“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
— Clare Boothe Luce
Let’s start off here with a simple question:
What does your perfect day look and feel like?
Visualizing your perfect day is important not necessarily because it will be a recurring reality, but because it’s crucial to understand what a simple life — or an “uncomplicated life” — really means to you. And it’s different for everyone — for me, it means practicing my morning gratitude meditation, quiet writing and reading time, a few fours of focused time with our coaching clients, and doing something memorable with Marc and our son, Mac. For others, it’s a long morning walk, afternoon yoga, a productive day in the home office, and a hot bath before bed. And for others, it’s simply lots of time to focus on an important life goal, while still leaving enough time to get a good night’s rest.
Take a few moments now to visualize what a “perfect day” means to you.
Then shift your focus and consider all the miscellaneous, needless nonsense you get involved in on a daily basis, both mentally and physically, that goes against your “perfect day” philosophy.
Again, we can all agree that life is NOT perfect, and surely there are very necessary, hard things that must be handled every day. But there’s still a lot of mental and physical energy spent on matters that don’t deserve our time and attention.
Truth be told, the average day is actually pretty simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Let’s break the cycle! Here are a few easy ways to gradually uncomplicate your life — and yes, it’s a GRADUAL process, because it’s easy to change your life one tiny step at a time:
- Learn from the past, and then get the heck out of there! – Past mistakes should teach you to create a wonderful future; not cause you to be afraid of it. Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones. Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience. Success is not about where you are standing at any given point in time; it’s about how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come to get there.
- Focus on what’s truly important. – Identify what’s most important to you. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else. No wasted time, no fluff, no regrets.
- Focus on being productive, not being busy. – Don’t just get things done; get the right things done. Results are always more important than the time it takes to achieve them. Stop and ask yourself if what you’re working on is worth the effort. Is it bringing you in the same direction as your goals? Don’t get caught up in odd jobs, even those that seem urgent, unless they are also important. (Read The 4-Hour Workweek.)
- Give what you want to receive. – You get the best out of most people and situations when you give the best of yourself. 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 more often than it doesn’t. It really can be this simple.
- Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Don’t try to be friends with everyone. Cultivate closer relationships with fewer people. 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.
- Do what you know in your heart is right. – 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.
- Organize your space. – Start clearing clutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t use and then organize what’s left. Keeping both your living and working areas organized is crucial. If you have a cluttered space, it can be distracting and stressful. A clear space is like a blank canvas, available to be used to create something great. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the “Simplicity” chapter of the brand NEW volume of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Be efficient. – Stop being inefficient simply because you’ve always done it that way. 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.
- Let things be less than perfect. – Smile every chance you get; not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have, and all the problems you know you don’t have. You must accept the fact that life is not perfect, that people are not perfect, and that you are not perfect. And that’s okay, because the real world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards people who get GOOD things done. And the only way to get GOOD things done is to be imperfect 99% of the time.
- Let go of needless drama and those who create it. – Never create unnecessary drama, and don’t surround yourself with those who do. 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. Don’t walk away from negative people, RUN! Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.
- Forget what everyone else thinks and wants for you. – One of the greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you. Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to be. The best thing you can do in moments of indecision is to simply follow your heart. Take calculated risks. Don’t just accept the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what others will think, or afraid of what might happen. If you do, nothing will ever happen. Don’t let small minds convince you that your ideas and dreams are too big. They aren’t.
(Note: Marc and I customize and implement all of the aforementioned points with our students in the Getting Back to Happy Course & Private Life Coaching.)
The floor is yours…
If you’re up to it, I’d love to reflect on the points above with you:
What resonated? What would you add to the list?
Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.
(Finally, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new articles like this in your inbox each week.)
Very practical advice. Reminds me of why I love your 1,000 Little Things book so much. I need to carry these kinds of reminders around with me. Thank you!
Angel Chernoff says
Thank you so much for mentioning our book and supporting our work, Chris. 🙂
Gitta Bixenspanner says
I have been following your columns sporadically and love your uncomplicated easy to read advice. I avoid listening to lengthy videos with long talks that say the same things over and over., and just ask “for 1 more second” to get to the point. Great ideas. Thanks.
