Chapter 7.9 Simplify


“Our life is frittered away in detail … Simplify, simplify!”
Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)    American Author

As Americans, many of us not only want to have it all, but we also want to do it all. Too often the things are become the objectives and we lose sight of enjoying the subjective … life itself.

Lighten up … smell the roses.

“Don ‘t hurry. Don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.”
Walter Hagen (1892-1969)    American Golfer.

So the first thing to consider is why do you have so much to do?

“ Instead of piling twenty hours of work together into an eight or ten hour day, schedule six hours of work so that you can accomplish it superbly in eight hours.”
Mr. Lin,  Success magazine, from Do Less, Achieve More by Chin-Ning Chu

It is one of the things that has made the American culture as one that is viewed with respect throughout the world. We accomplish so much. We are very driven in our tasks. Of course our recipe for success has caught on with many other cultures …. the Japanese and the Chinese, to name a couple. Focus on building your success, making the money, pretending to have fun with it … (okay, you wealthy ones probably do have some really big fun with it.)

“Money is nothing: character, conduct, and capacity are everything.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)     Irish Playwright

When I travel to other countries, I notice that many people are happy with being the baker, the cheese seller, the bee-keeper, the vegetable gardener, the small hotel proprietor. They will never be rich, but they make a living. Their focus is not on things, but on life. They look forward to enjoying a fine meal with friends, chit and chatting. Life can be simple … and recognizing the simple is mind-expanding. A big screen TV is only important if you spend your life watching it.

“Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values… God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.”
Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974)     American Aviator

You have probably heard of the time-efficiency mantra “Never touch the same paper twice.” In business, don’t pick up a piece of paper, read it, and then abbey it … once, twice, three times or more. Take care of it now … handle it, dump it, or delegate it. These guys are executives who scratch a few inane hand-written comments and send it down for the underlings to scurry.

“When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder.”
James H. Boren    American Author

Whether you are in or out of the business world, most of you have probably discovered just how avarice email is with your time. Some folks will forward you everything. Do they just sit in front of their computer, thinking that they are the grand masters of universal channeling of inconsequential wit? And isn’t it terrible that you too, can’t just bypass it if they send it to you? Maybe it is that one pearl in a hundred that is worth passing on to your friends.

This is a big time-grab … it makes you feel like you have wasted a couple of hours. Learn to have low standards for ‘Delete’. The world just isn’t going to stop if you don’t read that one message. Be your own Spam filter. Choose to find your own things of interest … and ponder … instead of looking for someone else to lay interesting topics in front of you.

“I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.”
Neil Simon     American Playwright

Here’s a good tip on how to become more effective with your time.

“Let Your Dream State Do Your Work For You
Before retiring for bed, go through your daily task list: what you have accomplished and what will be your priority for tomorrow. While you are sleeping, your subconscious mind will begin to seek the means of accomplishing tomorrow’s tasks.
This is not done with any effort that disturbs your sleep. It is an automatic, natural programming. Once your mind receives the direction for tomorrow’s purpose, it will simmer and get acquainted with the tasks. By the time morning comes you will feel that there is a natural familiarity with your ‘to do’ list. You experience being on top of your day instead of being weighted down by your day.”
Do Less, Achieve More Chin-Ling Chu

Here’s another amazing trick to get you going in the present:
Get rid of your Clutter!

Just like the stack of papers you may have, or the megabytes of email not deleted, keeping things for the ‘maybe’ time (there is no Maybe!) can actually generate a negative feeling about yourself. In your mind, the piles and drawers are like stacks of garbage slowly rotting in your home.

“Keep a thing for seven years and you’ll find a use for it.”
Irish Proverb

Even though I’m part Irish, I don’t buy this one.  Cleaning out the closets or the garage, once tackled and accomplished, definitely has an up-lifting effect.  But what does eliminating clutter have to do in our battle against Negativity?

“By tossing out the old and unworkable, we make way for the new and suitable.  A closet stuffed with ratty clothes does not invite new ones.  A house overflowing with odds and ends and tidbits you’ve held on to for someday has no space for the things that might truly enhance today.”
The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron

It really can be that today is ‘the first day of the rest of your life.’ By discarding old things, you are really discarding the past (although this is symbolic, it can really help you to let go.)  It’s like dumping that old baggage that defined you, and creating a new you. Eliminating clutter gives you a threshold to re-create yourself.  Plus, it provides additional space to buy some new things that you can enjoy in your current place, or …gasp … you could enjoy some simplicity, sans ‘things’.

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”
Dee Hock     Founder of VISA  and the Chaordic Alliance

Eliminating some of the clutter in our mind can be rejuvenating also. We have to get rid of our past, because it won’t be experienced again. Get rid of those negative biases, those negative approaches, those negative thoughts. Learn to detach from them.  The more you practice worry, anger, and fear, the better you get at it … so good that one can become an accomplished sage … a guru … in Negativity. (Hmmm … this could be big money.  Are there any seminars on being good at Negativity?  There is definitely a market base. I can hear the infomercial now … “Learn how enhance your Negativity. In 13 easy steps you can learn how to renounce happiness and embrace misery.”)

There really isn’t any choice, is there?  To learn any new skill, one must practice … and practice.  So it only makes sense that if we continue to practice our old skills and old attitudes, we are going to continue them.  And if we keep too many of those old material things (hoarding), we will remain in the past doing the same things, walking in circles at the fork in the road.

“Remember that you become what you practice most.”
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Richard Carlson

We must start practicing our positive thinking on positive expectations. If we stop practicing thinking of negative outcomes, we’ll soon forget how to Negative Think. How wonderful to approach your next day with positive expectations … not just okay, but truly progressive! Let’s put that on our task list for tomorrow and dream about it tonight.

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)    American Poet and Philosopher,

And in our journey to Follow D’Light …

“Teach us delight in simple things.”
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)     British Author and Poet


4 Responses to “Chapter 7.9 Simplify”

  1. J Says:

    Excellent! Enjoyed this one deeply.

  2. Pismo Painter Says:

    This chapter has been very helpful as I attempt to “organize” myself and my surroundings in preparation to fulfill my desire to produce more art. Letting go of the past (profession by which I defined myself) will provide much needed creative space for the future (creating art).

  3. Ursula Says:

    Your chapter speaks to my heart. In Europe I realized again that peole there enjoy their lives so much more than we do. Whenever the sun comes out, they sit outside, chat with their friends and neighbor, open a bottle of wine and enjoy the moment. I had so many good intentions when I came back – but now I am back in the rat-race again. But I am not giving up – we will go for our bike ride.

  4. alpinerainn Says:

    I really wish people in North America were not so work driven. I would love to live in a civilization like Ursula describes. After all….it is all about people and relationships in my book. Seems like so many are focused on career until they get older……then wonder why they have no network of close friends. Sad, really….

    I am fascinated by the core sadness of most of the individuals on the “hoarding” TV shows. Most have either lost a loved one or have some other trauma which causes them to replace relationships with “things”. The worst of these seem to feel like they “are” trash….so, they feel they should live in trash.

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