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How to Live a Simple Life

Once you read the following suggestions on how to live a simpler life, you may decide you don't want to. Some people really want the complexity and constant drama of their lives. It is something we have to look at honestly. On the other hand, some of us really want more simplicity, and some would want it if they knew what it felt like to live more simply and at peace. Here, then, are a few ways to get there.

Just Say No ... Or Yes

The first secret to how to live a simple life is to look honestly at how life gets complicated. It is different for each of us, but there are some common principles. The first one is about taking on new responsibilities without fully acknowledging the costs and complexities they add to our lives.

If you buy a new boat, for example, do you think about the time you will spend maintaining it? Do you think about the trip to the insurance office for insurance, the necessity to shop for accessories like life-jackets and fire extinguishers? Do you remind yourself that boats break down, and you'll have to deal with hauling it someplace to have it repaired? Do you consider the trailer-hitch you'll need, the tarp to cover the boat, the tarp to replace that one when it tears, the bearings in the trailer wheels that will someday fail. Finally, do you think about the hours you will be committed to working to pay for all this fun?

There is nothing wrong with owning a boat, by the way. If nothing else was going on in your life, all of the above could easily be a part of "the simple life." The problem is that by not recognizing the role of our own choices in adding complexity to our lives, we take on more than we can possibly handle. Thus, a million exercise machines sit unused in basements while ten million hours are spent working to pay for them. Look at all the costs, and make honest, well-informed choices - that is the first secret of how to live a simple life.

Money Equals Simplicity

It is simple for a rich man to own a boat, because he can pay someone to take care of it while he plays with his kids (or does whatever else he considers important). Money can bring that kind of simplicity to your life, but it is all in how you use it. This is the second secret of how to live a simple life.

Most people use money in ways that overly complicate life, as when they put a down payment on a hot tub that they really don't need. They have to work to pay the interest now, and to clean the tub, and to find or build or prepare a place for it, and to have it repaired on occasion. Now, if you are wealthy enough, someone will take care of these things for you. If, however, you make $10 per hour, a hot tub will alost certainly overly complicate your life.

Your choice, then, if you really want the simple life, is to choose to make more money, or to live a life that is simply supported by your current income. When I paid off the mortgage loan on my first home, and got rid of the car, life was simpler and more relaxing. As I make more money, I can easily do more, and add more "things" back into my life, but I try to maintain the balance, so life remains simple.

Drama Gets Complex

If you want a simpler life, have fewer friends. That may sound harsh, but how many friends do you need? This isn't a recommendation to get rid of friends, but a suggestion that you don't need to add people to your life unless there is a real exchange of value between you. We all have acquaintances that we call "friends" and tolerate just to "be nice." If you think it is selfish to say you don't owe anything to these people, how selfish is it for them to say you do?

With those friends and family that you choose to have, don't get involved in the drama more than you need to. If you watch closely, you'll notice that until a person is ready to change, you rarely can help them in any case, neither with words nor with money. Save your efforts for those times when you truly can help.

You were not born with an obligation to anyone, and it is incredibly selfish for anyone to make claims on your life. The drama will always swirl around you, but you can choose to not get involved in it too much. This is a crucial lesson on how to live a much simpler life.


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Live a Simple Life

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