Shubhangi Meshram says
Thank you Angel 🙂 love, light and peace. 🙂
Vicky Williams says
It is great to read your uplifting and inspiring words. Yes I stay my days off asking God to direct my ways and help me to focus on BBC Him and the things I will do for the day. So thank you for your simple but encouraging words as I try to forget some disastrous past and go forward using my time in a more productive way. Thank you for your legacy of writing to inspire and motivate people you may never meet in your lifetime. Blessings
William Moore says
Awesome, straight forward advice. Where has this priceless information and simple set of tips been all my life.? I’ll bet this is the feeling of so many of us.
I love your site and emails, and I love your simplicity tips in this particular article. They aren’t always “easy” to implement, but addressing these issues is certainly easier than letting them fester. Very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing these with us!
Angel Chernoff says
Thanks for the kind feedback, Anna.
I just wanted to say a quick thank you for creating your site and sharing what you share each week. I’m also going through your Think Better, Live Better course and I’m finding the lessons incredibly helpful. Every time I review some of your ‘tips’ it brightens my day and gives me something great to think about or move towards.
Angel Chernoff says
It’s great to hear you’re finding value in the recording of our most resent Think Better Live Better event. Marc and I are looking forward to the next event, but due to Covid we’re holding off for now. The recordings are fantastic though, and believe it or not, Marc and I recently sat down and watched a few of the live coaching sessions from both our 2020 and 2019 events. Truly moving moments!
Denise Forte says
The idea of reflecting of a “perfect day” or life really strikes a chord with me. I always look forward to reading the life tips… They always seem to fit into something I needed to read or learn. Thank you!
Tiffany D. says
I’ve been going thru some especially difficult months – my hours were cut at a job I loved; my elderly grandfather passed away; my new job lasted only 6 weeks before I was told I wasn’t a good fit.
Luckily I’m a wife to the most gentle and loving husband and mom to two terrific kids! But it’s been hard to relax and accept their love during these stressful times. You’re blog has really helped me focus on the important things in my life, to accept life’s ups & downs and has seen me thru a couple rough & teary days. Thank you SO much for being present and helping me accept and believe in the love my family has for me.
Angel Chernoff says
We’re sending you even more of our love, Tiffany. You will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers today. Stay strong. We are grateful to be here for you in the small way we are able.
David Zirilli (@DavidZirilli) says
Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
I think it is so important to sift through our relationships and focus on those that are life giving instead of life draining. So often we waste our energy on people that don;t care about us or want what is best for us.
So true, I’ve never been more regretting the time I have taken away from my daughters and my one chance at motherhood – simply because those that drain me I also love dearly. I’ve had strain and my life will not work with my family – damages are dented beyond repair
Wendy Lu says
I think what I always have the most trouble with is time management and productivity. It often seems as though I get a lot of things done and am always busy, but for all the wrong reasons. And like you said, being busy is useless if the things keeping me busy aren’t pushing me in the direction I want to go toward! Thank you for this lovely dose of inspiration. 🙂
PS. I too am loving your 1,000 Little Things book. And I see a new one is coming soon too, focused on relationships! Yay!
Marijane Lazzaro says
Same here, I feel like I have been stuck in Groundhog Day for 3 yrs. I am not a morning person. They seem to get so much more accomplished. I can stay busy all day and then seem like I don’t have enough day. 2021 Goals is not to multitask so much and focus on getting something accomplished for that day. I wish I could learn to dream again. I have no goals …. blah blah blah
Love the inspiration and reminders here. Especially #1. Anyone can gain knowledge from past mistakes, but it is what we’ve learn our mistakes or experiences and then what we do with it that shows true wisdom abd growth. I will use mine as stepping stones not stumbling blocks!
Lot’s of truth in this post. I absolutely LOVE this! I’m going to brainstorm my perfect day just to keep things in perspective. Also find value in your GBTH course right now too. Thank you!
Angel Chernoff says
Thank you again for being a student in the course, Dianna. It’s sincerely a pleasure working with you.
