Life is not complicated. We are complicated. When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, life is simple.
So starting today…
- Stop berating yourself for being a work in progress. – Start embracing it! Because being a work in progress doesn’t mean you’re not good enough today. It means you want a better tomorrow, and you wish to love yourself completely, so you can live your life fully. It means you’re determined to heal your heart, expand your mind and cultivate the gifts you know you’re meant to share. May we all be works in progress forever, and celebrate the fact that we are!
- Stop doing immoral things simply because you can. – Start being honest with yourself and everyone else. Don’t cheat. Be faithful. Be kind. Do the right thing! It is a less complicated way to live. Integrity is the essence of everything successful. When you break the rules of integrity you invite serious complications into your life. Keep life simple and enjoyable by doing what you know in your heart is right.
- Stop meaning what you don’t say. – Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication. Someone isn’t being clear.
- Stop wasting time and money trying to acquire more of everything. – Start focusing on quality. High quality is worth more than any quantity, in possessions, friends and experiences. Truly ‘rich’ people need less to be happy. Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. Read The Millionaire Next Door.
- Stop spending time with negative people. – Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself of negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the simplest way to live.
- Stop trying to change people. – Start accepting people just the way they are. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. So save yourself from needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.
- Stop being lazy and cutting corners. – Start avoiding future headaches by doing things right the first time. Always put your best foot forward. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. Why give less than 100%? Life is too short to waste it by living below your full potential. If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well.
- Stop procrastinating. – Start taking action and making changes. Action and change are often resisted when they’re needed most. Get a hold of yourself and have discipline. Discipline is choosing what you really want over what you want right now. Putting something off makes it instantly harder and scarier. What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow. And there’s nothing more stressful than the perpetual lingering of an unfinished task.
- Stop worrying and complaining. – Start focusing on the things you can control and do something about them. Those who complain the most accomplish the least. And when you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want. It’s usually only as good or bad as you think it is.
- Stop being dramatic. – Start spending less time gossiping about problems and more time helping yourself and others solve them. Stay out of people’s needless drama and don’t create your own.
- Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Start focusing on being everything to someone. Helping or pleasing everyone is impossible. But making one person smile can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus and be yourself.
- Stop making promises you can’t keep. – Starting under-promising and over-delivering on everything you do. Period.
- Stop blaming others. – Start accepting responsibility for everything in your life. Blaming others accomplishes nothing and prolongs the complications you’re facing. Either you own your problems, or they will own you. Your choice. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give up your power over that part of your life.
- Stop reacting without a plan. – Start planning and working toward specific goals. Make a list of your top 3 – 5 goals. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 3 – 5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying your life starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things. Having a plan, even a flawed one at first, is better than no plan at all. There is good reason why you should wake each morning and mindfully consider what and who you will give your day to: Because unlike other things in life – love, money, respect, good health, hope, opportunities, etc. – time is the one thing you can never get back once it’s gone.
- Stop confusing ‘being busy’ with ‘being productive.’ – Start tracking and measuring your progress. Being busy and being productive are two very different things. Results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.
- Stop over-committing and trying to do too much at once. – Start saying “no” more often. If you never say “no,” you will take on too much and get nothing accomplished. In the beginning, you need to say “yes” to a lot of things to discover and establish your goals. Later on, you need to say “no” to a lot of things and concentrate on your goals. Once your goals are established, focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it well. Also, leave space around commitments in your day. Whether you have appointments, or things you need to do, don’t stack them back-to-back. Leave a little space between things you need to do, so you will have room for contingencies, and you’ll go through your day much more relaxed.
- Stop being inefficient simply because you’ve always done it that way. – Start opening your mind to making positive changes. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives simply because we haven’t given them much thought. Instead, streamline your life by finding better ways of handling common tasks. Focus on one system at a time (your cleaning system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and logical. Then, once you have it perfected, stick to it. Read Getting Things Done and The Power of Less.
- Stop cluttering your space. – Start clearing clutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t use and then organize what’s left. If you have a cluttered living or working space, it can be distracting and stressful. A clear space is like a blank canvas, available to be used to create something great. Getting truly organized and clutter-free can vastly improve anyone’s life.
- Stop overloading your mind by consuming useless information. – Start unsubscribing from useless e-lists and news feeds, and keep the TV off. Limit your time on Facebook, Twitter, CNN.com and your other favorite websites, etc.
- Stop obsessing over the past and future. – Start being present. Paying more attention to the current moment can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. It keeps you aware of life, of what’s going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity and stress levels.
- Stop waiting for things to be perfect. – Start thinking of how many things don’t get done in this world simply because people are waiting for the perfect time, place and circumstance. If you’re waiting for the perfect conditions, ideas or plans to get started, you’ll never achieve anything. A good idea without action is nothing at all. Keep it simple and just start. Focus on the next positive step forward.
- Stop focusing so much energy on trying to avoid mistakes. – Start learning from your mistakes, then smile and move on. No matter how smart you are, you will make mistakes. Trying to avoid them will only waste time and complicate your life. There is a lesson in every mistake you make, and learning the lesson is how you move forward.
- Stop making emotional decisions. – Start taking a few steps back so you can think things through. When you’re caught up in the moment and your emotions are soaring, you’re bound to make poor decisions that will lead to needless complications. The best advice here is simple: Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence. Slow down and think things through before you make any big decisions.
