A Forgotten Art

Our Weary Lifestyle

Our culture has been whispering to us since we could listen: more is better. Be more, do more, have more. It’s not a want, it’s a need. More. More. More. When we look at it written out like that, we all know it’s wrong. You don’t need more. You are enough. Having more stuff, more busyness, more power and prestige: these do not increase your worth as a human being. As we turn away from that “more is all” message, we want to be intentional about what we replace it with. It feels good to reject the cultural imperative to accumulate. It feels good to refute the status quo. It feels like the opposite of mindless consumption.
But designing a simple life doesn’t just mean throwing out all the things. It’s not about a life of most, it’s not about a life of least, it’s about the life that’s right for you. You don’t have to get rid of things just for the sake of getting rid of them. You remove what you don’t need (in your home, in your thoughts, in your schedule) to make room for the life you want to live. Designing a simple life means having fewer distractions in your life, so you can focus on what matters. It’s about saying no to everything that gets in the way, but saying yes to what’s right for you. It means having more of some things: more time, more energy, more space, more flex in your budget, more peace of mind. It means having less of others: less distractions, less frustration, less clutter, less drain on your resources.

What’s Simplicity About?

Beauty is simple. It is subtle and seamless. It is tender and kind.
Simplicity is the basis of beauty. Anything that is simple yet exquisite catches the attention and makes us exclaim ‘wow!’
All the expressions that make us feel the meanings behind them are simple and that is what makes them totally beautiful. No phrase or sentence can replace a genuine sorry, a heartfelt thank you or a emotion ‘I love you’ spirit.
A clutter-free, plainly organized house is more beautiful than a house that is stuffed with ostentatious items. A well written, concise, easy to understand essay in simple language easily wins over the one that is verbose and laden with high vocab, redundant phrases. A simple, plain, pretty face looks more adorable than the one with layers of colors and excessive make-up.
Simplicity is not only about having few possessions.  Simplicity is also structural and internal.  A lot of writers address the structural state – how to simplify your house, your office, your schedule.  Other writers go for the internal – how to meditate, clear your mind, live in the moment etc. We shall discuss both below.

Simple Living vs Minimalism

So what’s the difference between simple living and minimalism? On the surface I believe there is a noticeable difference between the two topics regardless of who writes about either of them. From my interpretation — minimalism is a catchall phrase for people who are most attracted to paring down to the minimal in their life. Words and phrases frequently used by most minimalists are de-cluttering, getting rid of stuff, anti-consumerism, austerity, rules about the best way to do it, quantifying what qualifies, eliminating as much as possible etc. The one word that comes to mind when talking minimalism is “discipline.” Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with any of those terms whatsoever, just that a focus on them individually doesn’t make me passionate about jumping on the bandwagon.

On the other hand, simple living embraces life more gently, slowly and internally in every way. Those who seem most attracted to simple living want to integrate it in every area of their lives. Instead of focusing on eliminating, austerity, lists and de-clutter, those into simple living make a habit of identifying the things that add the most value and joy to their lives and letting the rest go. Words and phrases more commonly used by those into simplicity are: freedom to be yourself, natural, living intentionally with authenticity, caring for the environment, sustainability, balanced living, self-sufficiency, slow food movement, etc. The one word I think best describes simple living is “contentment.” Again, none of these phrases are better than any others. What they do offer is a more holistic view and approach to life.

Actually, I happen to believe minimalism and simple living are two sides of the same coin. Just like the yin and yang found in Taoism, they compliment and strengthen each other by blending the external with the internal. As two parts of a whole, the concepts of minimalism and simple living are constantly evolving and changing as the need arises. Taken alone, they are never as powerful or effective as when connected.
I believe the discipline of minimalism and the contentment of simple living evolve into an interconnected whole. When we recognize that sincere efforts to de-clutter and reduce debt eventually lead to a sweet satisfaction about things that truly matter, we are living the best of both simple living and minimalism. And in so many ways that is exactly what smart living is all about. You need both concepts in your life.