This is so nice. I check out your site every few days hoping for a new post. I just love reading articles here… so moving. Gonna order your books too.
Great list to declutter the mind, heart and soul, and create more space for what is truly important in life. Thanks Marc and Angel!
I’m so glad I received the link to this in my email today. This read was very helpful. The points here are things I struggle with in life. I love reading your blog articles and emails. You discuss so many important truths. I am always looking at life in a positive manner. But, this article gave me some new insight and direction.
Renee Segal says
Great information, especially about letting go of perfection. I go with the “good enough” idea, if it is good enough than it is ok. I also like the de-cluttering idea. Clutter takes a lot of energy and is draining. After a person de-clutters it can feel like losing weight.
Thanks for your blog!!
Nancy Jill Thames says
I loved this post! Great reminders for a Type-A person like myself. Thanks, you two! I liked it on FB, tweeted and sent it to my Linkedin account!
Nancy Jill Thames, Author
Kenneth Benjamin says
To my mind, #2 “Focus on what’s truly important.” is key.
It is through knowing yourself and priorities that you gain the power to decide what you should and should not spend your precious time, thoughts, and energy on.
Thank you. I stumbled upon your site a few months ago, and I am now a faithful fan of receiving your updates via email. I share your wisdom with my friends and my students on a daily basis. It is truly inspiring and thought-provoking to read your blog. Keep the tips coming! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this awesome & powerful article. I will print this out for myself and read it daily … and share it on my LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook pages! And your email newsletters have really been resonating lately too. 🙂
love your tips. #11 Forget what everyone else thinks and wants for you.
People spend to much time worrying and wondering what someone else is going to say or think. This takes up to much time and they are most likely not going to remember what they think or wanted you to do in the first place.
Life is to have fun your way (as long as you don’t mess with the laws) LOL
Your tips are always full of wisdom.
thank you and have a wonderful week,
Another insightful read. Thank you so much for your posts. You’ve really continued to help me re-focus and change my life for the better. Thank you.
Your columns are the best thing I read every day. And I think this one is right up there among the best of them. The only thing I would challenge is the title.. . I think these are SIMPLE ways but not necessarily EASY ways to uncomplicated your life, especially when you recognize that you need to work on several of them very slowly. Although I suppose you do mention “gradual process” and “tiny steps” as I re-read it. Anyway, thanks for always being spot on with your overall advice.
Chris G. says
This article is so well written and insightful. I will carry this with in a open tab on my phone and re-read it! It’s such a great way to live life and eliminate the bad influences in our present lives.
I enjoy your blog. It’s a choice to be happy even when I don’t feel like it. This message is so good because it restates what I already know, I choose my happiness and no one else. Today, tomorrow and everyday until there are no more for me I choose to be happy with the good, the bad I choose happiness. I could be sad but I’ve tried that and it does not work. I’ve watched others try foolish things in an effort to run from their own personal truths and haunts. Today, I choose to be happy and hang all the dumb excuses for not. What an amazing waste of time and a sad state of “being”. I choose to only have people who embrace love and light any thing must go. Recently, I have rid myself of those and things that do not serve me…what a precious release, a purge of the oh goodness not you again be gone. Thank you both for such refreshing words of wise and knowledge.
Excellent article and awesome reminder to not make life more dramatic or stressful than it needs to be right now…thank you!
Angel, reading the post a 2nd time already today… simple and awesome! Forgot to thank u earlier. Keep writing!
This is my first comment on your blog and I wanted to say that thank you very much for writing these posts. I have to learn that I can’t make everybody happy. Such a simple concept but so hard for me to get right. I also have to stay away from negative people whether online or offline. Your advice helps me with this.
J P says
Great post. It contains some things that I live by, and a few things I should strive for. I’ve always been a fan of tip # 1 – Learn from the past and get the heck out of there! And thanks for reminding of tip #9 – Let things be less than perfect. It’s something that I need to be aware of and put into practice more often.
Love your site!
Thanks for this article! Reading your blog always provides lots of inspiration! I loved the point about letting go of needless drama and those who create it. I can especially relate to this point in my current situation.
