In a figurative sense, life is the course of human events and activities. The complexity of life derives from the multiplicity of these human events and activities. Given this complexity, one skill we all need to develop is the ability to simplify life issues.
The best way to handle a complex situation is to keep it simple. Even though this is a no-brainer, most of us are yet to come to terms with the need to simplify our lives. In spite of the fact that advancement in technology has made available an incredible number of tools with which we can simplify our lives, what you find is that instead of using these tools to this end, we seem to have achieved the opposite – complicating our lives with them.
The plausible reason people’s lives are more complicated in this era of technological advancement is because simplifying one’s life requires a deliberate effort many are not prepared to put up. The fact is: simplifying your life is not a chance event.
Why life is complex
Life is complex because human beings, unlike machine or other life forms, have minds, with which they think. When relating with human beings, you cannot predetermine what the outcome of that relationship would be. Machines and any other life form are easier to deal with. You can programme a machine but not man. When you tell someone to do something, s/he is thinking, “Why should I do it?” This mindset creates a lot of complexities in relationship management.
The above explains why all forward looking organizations set out to simplify their operations by having everything expected from employees documented. You have different manuals: operational, procedural, HR Policy, amongst others. All these documents are put in place to simplify the work environment and make the achievement of business objectives less cumbersome.
Why simplify your life?
The main objective for simplifying your life is for the attainment of happiness. It’s tough to be happy when you’re dealing with a maze of complex issues.
Someone defined success as getting what you want and happiness as wanting what you get. This means you can be successful and be unhappy at the same time. The reason this happens is because success and happiness are two different concepts: success is largely external whereas happiness is an internal stuff.
One sure way of achieving harmonious success (success and happiness) is to actively seek to simplify your life.
Try approximating automation
The ultimate in any simplification model is automation. Engineers, computer scientists and many other technology-related disciplines try to solve problems in their various fields through automation. Automation has the advantage of increased productivity because it eliminates human interference.
If you are able to automate all your actions in and responses to all life events and activities, you will be the happiest person ever. However, the fact that you’ll be relating with human beings with emotions and all kinds of nuances makes automating human relationship impossible.
Notwithstanding, you should still make every effort to simplify your life because therein lies the secret of happiness. When you move close to ‘automation’ especially in routine life activities and events, you will have more time to deal with the non-routine issues of life.
Important questions to ask
Some questions you should provide answers to in a bid to simplify your life are:
- What do I want in and out of life?
- Why do I want what I want?
- How do I go about getting what I want?
When you honestly answer these questions and you stay committed to your discoveries, you stand a very good chance of being successful and happy; you will likely get what you want and still like what you’ve got.
Steps to Simplifying your life
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times but it’s worth reiterating again that the key to simplifying your life is to know yourself. This is important because you are a unique person. Just like your DNA, what makes you happy is unique to you. It’s therefore a worthwhile investment of time and effort to know yourself and what makes you happy. When you have this knowledge and you fashion your life accordingly, you will achieve more with your life and be happy.
Receive a vision for your life
Visions are received. This is where your spirituality comes in. To receive a vision for your life, you must deeply explore whatever idea of spirituality you have. I am amazed at the number of people who copy other people’s vision and wonder why they are not happy after achieving a measure of success with the stolen vision! For me, I received the vision for my life from God and I am happy running with it.
Set goals in line with your vision
Goal setting is akin to breaking your vision into byte sizes for ease of accomplishment.
Have a plan of actions
A plan is a series of steps to be taken in order to achieve your set goals.
Work your plan
When you’ve come up with a plan, you must work the plan. Until you work your plan, your goals remain goals on paper; they never see the light of day.
Following the above steps will demand the full engagement of your spirit, soul and body. However, the result you will likely achieve is worth the effort you put into them.
What not to do
In addition to the above, some of the things you shouldn’t do if you’re desirous of simplifying your life are:
In your relationship and work, never over-promise. It’s better to under-promise than to over-promise. When you over-promise, you set yourself up for failure. Instead of over-promising, you should become adept at ‘managing expectations’. This entails under-promising and then doing your best to exceed the expectation you created by your promise.
One key reason why you shouldn’t overpromise is because your superlative performance today becomes the expected performance tomorrow.
Of course, managing expectation is a balancing act. But suffice to say that you should deal in the realm of reasonableness when managing expectation.
Jim Rohn calls exaggeration a childish attempt to make up in number what you may lack in skill, competence or self-esteem. In simplifying your life, it’s a good advice that you deal in reality. Still quoting Jim Rohn, he said, “If the truth is not strong enough, you should become stronger in presenting the truth.” You become stronger in presenting the truth through personal development.
Just like over-promising, when you exaggerate, you create a base for people’s future expectation. This will put enormous pressure on you.
Don’t say ‘yes’ to too many things
You must avoid the tendency to say ‘yes’ to something and then wonder why you said ‘yes’ when you’re hard pressed. As they say, ‘No’ is a sacred word because it can save you a lot of headache. Saying ‘yes’ to too many things is what someone calls, “allowing your mouth to overload your back.”
Life is best lived when it’s simplified. Don’t add to the complexity of life by being careless in your approach to life issues. It does take a lot to simplify one’s life. However, when you persevere, you would find it worthwhile at the end.