Door Number Twenty-One: Simple Simplification

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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything (Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?). Even longer since I’ve tried to embark on the daunting task of discovering one’s 50 doors to happiness. Realistically speaking, 50 may have been too lofty a number. Not that one shouldn’t shoot for the moon, but at this rate I’m going to finish this series right around the time George RR Martin finishes the final Song of Fire and Ice book (at least I have a few more years than he does to pull it off.) In the spirit of complicated blog posts I figured I would embrace its polar opposite and introduce door number 21, simplification.

What does simplification mean exactly? I suppose you can take it at face value and say it means making things less complicated. However, sometimes they need to be that way. Ikea furniture is great and all, but it is not exactly the shining example of durability. No, if you really want something of quality you have to delve into the details which don’t tend to be simple at all. That’s why the aforementioned Song of Fire and Ice (or as the television audience knows it, Game of Thrones) is so popular. Layers on top of layers. I’m not making the most compelling case so far, am I?

I think the key, as it relates to improving one’s life anyways, is to find areas more complicated than they need to be and simplify them. For example, many of us spend a disproportionate amount of our day reading articles online. This eats up a great deal of time and leads to an unconscious stress that causes more trouble than its worth. One solution to this specific dilemma would be to simply limit the amount time we spend online. Or ya know, just use Feedly. The point of this complicated web of descriptive nonsense is there are usually easy steps we can take to eliminate excess effort in our lives.

Another advantage to pursuing this path to happiness is you can always add things back if you go to far. Take the example of a complex workout plan. Say you decide your crazy boot camp workout is taking too much time and causing you to dread the mere mention of the world fitness. You slowly start eliminating exercises until your down to just running a couple of times a week. Unfortunately, as anyone who has drastically cut back on exercise can tell you, your likely to get less than satisfactory results after a certain point. Fortunately, you can just add things back until the results balance with the desired energy expended. This can applied to anything in life, including Netflix marathons (damn you West Wing).

So on to the real point behind pursuing this door. How does this actually lead to a more fulfilling life? Well for one, it eliminates unnecessary stress. So many times I’ve made things way more complicated than they needed to be (pro tip: sometimes its better to just ask for directions). It also frees up mental and physical energy for more exciting endeavors. So instead of checking your phone 30 time a day just in case someone posts something interesting on Facebook (they didn’t) maybe take that time to go on an epic bike riding, photographing adventure (and then post those photos to Facebook). Lastly, simplicity is the mother of clarity. The less clouds we crowd our life with the more likely we will be able to see the small miracles occurring every day. And for the record, I’m not talking about Midi-chlorians.