Minimalism is about doing more with less , Detachment of your connection from the materialistic objects, You choose to create a more simple Home, Wardrobe, Workplace and Lifestyle in general

Simple living is about choosing to do less while more options are available, You choose to make your speech more simple and to the point. You choose to have a more simple and healthy nutritional food. You choose to devote part of your time for mediation during the day to clear your mind and so on.

How to live a minimalist life?

1:Choose quality over quantity. Declutter !

The juicer, cutting knife, running shoes, winter coat, purse and lipstick (among many other things) were condensed down to one quality purchase per category. Less stuff, but stuff that will last.
Discard the duplicates. Walk through your home with a box and fill it with duplicates. If you have two sets of measuring cups, put them in the box. Copies of the same book or DVD? Put one in the box. Doubles on place mat sets? You only need one. Once you fill the box, label it “Duplicates” and put it out of sight for 30 days. If you don’t need anything or don’t remember what was in the box, donate it. Give things away to people who need them more than you.

2: Travel lightly. Travel always renews my love of minimalism and living simply. The next time you take a trip, pack for 1/2 the time. If you are traveling for 4 days, pack for 2. You can wash and hang clothes if you need to or wear the same things twice. See how it feels to carry less baggage.

3:Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids?

Ten-year-olds have £7,000 worth of toys but play with just £330 according to a telegraph newspaper article. The study of 3,000 parents also revealed one in two parents admit ‘wasting hundreds of pounds’ on toys their children never play with. Toys are not merely playthings. Toys form the building blocks for our child’s future. They teach our children about the world and about themselves. They send messages and communicate values. And thus, wise parents think about what foundation is being laid by the toys that are given to their kids. Too often, we fall into the line of thinking that says more is better… and so do our kids. We begin to purchase and collect far too many toys for our children. As a result, our children have no need to learn how to be creative, helpful, careful, or sharing. In that regard, fewer toys may benefit your kids in numerous ways. Although you may want to consult your children before you relocate their unused toys, there’s a pretty good chance that after only a few weeks the old, unused toys will be forgotten (except by whomever used to pick them all up).
They understand that fewer toys will actually benefit their children in the long-term and here are some benefits of doing so:

1. Kids learn to be more creative. Too many toys prevent kids from fully developing their gift of imagination

2.Kids develop longer attention spans. When too many toys are introduced into a child’s life, their attention span will begin to suffer.
Kids establish better social skills. Children with fewer toys learn how to develop interpersonal relationships with other kids and adults. 

3.Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art.Fewer toys allows your children to love books, music, coloring, and painting

4.Kids become less selfish. Kids who get everything they want believe they can have everything they want. This attitude will quickly lead to an unhealthy (and unbecoming) lifestyle.

5.Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. If you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over an entire home. Fewer toys results in a less-cluttered, cleaner, healthier home.

How to live simply?

Getting to simplicity isn’t always a simple process. It’s a journey, not a destination, and it can often be a journey of two steps forward, and one backward.

Let us seek to cultivate this simplicity in all things in our life. The first step toward simplicity is ” simplifying.” The beginning of mental or moral progress or reform is always renunciation or sacrifice. It is rejection, surrender or destruction of separate phases of habit or life that have kept us from higher things. Reform your diet and you simplify it; make your speech truer and higher and you simplify it; reform your morals and you begin to cut off your immorals. The secret of all true greatness is simplicity. Make simplicity the keynote of your life and you will be great, no matter though your life be humble and your influence seem but little. Simple habits, simple manners, simple needs, simple words, simple faiths,—all are the pure manifestations of a mind and heart of simplicity. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It’s directly related to simplicity.

1:Limit your media consumption. This tip won’t be for everyone, so if media consumption is important to you, please skip it (as with any of the other tips). However, I believe that the media in our lives — TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. — can come to dominate our lives. Don’t let it. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it.