- Stop being unhealthy. – Start taking care of your body. Start sleeping eight hours every night. A tired, malnourished mind is over-stressed and rarely productive. Your health is your life, don’t let it go. Eat right, exercise and get an annual physical check-up. The The 4-Hour Body is an insightful and entertaining read on this topic.
- Stop holding on to intimate relationships that make you unhappy. – Start looking out for yourself when it comes to intimate relationships. It’s better to WAIT, and give your hand to someone who will never let go, rather than holding on to the outside of a hand that has never fully opened for you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. Remember, anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you. But it takes someone really special to stay in your life and show you how much they love you. So slow it down. True love is worth the wait.
- Stop holding on to hate. – Start letting hate go! Keep your sights set on the future. Holding on to hate and anger is like grasping hot coals with the intent of throwing them at someone else – you are the one who gets burned. If you want to forget someone, and move on, you must give up hating them. It’s hard to forget someone you hate, because hate takes pieces of your heart – thereby keeping this person within your heart. If you want to forget them, let go of the hate, and create peace in your heart instead. Also, remember that whenever you hate something, it usually hates you back: people, situations, and inanimate objects alike; which will only further complicate your life.
- Stop pretending like you know everything. – Start accepting the fact that there’s a lot you don’t know. Nobody has it all figured out. Nobody knows more than a minuscule fraction of what’s going on in the world. Why? Because the world is simply way too vast for any one person to know everything well. And most of what we see is only what we think about what we see. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you will stop making the same unnecessary mistakes, and the sooner new doors of opportunity will open in your life.
- Stop giving what you don’t want to receive. – Start practicing the golden rule. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It works. It really is this simple.
Photo by: Norma Desmond
[email protected] says
Awesome list, Marc. But my hands down favorite is #2: to live morally, with character. You’re right that it does simplify life so much when you live straight forward, never needing to lie and sneak to keep from being caught. Living with integrity to values engenders trust and respect and self-respect as well.
Thanks for sharing the insight and wisdom!
“Life is not complicated — we are complicated.” As far as opening lines go, you win! You’re so right. Life, as it turns out, is really simple. But being a good person is much more complicated. Thanks the reminders.
Yogini @ yogaspeak.blogspot.com says
The first point about being a work in progress hits home. Over the last year or so, I’ve started doing yoga, and it’s really made me take a close look at myself. It can be a bit scary to move into a new place where it is more of a choice to be accepting of oneself. I think being hard on myself has been a way of staying stuck where it’s safe. I’ve started blogging for some local websites on yoga and how it relates to topics like these, the most recent titled: Yoga Speak: Chicken Little (linked above).
Truly excellent post!
Brandy Hedgman says
This article is a simple how-to guide to life! 🙂
Love this! Will print this out now and put it on the fridge as they are very good reminders!:) Thank you, I needed to read these today!
We do make life more complicated then we need to, don’t we? I have a feeling I’m doing that today. Lol
I especially agree with number 2. I long ago stopped doing things that went against my morals. Personally, when I do things that I know are wrong they cause me more stress and anxiety than anything. Plus they end up causing more problems in my life down the road like hurt feelings and arguments. It’s easier just to be honest and stand by your principles in life.
Nicole Foster says
I love everything in this post, but I’ve recently learned the benefits of removing clutter, #18.
Clutter complicates life more than most people think. It adds stress and blocks creative flow. Luckily, removing clutter is very simple. Take 5 minutes to go through a drawer or a room, sort your objects into necessities and things you can donate/sell. It’s a great feeling getting rid of something you don’t need and giving it to somebody who does.
Keep up the great work on this blog!
I love your blog and I’m thankful I found your site on StumbleUpon. I hope soon you’ll have an app for iPad or iPhone. Keep up the positiveness!
Julie Takase says
Good read! Changing your surroundings can also make a big difference in seeing things more clearly, and simply.
This is a great list. Almost all of these points were on my personal stopping list. Formally or informally.
When these things are stopped, a world of opportunity opens up.
Thanks for the post!
Truly inspiring. Most of what is written here really hit me. Thanks for sharing this..
I stumbled onto this blog and I’m so glad I did. I have been going through a lot and it really gave me a lot to think about. Thanks for such a great post.
Today in yoga class our instructor read a quote. I loved it so much, that as soon as I got home I Googled it and stumbled upon your website. I love it! I will be checking in daily on your website for more inspiration.
I particularly love your sentiments on waiting for a truly loving relationship. That’s what I did and have now been married for 20 years. It was worth it!
Thanks for sharing things worth sharing! There is joy and motivation for one who successfully motivates another! I’m happy! Smiling!
23 Photos of London says
Life’s a work in progress. Great list – thanks!
Once again… You guys are brilliant. Thanks for writing and compiling a wonderful list of tips. Life is a challenge and does require a simple attitude of honesty to be happy.
This is beautiful. I have found the less I complain, the better life gets! =)
Sara Grace says
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!
Some. me. says
Yeah it’s really helpful.
Always wonder what people think about me; If i say the right words; Trying to not make them get tired of me…
I give others a bigger value than what they need and I barely give value for myself.
I should work hard on myself, but yeah you helped, thanks again!
Really inspiring, wise words, thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing all this knowledge; it really helps me out when I down.
I don’t normally post comments on these sorts of things but I really wanted to thank you for such a thoughtful and articulate post. I really appreciate it.
Maria Perl says
Very uplifting! Food for thought. I hear you loud and clear, thanks for attempting to make a difference in a sick world today.