Nov 10, 2020

This article discusses the benefits of simplicity in life and some of the reasons simplicity can seem to be out of reach. Article will also go on to look at how knowing your personal values can create simplicity.

Simplicity can have a major impact on ......

Finances.. How much stuff have you paid good money for that is not bringing joy or meaning to your life ? How much are you paying to store this stuff ?  How much stuff do you own that you bought just for the thrill of buying it and as a symbol of status or success rather than a meaningful use ?

Health... What is the impact on stress, sleep, recreation time, fitness and diet of buying stuff that was a want, rather than a need.

Time...To what extent has shopping, and browsing for products used up a lot of free time. To what extent do you find yourself looking after and maintaining possessions. To what extent is that long commute to every day worth it just to have a lawn around your home. What else are you doing with your time that is an unnecessary complication ?

People...To what extent is your social network full of people who drain you and don't appreciate you versus those who energise and appreciate.

Activities... Looking at all your activities.. which are those that add meaning and belonging to your life and that those that are thankless, soulless and draining ?

Your living space... We are all on a continuum between being minimalists and hoarders.  Do you really need as much space as you currently have ... or do you need the space to keep your possessions . Do you secretly suspect that you might like to live in a tiny house ?

Free time... If you stopped buying and maintaining unneeded stuff, let go of unfulfilling activities, unappreciative and draining people and lived closer to work what might you do with all the extra free time and money ? This is the core issue for many of us !  This brings me to talk about values and decisions ...

When we are unclear about our values we can begin to attract all kinds of clutter into our life.  People who are clear about their values find living with simplicity much easier.

Mark has looked at his core values and has identified these 5

Adventure... Mark wants to experience many things in the next 10 years and that will involve a lot of travelling. In being clear on this value Mark sees no purpose in buying stuff that he doesn't need. His friends admire him for his steady focus on his adventurousness. They were less impressed  by the status symbols  that he bought before he was clear about his values.

Authenticity... Another of Mark's key values is authenticity. Because of this he no longer buys status symbols and he has let go of people in his life that are not authentic. This value has helped him have more time for his true friends and more money to pursue adventures in life and save for a home in the years ahead.

Friendships.... Mark has come to see friendship as a core value. He realised this after loosing touch with friends when he worked a 70hr week. With hindsight Mark looked back at his spending when working all those extra hours and the things that he bought. Label clothes, a late model car, watches. To belong to an authentic, adventurous group of friends or ... alternatively, buying more and more  things to impress, the choice was easy.

Financial Security....Mark went through a period of high credit card debt. He recalls the stress and the time it took to get on top of this debt. He resolved that he would never again get into this situation and now saves 15% of all earnings toward a home when he gets married.

Health...Mark learned that when he was workaholic and collecting status symbols he recalls only impressing people he didn't really like and feeling exhausted, stressed, lonely and overdoing alcohol and junk food. Mark realises his health is his most important asset of all and he consciously, on a daily basis, eats only enough food to fuel his adventurous lifestyle and has plenty of free time to exercise.

If you know your values and can name your values (no more than 5 is ideal), it is much easier to stay on track and to make those everyday decisions of what to buy, what to eat, who to hang out with and what to do with your spare time.

How do you know what your most import values are ?

Usually values become more obvious if we look at our peak experiences in life and also our darkest moments. Values are born at these times.

Maurice recalls being raised in a home where his parents had constantly in debt so one of his 5 core values is  financial security

Melissa recalls a peak experience of travelling on safari in Africa so a core value for her is adventurousness

Tom was scammed online and a core value for him now is discernment.

Values are a great guide to making decisions with less friction, more flow and simplicity is often a sign that you are on course to living your values.

Counselling can be very useful in exploring simplicity and values...

See my next article on the topic of Values which will be published here on Nov 16 2020.

Martin Fraser, B.A. (Hons) Psyc. Dip Counselling.

Particular interest in enhancing resilience in my community against Depression, Anxiety, Isolation and Addictions. Member of NZ Assoc Counsellors.

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