A Guide to Simple Living

You have succeeded in life when all you want is only what you really need”.

Vernon Howards

Leading a simple life is what we all desire and go lengths to achieve. We admire people who we think lead simple lives; we even try to understand why and how they can achieve it. Sometimes or maybe most times, we conclude it is because they have more than enough funds to get what they want. But considering those that don’t have everything or a lot of money and yet enjoy and find their life simple makes us ask the question: What is simple living?

A critical look at the lives of these people reveals something quite interesting. There is a common factor regardless of the kind of simple life you lead, whether in plenty or in little.

Taking to account all prejudices, a universally accepted definition of a simple life is difficult to come by. Definitions of simple living are just relative and personal. Despite this, the one thing that can be seen in any definition is the element of satisfaction.

Simple living revolves around contentment with whatever you have whether barely enough, just enough or more than enough.

In the race of life, everyone is trying to get their needs met in every possible way they can. The length you can go to achieve your aims is the extent to which you are desperate.

A satisfied person is content with what he has and can make good use of whatever life present to him. The message is clear. If you want to lead a simple life, be satisfied with what life presents to you and make the best of it while you aspire for more. What then does it mean to be satisfied?

Our priority scale, whether it is written or in our heads, is a reflection of the degree of simplicity of our lives.

The truth is that the complexity of life starts when our wants overweighs our needs on our priority scale. Our priorities are a weighing balance which the two scales are our needs and wants. From the economic perspective, wants are things we desire to have, that we may or may not be able to obtain. Our wants translate to our wishes and fantasies. Needs, on the other hand, are things needed to live, survive and thrive.

In this regards, being satisfied does not mean complacency. Being complacent is having a sense of false satisfaction, there is no yearning, no want and not looking to improve. Complacency is just trying to focus on needs and trying to survive and nothing more.

It also means not focusing all your energies on the wants and not the needs, you will most likely lead a complex life. The priority scale will be imbalanced, you have more wishes to fulfill than important things to achieve and acquire.

Contentment, as regards simple living, describes a balance of our needs and wants; the right order of our priorities. Therefore, a clear-cut statement of your needs and wants is paramount to simple living.

To determine what your needs are from your wants, a sense of purpose is needed. What your essence is and why you are living, which will help you define what you need and what you merely want. Then your energy will be focused on the important ones and your life becomes simple.

I was tempted to write a four-point list on how you could be satisfied and attain a simple life but I refused to because of one thing. The decision belongs to you. You own your life, so no matter how hard I try to make it simple for you to make the decision, if you don’t, nothing changes. It is a paradox and yet the truth. Make the decision to make your life simple and pursue those things that really matter to you.

To lead a simple life is just one not-so-easy-but-achievable task; it is desiring all we ever need. It may not sound simple but that is simple living as it is, in its simplest form.

What are the actions you intend to take today to live a simple life?


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