Blog Archives

The value of living simply

“Live simply, that others may simply live.”

Temple in India

Temple in Manikaran, India

Ever wonder why most of the earth’s greatest teachers lived very simple lives ?   

                 Time.    More time.

If you live simply there is more time to spend on everything, such as:

contemplation, recreation, health, education, family, appreciation, writing, teaching, creating, and rest.

For everything we own or posess physically or mentally, some time must be spent attending to it, fixing it, protecting it, worrying about it, and of course, paying for it, and finally, discarding it.

There’s nothing wrong with having abundant property.   It’s a practical matter.   We should know what the true cost of possessions is, and determine if it’s worth it.     How much stuff do we really need to be content and function efficiently in our work ?      At what point does owning things become more a burden than it’s worth ?

Many wise people figured this out a long time ago.    Live simply, efficiently, thoughtfully.    You’ll enjoy your life much more that way.

“Yeah, but modern life isn’t like that, I gotta have a lot of stuff”

         To some extent that’s true, but there are many options:

         For example, one can often rent or borrow things they like to use, but use rarely.   Instead, in our culture everyone has the same tool or object in their house or garage, gathering dust.   For example, a lawnmower.   Used once a week or so, for a couple of hours.    Cost:   Buy, store, maintain, repair, clean, and eventually discard.  

        Okay, so maybe we need a good lawnmower.   But what about all that other stuff we have that we haven’t used in 3 years, stuff we have totally forgotten about that were once so special we bought them  ?

        Another example;  many people dream of owning a boat.    Then they get one and it costs so much time and effort to use it, store it, insure it, that after a few exciting uses it sits in the garage or yard, eventually to be sold to another dreamer.   A larger family can buy a boat or camper, and they all share it’s use and cost.     In Aviation, collective ownership of an expensive aircraft is common.   Why not apply the principle to other things, like riding mowers, beach homes, cabins, vacation properties, etc.

       If you’ve never done so, spend a few hours at a local landfill transfer station and watch what people throw away these days.   It will amaze you.   I had a friend who used to sell stuff on Ebay that he got for free at the local dump.   He found an item once that he sold for 4,000 dollars.    He made many thousands per year just doing that.

      The fact that there’s a huge industry devoted to getting rid of the stuff we no longer want should tell us something about ourselves as a culture. 

      If you need some cash quickly, take a good look around your house or neighborhood.    You can find something to sell on Ebay for a “buy it now” price.     Or, go to your town dump on a Saturday morning, especially in the springtime, and you could make hundreds of dollars a week extra, working from home.

In business, simplicity is also very valuable.

       For example, many start-up companies buy a whole bunch of junk they don’t need, like luxury furniture, or top of the line, new equipment, or they rent a big office.   That can cause problems.   Young businesses in particular need to keep it simple.

       Get what you really need, and use it well.   When the cash starts coming in, think carefully about where the money goes.    Do you really need a new computer, car, office ?

Give away things and time

      One of the most powerful assets successful businesses have is goodwill.  It’s impossible to measure but it can sustain a business for a very long time.   If as a person, and in your business, you give generously and sincerely, the goodwill you create is magnetic to customers and other associates.    Trust.    To get it, give.

     In an era of highway robbery, false claims, shot-gun style advertising, people stand out clearly when they pause, listen, and respond to their customers, suppliers, and employees.     Be different, be real.

Living PIctures network photo resources and services. 
Entertainment, education, stock photos.
Camera reviews, humor, travel, more.  Many links, tips