2:Limit your buying habits. If you are a slave to materialism and consumerism, there are ways to escape it. I was there, and although I haven’t escaped these things entirely, I feel much freer of it all. If you can escape materialism, you can get into the habit of buying less. And that will mean less stuff, less spending, less freneticism

3:Be present. These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity.

4:Spend time alone. See this list of ways to free up time for yourself — to spend in solitude. Alone time is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. It sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s extremely calming. And this quiet is necessary for finding out what’s important to you. Try to mediate as it is the best method to heal the soul.

5:Learn what “enough” is. Our materialistic society today is about getting more and more, with no end in sight. Sure, you can get the latest gadget, and more clothes and shoes. More stuff. But when will you have enough? Most people don’t know, and thus they keep buying more. It’s a neverending cycle. Get off the cycle by figuring out how much is enough. And then stop when you get there. Practice contentment!

6:Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … you get the idea. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long term.

7:Exercise. This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life in the long run, but it goes even further: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better. It’s great.

Fight club and the Simple Life

Fight Club is not a film about fighting: it’s a narrative about life, and it’s about ridding ourselves of the corporate and cultural influences (or perhaps the confluence of the two) that control our lives. There is a reason why it is ranked number ten in IMDB top 250 movies till today.
Following are some of our favorite quotes from the film.

1:The things you own end up owning you.

2:It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

3:Reject the basic assumptions of civilization—especially the importance of material possessions.

Another concept from the movie (another concept that I love) is Minimalism. Minimalism is the idea that more is really less. That we don’t need a lot of “stuff” to lead a meaningful existence and, in fact, the more stuff that we have the more meaningless our life actually becomes. I love the idea of minimalism — cutting the fat — and it is a huge aspect of Fight Club. At one point the lead character, Tyler Durden, says, “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fuc*ing khakis.”
And it is so incredibly true. Too many people define themselves by their possessions. It is an injustice to your soul to define yourself by a material object. Over the past year, I’ve grown to generally dislike excessive material possessions. Yes, I love to surround myself with beautiful things; however I think that our primary acquisitions should exist imprinted on our hearts & souls alone. These things can not be held in the hands. Therefore, I have begun the process of purging my possessions down to a minimum — selling clothing & jewelry, donating what’s left over, and throwing out the trash. Your life will be more simple if you did so. Learn from Tyler Durden a thing or two!

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

This is referred as a Leonardo da Vinci quote but he never appears to have written anything like this. Interestingly, the first time this quote was attributed to Leonardo was in a Campari ad from 2000!
the origins of the phrase appear to be from 1931, written in a play by Clare Booth Luce, who wrote: “the height of sophistication is simplicity.”
In 1955, critic William Gaddis wrote a variation of the phrase
“simplicity is the ultimate sophistication today.”
I couldn’t find it in the Leonardo Da Vinci notebook, but looks like Da Vinci has used the word “simple” so many times, around 56 times in this notebooks at least. So he regarded the concept of Simplicity highly

What Is It With Mona Lisa’s Smile? It’s You!

For nearly 500 years, people have been gazing at Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of the Mona Lisa with a sense of bafflement. First she is smiling. Then the smile fades. A moment later the smile returns only to disappear again. What is with this lady’s face? How did the great painter capture such a mysterious expression and why haven’t other artists copied it?
But now, according to Dr. Margaret Livingstone, a Harvard neuroscientist, there is another, more concrete explanation. Mona Lisa’s smile comes and goes, she says, because of how the human visual system is designed, not because the expression is ambiguous.
In staring at the picture, Dr. Livingstone said she noticed a kind of flickering quality. ”But it wasn’t until later when I was riding my bike home that I realized what it was,” she said. ”The smile came and went as a function of where my eyes were.” A scientific explanation for the elusive smile was suddenly clear. The human eye has two distinct regions for seeing the world, Dr. Livingstone said. A central area, called the fovea, is where people see colors, read fine print, pick out details. The peripheral area, surrounding the fovea, is where people see black and white, motion and shadows.
When people look at a face, their eyes spend most of the time focused on the other person’s eyes, Dr. Livingstone said. Thus when a person’s center of gaze is on Mona Lisa’s eyes, his less accurate peripheral vision is on her mouth. And because peripheral vision is not interested in detail, it readily picks up shadows from Mona Lisa’s cheekbones.
So whether Leonardo da Vinci said this quote or not, He demonstrated it by creating a painting that so simple yet so complicated at the same time.

