From Merriam Webster Dictionary:
SIM . PLE adjective
: not hard to understand or do
: having few parts: not complex or fancy
Given the dictionary definition of “simple”, perhaps living simply could be described as eliminating all but the essential so you can focus on what’s truly important in life.
The super simple nursery rhyme, Row, Row, Your Boat advises to row gently down the stream, not up, granting us some valuable insight into simple living very early on. However, given today’s seemingly obligatory shackles of complexity, just how do we manage to row our boat down the proverbial stream?
Well the good news is there’s a new paradigm emerging. The belief is that, with new thought and a return to simplicity, we can defeat the complexity that relegates many to an endless pursuit where you never seem to get enough of what you don’t need.
The operative paradox is that, invariably we will all need to relearn simple. There will certainly be those around us who, entrenched in layers of personal and professional complication, will resist this change. In fact, as Voltaire famously said, “Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road."
Getting to “simple” requires only two objectives: The first is to determine the things that are truly important to you. And the second is to get rid of everything else. Once you have your list of most important things, make an honest assessment of your level of commitment to them. Here are a few suggestions as you head down the path to becoming simple.
Start by looking at your calendar. Get rid of those activities that don’t align with your “important stuff.” Make time with your important people in those new open slots and, as the dictionary definition of simple suggests, remember…”nothing fancy.”
HINT: Clean out closets together and donate anything that hasn’t been worn for a while to charity.
Simplify your professional duties. Focus only on the pertinent so you can excel and 86 the rest. Learn to use the two most powerful letters in the alphabet: NO.
HINT: Eliminating unnecessary meetings may be a good place to start.
Take a giant leap back in time with your usage of technology both at home and work. Social media and texting may be addictive, but they’re most often not simple.
HINT: Throw your smart phone in a drawer or desk for a few hours at a time.
Spend quality time with yourself. They say the road to introspection is best walked alone.
HINT: Watching complicated situations on TV doesn’t count. Instead, take a hike in the woods and then sit quietly for a few hours.
Implementing ideas like these will bring dramatic change to your life as well as your career. And you won’t be alone on your quest to simplify. In fact, companies like SAP are also determined to help people and businesses, “Run simple.” by battling the common enemy of complexity. As CEO Bill McDermott recently put it, SAP has a bold vision for the future of business. A simpler world, a simpler SAP, and simpler customer experience.”
But simplicity as an operating principle in your business and life is not a given-it must be earned. Bringing simple to your own life will require a commitment, but the battle will be worth it. As McDermott advises, “We can’t let complexity win.”