Monday, 25 January 2010

Resilience Tip: Simplify

Over two and a half millennia ago, Confucius noted one feature of our flawed approach to life -  we love to complicate things.

All genuine spiritual traditions, interestingly enough, are based on simplification.  That is, when they start training you methodically, simplification is at the heart of the exercise.  So not surprisingly, we humans aren't at ease unless our life is simplicity itself.  We seem to forget this in our pursuit of happiness, since we tend to think our happiness exists in the opposite direction.

Consequently, if you want RESILIENCE, you need to start simplifying your life.  How?  Start with this exercise right here:

Take out a piece of paper or open a new document - you have to write this down...

  1. Think about the life of someone you know really well and write down everything that makes their life complex and burdensome
  2. Next, pretend they've hired you as a consultant to simplify their life. Find 3 ways to radically simplify that person’s life – simplify the processes, reduce the steps, save them time and energy, etc.
  3. Great! Now that you've finished, take a few minutes to imagine yourself presenting your findings to your friend (whatever you do, don't call them and start lecturing them - people don't react too well to unsolicited advice!  Your outline is for you, not them.)
  4. Tomorrow, come back and pretend you're the consultant for someone whose obstacles just happen to be identical to your own!
  5. This time, you put your recommendations into practice ;-)
The gateway to all great success in life is not the accumulation of wealth, power or status, but rather the ability to keep everything so simple that you could draw it on one side of a piece of paper if you had to.  It’s about freeing your time and energy from low value activities so you can invest  them in activities that are much more important. 

In the words of Leonardo daVinci, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

If you've got a story of how you simplified YOUR life, feel free to share!

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