Simplify your life Motivational Speech
Our generation is the most affluent in history. We have never had so much spending power. We have never had so much choice. We have never owned so many houses, cars and toys or had so many exotic holidays. Surely we must be very happy indeed?
Yet figures show that only one third of us can claim to be content. How can that be? How can our affluent successful society be one that shows divorce rates doubling and teen suicide rates trebling? Clearly we are discovering the truth, that money cannot buy you happiness. People are discovering another truth that goes hand in hand with living a simple life. They are discovering that time is not money. Time is worth far more than that and it is far more important. Living a simple life, it seems, has its attractions after all.
In recent years there has been a change in the air. The amount of people revaluing their lives and ideals is no longer measured in the thousands. These are not just oddballs. They are individuals, groups and whole communities. Successful magazines and online communities have sprung up advocating the benefits of a more simple life. Simplicity is not just the testament of Quakers and a few strange groups in the backwoods and hills. It is becoming a mainstream call. In fact, the numbers are startling. In the US alone perhaps twenty million people are questioning the meaning of their modern lives.
The same trend is happening in industry and commerce. Vast sprawling companies are rewriting the books of management using simplicity as the keystone. This is just as well, we are drowning in technology and how complicated everything seems to be. A wonderful example is the TV so many of us love to watch. Once upon time you simply turned the set on and chose the channel. Today, who has not counted the remotes for the TV, the video, the hi-fi, the DVD player and the satellite box? Why, we wonder, are the things that were supposed to make our lives easy, so complex?
As technology increases and develops, we want nothing more than for it to be simple. Companies and products such as the search engine ‘Google’ and Apple’s iPOD, have found that simplicity pays them very well indeed. Their products may do many things, but they are easy to use and they have sold in their millions. Simplicity is the key to good business.
Simplicity in industry, like simplicity in life, is not necessarily easy. This is nothing new. The same theories have earmarked the best design and architecture for more than a century. In art, poetry, in fact, in all creative expressions – the best, the most admired, the most understood are, in their essence, simplicity itself. Finding such a pared down simple object or line takes time. Picasso once said that it took him his whole lifetime to learn to draw like a child. Antoine de Saint Exupery said that ‘perfection is reached, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.’
Simplicity in life is about paring back your wants and needs. It is questioning our perception that we need more things to make us happy. It is about asking questions about our life, that someone wisely pointed out, is not a dress rehearsal. Why on earth do we want to spend it doing things we don’t like? The answer generally is because we need the money. We might need the money to maintain our current lifestyles but how much of that do we really need?
The key to simplicity is to ask yourself a few direct questions. What makes you happy? Make a list. Write down ten things that you would enjoy doing. Now make another list. On this list write down the ten things that you actually spend your time doing. If those two lists match then you must be a very happy and contented person indeed!
Unfortunately, for most of us, these lists do not correlate. One is wishful thinking and the other reality. Yet could we not bring them closer together? As many people are finding out ‘Less can be more.’ Less can mean more quality, value and depth. It can mean more satisfaction and happiness. Your quality of life can be increased. The first thing to realise is that aiming for simplicity in your life is not just about giving things up. In fact it is the opposite. ‘Up shifting’ has become a term used to signify the gains that can be acquired through living a more simple life.
There are the gains and rewards from having more time to yourself, more time with your family and more time with your friends. They are the gains from not having to be a slave to a job that you detest or do not believe in. They are the gains from not having to travel or commute. Yes, tough decisions will be necessary as with the company CEO seeking to simplify operations. You have to decide exactly how you are going to stop going round in circles and head straight towards what you really want to do with your life.
Not everybody has an inheritance or an allowance to live on. It is necessary to work. The fact is that not everybody can pack in the thankless office job and go into business making guitars, boats or fashioning teapots from clay. Not everybody wants to, but if you want to, you can. If the work you are doing is not satisfying you, then take steps to change it.
What would you like to do? Re-educate and retrain if that is necessary. Take positive and affirmative steps that can provide you with the knowledge to do what your heart tells you. Sure, you are going to spend less time acquiring things. Perhaps the new car will have to go, but really how much of a sacrifice is that? Simplifying your life is something that can happen on many different levels. It can happen within you and it can happen in the way you live within your community. Many people are already doing just that. They are choosing to live more simply. They want more from life. They want more quality and more time doing the things they want to do with the people they want to be with. They are seeking to end the dissatisfaction on offer from our stressful, consumption obsessed society.
Simplicity means staying focused on your path through life. It means not skimming the surface but diving for real pearls. It means encouraging healthy sustainable products and making choices from energy to food, with a sense of community and compassion. That community is vital. It may mean, for instance, supporting small local producers and helping others locally in your community to earn their living. It means making personal choices from education and transport to the design of homes and houses. It means changing the focus on the way in which we live. It means putting a real value on things and people. It is far more than all the objects and clutter and stress we let fill up our precious time.
It is like Picasso’s dove, the ultimate symbol of peace and unity. It is, perhaps, also the greatest challenge of our age. Finally we have realised that our greed and insatiable desire has brought us nothing but useless objects and misery. We now have to make a genuine choice. Millions of people are doing just that. They are rediscovering something wonderful and elemental about the human spirit and the way they can be. The great news is that we are equal to this challenge and we are capable of delivering. So what on earth are we waiting for? You can simplify your life and by doing so enrich it.