There is a Zen saying that explains the important difference between knowledge and wisdom very well: “Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.” Indeed, simplicity must involve removing excess from our lives, even if it involves releasing excess wants and possessions. Even though it may seem like society forces us to strive for more wants and possessions, every human being is responsible for making quality of life a high priority.
For many people, improving their quality of life will involve experiencing less stress in life, and managing to feel less rushed in general. Things like work, bills, and expenses in general can make experiencing greater happiness and peacefulness challenging, but they should never make it impossible.
Living in the moment means focusing on the present more than you focus on the future, and far more than you focus on the past. Ironically, focusing on the present will often result in a simpler life overall; as mentioned, the quality of time decreases when it is filled with more “stuff.” Once you begin to identify what you truly want in life, you will naturally begin to recognize what you no longer want in your life anymore. What’s more, you’ll likely become much better at saying “no”; not in an impolite way, but simply in a way that conveys your need to spend the time in question with yourself, for your own well-being.
Placing freedom and flexibility above tight schedules and large paychecks has benefits associated with it that can’t be expressed in words. Whether you choose to spend your time at home or travelling, the small or large pleasures you enjoy will add-up quickly, and the memories of your experiences will bring you more joy than virtually anything you’ve ever purchased in your life. It’s imperative to vanquish the idea of “more is better” from your life philosophy as soon as possible.
Although this ideology runs counter to society’s standards and expectations, how can someone enjoy life more than everyone else if they live the same way as everyone else does? Removing clutter, checking email sparingly, and being grateful for the people and things that bring us the most joy is an efficient and effective way to become happier than the average person.
Of course, change is rarely easy, and making changes like these is no exception to the rule. However, if you truly believe that you will be changing for the better, and if you genuinely want to change for the better, then you will be able to go against the grain of society successfully and find time for more enjoyable and peaceful activities:
-Time with loved ones
-Watching savings accounts grow
-Observing and utilizing the possessions you enjoy most (that you’ve decided to keep)
So, before you begin taking stock of all the things you can cut from your life and all the things you can add to it—just do it!
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.