious. Don’t be scared to learn something new.
- Explore new ideas and opportunities often.
- Don’t be shy. Network with people. Meet new people.
- Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you.
- Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven, and likeminded.
- Don’t text and drive. Don’t drink and drive.
- Drink water when you’re thirsty.
- Don’t eat when you’re bored. Eat when you’re hungry.
- Exercise every day. Simply take a long, relaxing walk or commit 30 minutes to an at-home exercise program like the P90X workout.
- Let go of things you can’t change. Concentrate on things you can.
- Find hard work you actually enjoy doing.
- Realize that the harder you work, the luckier you will become.
- Follow your heart. Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.
- Set priorities for yourself and act accordingly.
- Take it slow and add up all your small victories.
- However good or bad a situation is now, it will change. Accept this simple fact.
- Excel at what you do. Otherwise you’ll just frustrate yourself.
- Mature, but don’t grow up too fast.
- Realize that you’re never quite as right as you think you are.
- Build something or do something that makes you proud.
- Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along.
Oh, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. They’re free and better than anything money can buy. 😉
Photo by: Luis Fabres
Marc, I really like your posts (this one especially). I always walk away with a couple of ideas to carry me through my day. Thank you.
Gail Dennehy says
one thing to make your life simpler: be kind to everyone and everything. including and especially yourself.
Julian Krane says
Loved this article. Very practical. I have shared it with friends on Facebook too.
naj app says
Thanks so much. This is something I really needed to read.
This is a wonderful project you have here.
Thank you for sharing your uplifting thoughts with me.
Peace and love,
Marcelina Hardy says
I’ve enjoyed reading your post. As a life coach, I help people get what they want out of life and you’d be surprised at how simple some of things people really want. It’s because people have really made their lives so complex these days. With all the technology and advancements around us, it’s difficult to go back to the basics. You’ve done a great job describing them here. Thanks for taking the time to spell it out right here…
Wow great advice. I write from the heart too but nothing published as of now. This was much needed and reminds me of someone I love very much. Although I cannot change him I can most definatly practice this and rub off on him too. Love him enough to set a great example 🙂
Chane Bitew says
This article is fantastic. I intend to use many of these to simplify my life.
Nicole Wolf says
Great post, definitely in line with the lessons I like to share with my readers.
Justin Douglas says
I started reading from the bottom up. Great advice. Are you familiar with the 4 Temperments? Peaceful Phlagmatics are one of them and they don’t have any problem at all abiding by these rules for life. They do these things naturally.
Alan - Small Business Marketing says
#32 Staying out of other people’s drama is an incredibly effective way to simplify and reduce stress. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care or help others. It does mean that you do not have to mimic their stress and emotional state.
How true it is as one grows older, life seems to get more complicated, a lot of it due to our own doings. I think we can still be the same person when we are young, without the additional trappings that we catch on as we progress further in life.
We are our own ultimate weapons of destruction. So true, and so sad.
I think I’ll take this article to heart, and start living simply and happily 🙂
I SO love this post! Trying to simplify my life daily. Great list!
Thank you for this great post. Lots of things to keep in mind. Love number 5 as sleep is more important than most of us give it credit for. Sleep alone can help eliminate stress your life and keep you going!
I got this post from Stumbleupon and give thumbs up after read it.
I copied 50 of these (10 i feel I already did) onto several pieces of paper and have taped them in my room. Every morning I wake up and read them. i can honestly say my life has become both easier and more fulfilling.
David: Marriage Counseling says
We could all use a little more simplicity in our lives. Thanks!
Amazing! Could you maybe get these printed on some professional posters? I would certainly buy one!
Egypt-The Simplicity Doctor says
Sincere thanks for telling things as they truly are, no frills attached. I agree with you on many things. It is time to stop the madness and once again connect with ourselves and each other as “human beings” not just human doings.
Simplicity is such a beautiful and liberating word, it would be fab if more people would stop the madness; and reclaim joyful living that is chaos free and light-hearted. Imagine what life would be if we eased up on the emotional baggage and psychological mind-wars we are all faced with on a daily basis. keep up the inspirational work, it has truly been a blessing reading this post.
Great ideas! Inspiring! Thanks…
Nice to see so much wisdom in one place… thanks.
What an AMAZING article and inspiring thoughts!
Many thanks 🙂
Many of the numbered points remind me of the strategies in the book I am reading for the second time “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff.” by Richard Carlson, Ph. D. I enjoyed reading this article, thank you for writing and posting!
If I had read this blog 50 years ago I would have saved myself a lot of heart ache and pain. I need to print this out, have it framed and hang it on the wall for others to see. Thank you so much for a great write.
Anne Lamb Curry says
Very important and helpful information. It should be printed out and put on the refrigerator.
A great post!
Every day I have been thinking a little more like this, I would like to add one more simple suggestion which makes life much easier which I learned recently.
Do not try to make people’s decisions for them. It’s tough to watch someone make choices you believe are the wrong ones, but they have to grow and learn too.
Michael Salas says
I agree with the idea of over-emphasizing the positive of the outcomes of the past. We can do some revisionistic history and change the our own stories that way. Thanks for this.
I have thoughts floating around like this so often. Thank you for putting it so eloquently and straight forward. 🙂
I have to say, the most difficult thing is to be yourself. Too much to suffer, too many things to deal with. We sometimes need to give in even if we hate it. Who to blame?
All i want is just to be happy…why it is so hard.
Thank you so much for this post…:) I would also add one to practice attitude of gratitude to bring abundance of good things in life…:)
Perfect! One life, live it. Just be yourselves, and try to do your best to live with your life. Be happy and be kind with each other.
Great post! But I would also add something very important not on the list.
Know who you are (and who you aren’t).
We often hold our true giftedness back out of fear, yet feel like we must be like someone we’re not. That’s what I blog about and so I thought that may help someone.
Great list, to which I might add: 1) forgive; 2) set goals that evoke passion, and don’t give up on them; 3) don’t procrastinate; 4) learn to accept your own mistakes as okay and inevitable — you are only human; 5) love animals, or learn to if you don’t already, by starting with a golden retriever.
thanks for those inspiring words.
Communication…..communication…..communication. This is a great post and the 1st bullet solves a lot of problems. People love to prove they are smart by assuming. It’s so much easier to just communicate rather than assume.
Wonderfully simple advice. Thank you.
KING WAYNE says
THIS IS A GREAT POST! VERY LIFE CHANGING AND HELPFUL!
THANK YOU SIR MARC. 🙂
This is a great post! Very useful and inspiring advice.
THANKS a lot for writing!
Very easy and precise ways to make your life easy. Thanks for sharing
I love this list!!!
I am adding number 61: Give 10 kisses (at a minimum) to your muy bonita corino every Tuesday.
KARMA MRA says
Throw television out of your life.
Marrilyn S.H Tong says
Easy and great list for a simple and happy living. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Marrilyn S. H Tong
Throw away your cell phone and learn to surf, and do it often…
Life’s experiences tend to lead up towards a cynical perspective. This seems like a tragedy, but really all we need is awareness of this tendency to make it a habit to intentionally live in the positive. The list is a great reminder that we are ultimately in control of our perceptions and experiences.
#60 is my favorite way to simplify life! Open yourself up to experiences, learn from them, and be better than you once were. Love it!
Thanks for sharing.
Gene Pretorius says
Just For Me Today says
And for number …
54. Take it slow and add up all your small victories.
54.a. Give yourself a pat on the back for each small victory.
Mary Jo says
GREAT article– thank you for sharing! It should be called “the guide to life”….