Right off the bat, let me admit that I have a flair for the dramatic. My favorite actors, actresses, athletes, and.. well.. people in general.. then to be those who flirt with eccentricity. Birds of a feather and all that, I guess. I’m drawn to those who live life out loud and dance to their own music, whether or not anyone else hears it.
I’m also ridiculously fond of outrageous Starbucks drinks and exotic, fancy food and desserts. Loud jewelry? Bold colors? Crazy movies? Yes. Yes. Yes.
So when I advocate simplicity, I’m not advocating letting anything or anyone drain the fun out of life or cause its color to fade. Far from it! I’d fight the hounds of hell to keep all the zest and color life wants to serve me.
Actually, when you stop to think about it, we can appreciate life more thoroughly if we simplify a lot of the things we do – beginning with our thoughts.
There’s a well-meaning, ambitious generation living right now that’s convinced we have to see everything, go everywhere, and do everything there is to do. Bigger, bolder, brighter. “Enough” is as elusive as perfect meatloaf at your in-laws. Many seem to be looking for just the thing to make them happy or successful and, sadly, many of them equate money with each of these destinations.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Money doesn’t buy happiness – never has, never will. There are just as many unhappy rich people as there are unhappy poor people. Many times the only difference is they trade troubles. Poor Pete may worry about the rent while putting in 10 hour workdays while Richie Rich may worry about the effects his crumbling marriage will have on the kids…. wherever they are.
I’m not saying these are concrete troubles, so don’t e-mail me any nastiness. I’m simply using an example – everyone has problems, everyone has worries, and everyone has a certain level of stress. What’s more, everyone has a fence – you know, the one where the greenery of the grass is up for comparison. I read a quote once that said something like this: “If we put our troubles in a heap along with everyone else, when we saw the troubles THEY had, we’d quickly run to retrieve our own.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that. A lot.
I hear from many, many people through Self Help Daily and Out of Bounds and I’ve noticed something : People need to practice the art of simplicity more. It’s nearly a lost art. Everyone wants to do too much, feel too much, and go too far. Contentment is a beautiful thing, but you have to let it find you – you can’t chase it down.
You’ll simply scare it off.
When I think of keeping things simple, I think of the acronym KISS – or Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’m not reverting back to first grade, I didn’t come up with this acronym.
In praise of simplicity, let’s look at a few examples, a few people, places, and things that KISS really good.
- Generally speaking, the best burger in town can be found at one of those amazing drive-ins or diners where they simply make burgers. They take buns, they cook the ground beef, they throw on fresh lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and mayo and make you and your taste buds all kinds of happy.
- George Strait. The man has never tried to be louder than the songs he sings. He doesn’t try to upstage the lyrics or the music. He sings the songs and has a loyal fan base most only dream about. No drama, no extremes, no foolishness. Just great music again and again.
- State Parks provide history, beauty, and relaxation – all without the clicks, whistles, and razzmatazz of outrageously priced attractions. The scenery cannot be beaten and gracing state parks provides support for your state’s park and recreation system. It’s all good. It’s all simply perfect.
- This one will probably go right past you if you aren’t a blogger, but bare with me. The Thesis Theme for WordPress is what most would call a “simple” theme. Unless you customize it, yourself, there are no sliding, gliding pictures or multiple small images beckoning your attention. There is this: Content. What you write and whatever image you choose to accompany what you write. Simple. Many bloggers are clamoring for a more glitzy blogs these days. I’ll be honest, I use a few other themes on a few of my other blogs – simply because I like for as many of my blogs to look as different as possible (I have to keep from boring my cat. Her attention span’s shorter than Little Jimmie Dicken’s shadow.). However, I can unequivocally say this: When it comes to affiliate sales (on applicable blogs), Thesis blogs outperform the rest so heavily that I’m often tempted to go 100 percent Thesis. My Thesis-based sites simply blow the others out of the water. Heck, it’s not even close.
- Rachael Ray has made, like, a gazillion dollars simply by being likable and cooking. That’s it. She doesn’t try to be controversial or say things that’ll draw attention to herself. She simply cooks, shares her recipes, and smiles a great deal. Simple.
Simplicity is a beautiful thing, no matter how you dice it.
If you suspect that you’ve been trying to do too many things lately, chase too many dreams, wear too many hats – you get the idea – do yourself a favor and step back. What things are absolutely necessary? What things are just creating clatter and discord in your world? What things could you let go and never miss again? What matters most in your life?
If you can create a simpler life and a quieter world, your body, mind, and soul will run over one another trying to thank you first. My money’s on the soul – He travels lighter.