Claudia Schmidt says
You two are so wise for your age (I assume in your 40’s)! I’m consistently impressed, with each blog post and email you write. Thanks for sharing, keep ’em coming. I often print them out and put them on my bulletin board to keep these ideas on the top of my mind.
I feel like I comment the same thing over and over. This is a great list, full of reminders that are perfect.
I think #10 and #11 are the best and also the hardest. Letting go of difficult people and the drama they create is so complicated in itself, but the gains are worth it.
PS. I’m finding lots of support from your course right now too. Thank you for the continued guidance.
Angel Chernoff says
Thanks for continuing to check in with us, in and out of the course. You’re kickin’ butt! We’re truly grateful to be on this journey with you, Tara.
Fardeen Alemi says
As Inspirational as always !
I could never see my deep inside and know my self yet i visit your Page !
You are like my best Adviser Friend , just being in my life for 20 or 30 minutes you make my whole week.
Keep Posting !
Angel Chernoff says
All the way from Afghanistan!!? Wow! Welcome and thank you for the kind remarks, Fardeen. 🙂
Bonnie Staughton says
Angel, I love all the advice and common sense that you and Marc post. I just wish I could REMEMBER them. When I read your articles I clearly see myself and how I can change some things in my life. I try to be a good person and a happy one but lately I’ve been unhappy more often than usual. After I read your post, I definitely begin feeling better. I just wish that feeling would last. I need to re-read your posts more often. I do save them. You and Marc have such an uplifting look on life.
Angel Chernoff says
Hi Bonnie. Honestly, if you’re struggling with any of this right now — or just struggling to remember what you know in your heart is true and healthy for you — know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and keep our lives on track. This is precisely why Marc and I wrote our books and coach people one a daily basis — we all need reminders and support. And believe it or not, Marc and I review a lot of our own material on a regular basis too, just to center our minds on these principles.
Anyway, thanks for being here with us. And thanks for the kindness. 🙂
Great article! I need to read this each week and concentrate on a different one each week. Thnaks.
Perla milner says
Thank you once more for making a difference! Words of wisdom.
Vanessa Hayes says
I love the point that it is a gradual process to change and uncomplicate your life. The way that you have broken it down into 11 manageable ways is great. I am definitely going to share with my young adult children the wonderful expressions relating to mistakes;
‘Don’t carry your mistakes around with you. Never regret. If it’s bad, it’s experience.’
Thanks for a great article!
Angel Chernoff says
Thank you for the extra kindness, Vanessa. And thanks for sharing our work with your family, too. 🙂
Sue N says
A huge thank you Marc and Angel…..for the awesome inspirational words.
I love the simplicity , its easy to read and uncomplicated advice.
I love life……
it’s about attitude gratitude and embracing each minute .. ..
Superb post, as always!
Great post! I’ll add “Focus on solutions to your problems, not your problems.” If there is something you can do to change your situation, do it. If there’s nothing you can do, let it go and move on. Thanks for sharing.
I have suffering from anxiety, stress and depression.
I am really trying my best to make this right and program my mindset to be happy. But it seems like i always go back to my past mood.
I think i will start putting down reminder and also meditate to be able to be in the right state of mind.
Lindsey D. says
Well, if those aren’t some great life hacks and daily reminders, I don’t know what is! 🙂 Thank you for putting this out there in the world!
Lee at Fibro Blogger Directory says
Love the quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” No 9 is something I have really had to let go of especially living with chronic illness… no more perfect body, no more perfect house… everything changes and it is a constant process of grieving and then letting go.
Doug T. says
Honestly, it was the part about leaving drama out of my life. I just got divorced, and the situation had become so toxic that my ex was literally demanding I leave the house, despite having no sure place to go. The worst- she left our bedroom, and refused to come back despite counseling and my request. She literally told me she chose the children over me and I should go and was not welcome in our home. I have since been offered a new start in the summer home of a friend, far from home and the drama. It’s literally a new start in every way.
I loved this list, great advice! I think many of these are related to the concept of only allowing who and what you want into your space and into your life. It’s easier said than done, but making more time for the people I love to be around and the things I love to do while moving past those that don’t, make all of the difference.