We overcomplicate our lives, relationships, goals, and to-do lists. We, as human beings, have a tendency to make things more difficult than they need to be.
Happiness is found in simplicity--so how do you simplify your life?
1. Get rid of what no longer serves you. When was the last time you really wore that shirt? Throw it away. When was the last time you really used that membership? Cancel it. When was the last time you really talked to that friend? Stop making promises to hang out. "Trim the fat," as they say, and only keep in your life what you really need.
2. Create clear expectations. Conflict arises in ambiguity. Mistakes occur in ambiguity. Disappointment lives in ambiguity. Frustration is bred in ambiguity. If you want to avoid all of those things, set crystal-clear expectations. The result, then, is far more objective (instead of subjective).
3. Scale vertically, not horizontally. When people think of growth, they tend to think horizontally, adding as many pieces to the puzzle as possible. But the more pieces you add, especially different types of pieces, the more difficult it becomes to switch your brain from one mode of thinking to the next. Too many different types of projects, or ambitions, or commitments, and you end up spinning your wheels. Instead, think depth. Think about diving deep, instead of spreading wide. Less becomes more.
4. Change your crowd. Financially, life becomes complicated when you try to live or associate far beyond your means. Too often, people want to "appear" successful or "appear" wealthy, and so they attempt to live a lifestyle they can't truly afford--and live on the edge because of it. But unless you are doing so with a very specific goal in mind, and seeing it as an investment ("I want to rub shoulders with the right people"), you are doing yourself a disservice.
5. Don't overbook your calendar. Is it smart to schedule back to back to back to back meetings? Probably not. I know what it's like to hustle, and if you have to do it, OK, get it done. But realize where the tipping point is and when that schedule is no longer the exception but the expectation. It's not healthy, and it's not sustainable. Make things simple: Create your schedule with downtime in mind.
6. Do not gossip. Ever. The fastest way to complicate your life is drama. Take the higher road.
7. Build the right daily habits. Whenever something "bad" happens, it's easy to look at the trigger event. But the real question is: What habits (carried out over a long period of time) built up to this? Make the easy day-to-day habits--what you eat, going to the gym, etc.--the standard so that you're not constantly in recovery mode. Be proactive instead.
8. Give, give, give, give some more, and then ask. The best things in life come as a result of what we have first offered ourselves. Things get complicated when we're constantly in "ask" mode. But when we give, things tend to reveal themselves exactly when they need to. Give, give, give, and all will fall into place.
9. Don't try to be everything, to everyone. And finally, one of the biggest sources of life stress for many is attempting to be what everyone needs, all the time. It's just not worth it. Be you. Focus on you. Do what you need to do, first. Express yourself. Stay true to yourself. And you will attract everything you need in life, naturally, like a magnet, and repel anything else.
It doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.