12 Steps To Simplify Today’s Life

I’m a sucker for these types of articles related to minimalist design, simplicity, and Japanese harmony. So when I came across the 7-page article The Secret To Happiness? Simplify. in Outside magazine, I just had to read it… And I liked it!

There’s something about keeping it simple and cleanliness that just relieves a degree of weight off my shoulders. So reading through the 12 steps, I judged myself against them, and here’s what I thought:

  1. Purge
    • I love how they started with this one, because it is the most important. To be uncluttered in mind, you must be physically uncluttered/weighed down. My favorite quote on this actually comes from the classic Walden Pond by Thoreau, where he likened a farm (or any worldly possession) to that of a “golden chain.”
    • This one has also really hit home since I bought my first home and was single for 2 years. I really just started purchasing stuff to “go with the home” and “fill the void.” Before then, I had a couple strict rules: 1) all your stuff needs to fit into your SUV so you can move anytime, and 2) if you have it already, don’t buy it unless you through the old one away.
  2. Put Down the Phone
    • I simply love the quote they used for this one: “You don’t need to tweet or post during your adventures unless you’re a sponsored athlete whose livelihood depends on it. I promise you that no one really cares….” – Dave Hahn
    • I joined instagram last year, and gave up checking facebook and dating apps. Not sure what’s better or worse. Point being, I started finding myself feeling the need to share digitally when I’m traveling. I guess it’s a good metric to determine if where I am is “sharing-worthy,” and if not having a good time, I should probably get out of there.
  3. Make It A Liquid Lunch
    • No idea why this is on the list, but I find it silly.
  4. Lighten Up
    • They also used a quote for this one, which I think is a contradiction to all the others in many ways, especially the one above. I would have labeled this more as a “focus on the present, the future will come” or something.
  5.  Choose A Uniform
    • Also agree with this one. Having studied the life of Steve Jobs and other driven individuals, and been stressed over my own wardrobe many times, I can’t stress the greatness of this rule.
    • For myself, I have 4 pairs of slacks and 6 (4 white and 2 blue). It takes me 5 minutes to pick what to wear and get dress each morning.
  6. Skimp On Gym Time
    • I consider going to the gym the same as running, but agree doing it indoors is boring as hell.
    • After pondering this problem for years, I found the solution to be indoor rock-climbing. Great upper body workout without lifting the weights (if that’s the body type you like).
  7. Bring It Back To Life
    • This one relates to Purge and Buy Less. But I think it has a larger meaning of not being a consumer of useless crap that is constantly polluting this world.
    • The downside here is “product performance” and “time/price-to-fix.” This is the framework I’m currently using to determine if I need new ski pants and ski boots. The answer is no. Just bought some Gear Aid Seam for the pants.
  8. Go It Alone
    • I do this one a bit too well and too often. My close friends are used to it, but those that don’t know me find it awkward and anti-social. So not sure if I completely agree with the article’s comment on “has become a lot more socially acceptable” part. Unless you can adequately talk about it without it being a “humble brag,” it’s not socially accepted. So I just don’t talk about it.
  9. Just Say No
    • I understand it, but I can’t really agree with it. I also believe it’s a function of time/age. When I was younger, I should have said “yes” more. Now that I’m older, I should be saying “no” more. Of course if you have FOMO, saying “no” is probably much harder.
  10. Buy Less, Live More
    • Also love the quote on this one: “The reason weekend warriors own so much gear is that it connects them with an activity without actually doing it all that often.” – Foster Huntington
  11. Don’t Get All Epic 
    • I’m a victim of this, but after a few trips to Peru, Cuba, Calgary, Whistler, Aspen, Jackson Hole, Utah, … and the list goes on, I really just want to head out to my background in Virginia and enjoy what’s nearby and grill a hotdog with my dog.
  12. Use Paper
    • I get the idea that writing on paper allows for more unrestricted thought, helps you focus without getting distracted, but I hate carrying around more stuff (like a notepad and pen). And more importantly, it’s not saved! So not sure if I absolutely agree here. But maybe the moral of the story here is you don’t need everything saved forever….
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