I have a sign over the desk in my home office that says, Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. It’s part of a favorite Thoreau line: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, not as a hundred or a thousand.” Simplicity is one of my values. And yet, more often than I care to admit, I am inclined to complicate things. I am not sure exactly why I do this, but I do have some suspicions.
First, I wrestle with perfectionism. Taking pride in one’s work is a virtue, but striving for perfection often gums up the process. It’s a form of overthinking; rather than noticing the essential goodness of the work I’ve done, I nitpick every detail, endlessly extending my to-do list with unnecessary revisions.
Second, I try too hard to control things. I know I’d be happier if I could just be still and let go, but I find myself holding on a little too tightly at times. One of the surest ways to overwhelm yourself is to imagine you have control over everything that happens to you. In reality, we control very little.
So, for my sake and yours, I want to share some reminders on how to keep things simple.
- Accept what is.
- While we can influence outcomes, we can’t truly control any outcome.
- Regardless of what happens, we can choose how we respond.
- Everything happens as it should, as evidenced by the fact that it did.
- More is rarely better.
We can simplify our lives by letting go, emptying our cups, and going with the flow. When we practice simplification, our calendars and our minds start to open. We come less worried, and create space for grace and inspiration.