Life is Simple, But We Insist On Making it Complicated

I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately. Humans do a fantastic job of making things more complicated than they really are: relationships, work, love, organization, productivity, faith, losing weight, etc.

We like complexity because it gives us something to do, but I think also because we’re addicted to effort. 

Effort, however, is not what drives results. 

This is something I’ve noticed about myself over the last 6 months—I’m working really hard. But is the work I’m working really hard at the best use of my work time? Not always. 

It’s easy to create complexity—buying more stuff, building systems that take a lot of effort to use, staying in the wrong relationships/friendships, and generally building things up to be bigger issues or obstacles in our mind then they really are. 

If you’re feeling bogged down by life’s complexity lately, it’s probably because you’re making things more complex than they need to be. 

Take a step back, take 3 really big deep breaths, figure out how you can simplify, and then implement the simpler solution. 

Life is really, truly simple, and beautifully so. 

Don’t make it unnecessarily complicated and messy.

You’ve Got to Disconnect From the Fake Stuff to Reconnect With the Real Stuff.

Life can get crazy, and we can easily get swept up in the craziness of it. 

In those moments, we scramble to do half-assed work, check things off a to-do list, and get to inbox zero. We try to put systems in place to become more efficient. We go to The Container Store and drop a lot of money on random bins and files and calendars we’ll probably never use. 

…but none of those actions ever feel quite right, do they? I don’t know about you, but often when I do these things, I get the overwhelming sense that I’m totally missing the mark. 

You see, that’s what happens when you get swept up in craziness: rather than running things, you become run by things. You can’t keep up. There’s always more stuff to do, errands to run, emails to answer, people to get back to. 

I suspect that the solution to the craziness is far more simple. 

Slow down. Eat a meal without opening up your computer or having a conversation. Wake up in the morning and, instead of checking your email, peer out of your window. Pause. Reflect. Smile. 

Cook a meal and invite friends over. Take a bubble bath. Stay in for the weekend. Shut off your email. Shut off your smartphone.

You’ve got to disconnect from the fake stuff to reconnect to the real stuff. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop trying to do more. Stop the glorification of busy. Just listen to your body, heart, and mind. Slow down, so you can speed up when it really matters. 

Just soak up and savor the moment you’re in, no matter how disorganized or hectic.  

Just appreciate today. 

And remember to breathe. 

People Always Make Time for What is Important to Them.

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Time is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. There never seems to be enough of it, does there? 

That’s what makes it kind of magical, though. Time is the one limited resource we have that we can’t just go out and get more of. It’s the one thing we have to be really careful about giving away. 

That’s why I love this manifesto so much, written by my friends Mike, Dave, and Fabian at HOLSTEE

This manifesto has been viewed over 60 million times, and shared over half a million times. No joke. 

Why? 

Why do people care so much about this manifesto? They’re just words on a page, right? 

False. 

People love this manifesto because, at the heart of every line, it’s about not wasting time. Do what you love. If you don’t love what you do, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. Stop looking for the love of your life; you’ll find that person when you do what you love. Share your passion. Get lost to find yourself. Travel often. 

Some opportunities come only once; sieze them.

If you’re reading this right now, are you seizing your life? I can tell you I’m not perfect at this myself. I’m in Austin for SXSW, and still, I’m sitting by my computer at 9pm writing and editing. There’s part of me, just like so many others out there, that’s terrified of failure. But you know what happens in the process of trying to do everything you need to do? 

You miss the moments. You dismiss serendipitous opportunities. You forget where you are and who you’re with. And that’s lame. 

No matter how much or how hard you work, there will always be more to do. In fact, the more committed you are to achievement, the more you’ll have on your to-do list. 

I’m learning, little by little, to let go of the idea that I have to get everything done. I’m learning—slowly, but surely—to let go of that anxious feeling I get in the silent moments when I’m not typing away on my computer or out networking with a group of people. And I’m doing my best to remember what I know at my core to be true: that the silent moments and unexpected events are what I’ll remember when my time on this awesome planet is over. 

So, I’m going to finish up what I need to do tonight. And then, for the next 4 days, I’m going to be totally present. I’m not going to try and be everywhere at once. I’m not going to attempt to hop in between 10 different SXSW parties in 3 hours. I’m going to focus on creating awesome memories, giving my full time and attention to whoever I meet, and just soaking up this amazing experience—this amazing life. 

I’d challenge you to do the same, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

How are you spending your time? Are you happy with the way you’re distributing your 24 hours each day? Are you living out a memorable life? 

If you’re complaining about not having enough time, stop. 

You can always make time for what’s important to you. 

The more important and invaluable thing? Knowing what’s important to you. 

So, go do whatever that is. Life is short—so don’t waste it.