The Art of Simple Living: How Much is Enough?

Mar 1, 2024

The Art of Simple Living

Ever find yourself asking, “How much is enough?”

Most of us do.

It’s a confusing question, because in this crazy world we live in, we’re told it’s NEVER enough!

Even children these days are subjected to merciless digital marketing campaigns that tell them need more, more, more to be happy.

And they want it all NOW.

As we get older and the responsibilities pile on, we wonder how much money it really takes to feel secure and not stress about expenses like health insurance, mortgage, kids’ fees, pensions. . .

But it’s not just about money. . .

We ask the same question about EVERYTHING around us every day: How many clothes, shoes, bags, pots and pans, cars, friends, likes, subscribers, and followers is enough?

It and endless quest that usually results in feelings of stress, anxiety and inadequacy.

And that’s a massive problem in our society today.

The question we should really be asking is this:

How much or how many do we actually NEED to be happy?

More! More! MORE!

So, what’s the magic number? How much really IS “enough”?

Answering this question isn’t simple.

Why? Because it’s human nature to always want more.

If you want to see this most basic of human psychologies in action, just watch kids.

For example, let them choose an ice-cream from a menu, then accidentally turn the page to the list of even bigger ones and see what happens! 

And don’t kid yourself that adults are much different. . .

So many of us get trapped in a cycle of always wanting more — more money, more fame, a bigger house, a better phone — which means we soon get stuck in the habit of feeling that nothing is EVER enough.

This “never enough” issue leads to having too many things we don’t actually need.

This psychology — the idea of wanting to accrue more — isn’t anything new, but in the 21st Century it’s worse than ever.

These days, we can get ourselves into huge debt so easily because we have to make almost no effort to satisfy our wants.

For example, we can make almost any items magically appear right on our doorstep with a few pushes of a virtual button. 

The ridiculous thing is, when we’re caught in the “never enough” loop we end up spending MORE time earning MORE money to buy MORE of what we don’t actually need — and many get people get themselves into MORE debt by doing it!

That’s a very dangerous position to be in because if nothing is ever enough, we’ll never be satisfied, and if we’re never satisfied, we’ll never be happy. . .

Learning the Simple Life

Growing up in Thailand, like I did, we can always find a way to break this negative pattern of thinking and behavior by escaping to a meditation or mindfulness retreat in a temple or ashram where we’re taught how to live a simple life. 

There, we’re shown to experience happiness through leading a minimalist lifestyle, by finding joy in simple things and letting go of excess.

By understanding that a cluttered physical environment leads to a cluttered mind, and that cluttered mind leads to a cluttered and often chaotic life experience, we realize that what we REALLY need is to decrease — not increase — the amount of stuff that we have. 

We’re shown how minimalism, meditation and mindfulness are the true keys to happiness.

The Pareto Principle

You may have heard of the Pareto Principle — a simple living idea that suggests how so many things in life are divided into an 80/20 relationship. 

For example:

  1. Wardrobe Selection: You likely wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Right?
  2. Work Productivity: In a typical workday, you might find that 20% of your tasks contribute to 80% of your overall productivity. 
  3. Social Connections: Often, you’ll find that 20% of your friends contribute to 80% of your happiness and support. 

Whether it’s clothes, work, friends, cashflow or apps on our phone, it’s usually a minority of things that make the majority of the difference

Embracing the art of simple living by getting rid of things you really don’t need is a potentially life-changing concept, as it can lead to a more intentional and fulfilling life.

When we start living a simpler life, we spend less time focusing on things that don’t matter and quality time focusing on things and people that truly do.

Clear the Clutter: Simplify Your Space

This weekend, do yourself a favor: Take a serious step towards simplifying your life and start decluttering your physical spaces. 

Here are 20 things you can think about:

  1. Clothes: Streamline your wardrobe, keeping only what you regularly wear (plus anything else needed for special occasions).
  2. Books: Keep the ones you love or plan to read soon; let go of the rest.
  3. Kitchen Gadgets: Eliminate duplicates and rarely used items.
  4. Electronics: Recycle or sell outdated gadgets and chargers.
  5. Home Decor: Keep only the decorations that bring joy and meaning.
  6. Toiletries: Discard expired or seldom-used beauty and skincare products.
  7. Unused Furniture: Sell or donate pieces with no practical purpose.
  8. Paper Clutter: Shred or recycle unnecessary paperwork and old documents.
  9. Linens: Keep only essential and good-quality bed linens and towels.
  10. Duplicates: Minimize by keeping only one of each item, eliminating unnecessary doubles.
  11. Social Media Connections: Unfollow or unfriend accounts that don’t add value to your online experience.
  12. Unused Apps: Delete apps on your phone that you rarely use or that serve no purpose.
  13. Old Emails: Clear out your inbox by unsubscribing from newsletters and deleting unnecessary emails.
  14. Digital Photos: Organize and delete duplicate or low-quality photos from your devices.
  15. Unused Contacts: Clean up your phone and email contacts, keeping only those you actively engage with.
  16. Time-Wasting Apps: Identify and uninstall apps that consume too much of your time without offering significant benefits.
  17. Unused Social Media Accounts: Deactivate or delete accounts you no longer use or find valuable.
  18. Digital Clutter: Organize your digital files, deleting unnecessary documents and media.
  19. Unnecessary Notifications: Turn off notifications for apps that distract you from your priorities.
  20. Mindless Following: Unsubscribe from social media accounts and influencers that don’t align with your interests and values.

Remember: Creating space in your surroundings helps create space in your mind. . .

Simple Living: Start Living a Life With ‘Less’

To finish then, instead of fixating on how much more you need to be happy, ask this yourself instead — and I mean REALLY THINK ABOUT DEEPLY:

How much DON”T I need to be happy?” 

It’s a question most of us never ask. 

But it’s one that can change your life.

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