How Nature’s Complexity is Simple, And Nature’s Simplicity is Complex?

take a quick Look at a tree for example , You will find branches of wood and root In the soil , And fruits on it, But when your observation is more in depth you shall get to know photosynthesis and how it really works and so on. The complexity of the Mandelbrot set is not fully manifested in the imagery created from it.  It fools one this way, really, because the full complexity of it comes from the fact that the entire thing is created from a very simple process.  What lies hidden by that process is a far greater mystery not at all explained by the seductively regular and tangible geometric patterns that emerge from it.  What is hidden is, how does that simple process produce such lucid, ordered geometry?  What is the actual mechanism?  In what space, in what place does that Geometry exist? The beautiful created forms of the Mandelbrot set are nowhere discernible in the process that creates the imagery with which we conceptualize it. And yet, they emerge in all their glory directly from that simple process.  Much as the most startlingly beautiful flowers, of intricate form and color, emerge from a tiny, simple seed.
So how is it simple yet complicated. The answer lies simply in your observation and the more you know!

Simplicity is an Effective Marketing Approach

What’s the key to building a better brand experience? Simplicity.

In our new 2015 Global Brand Simplicity Index, Siegel+Gale has endeavored to help everyone understand just how important simplicity can be for a brand. What do we mean by simple?
Easy to understand
Transparent and honest
Making customers feel valued
Innovative and fresh
Useful
In numbers, the benefits of simplicity are crystal clear:

214% – percentage that a portfolio of the world’s simplest brands has beaten the average global stock index since 2009
69% – percentage of consumers who are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications
63% – percentage of consumers willing to pay more for simpler experiences

The ranking of Worldwide companies is below

1:ALDI: Discount supermarket chain Aldi once again takes the top spot in the Global Brand Simplicity Index. Its formula for success? Uncomplicated offers, low prices, high quality products and great customer service. Consumers also appreciate the transparent price comparisons to competitors, which provide confidence that they’re getting the best deal.

2: Google “Perfect functionality” summarizes the chorus of respondents’ praise for Google’s sleek interface and its ability to cut through nearly infinite amounts of information. It appears that the search engine’s quest for simplicity isn’t stopping at the product level: the creation of a new parent company Alphabet demonstrates the brand’s commitment to clarifying the role and relationship of each of its unique services. Simplicity can scale.

Of course, delivering truly simple brand experiences isn’t easy. It requires leadership that knows how to stay focused on the customer, and how to be selective about the initiatives will make the deepest impact on them.

Simplicity in Judaism

Jewish tradition has long taught that money does not buy happiness, as expressed in the classic aphorism by Ben Zoma: “Who is rich? The one content with his/her portion.” In Pirke Avot (Sayings of the Fathers), Rabbi Hillel declared, “The more possessions, the more worry.” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’sThe Sabbath remains a classic text on the sacredness of time and space. In the Middle Ages, sumptuary laws limited excess in dress, food and festivities to “decrease competitive ostentation.” The modern-day kibbutz movement was founded on simple living and anti-materialism.

Simplicity in Christianity

 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21, For thousands of years humans have recognized the virtues of simplicity.  Think about it, Jesus was preaching the virtues of simplicity to audiences of people, many of whom were probably fishermen, shepherds and the like.  How complicated could their lives have been?  How much simpler did they want to be?  What exactly did simplicity mean to them?

Simplicity in islam

Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition to increase wealth and children. [In reality, it is] like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the disbelievers. When it dries and you see it turn yellow, and then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion?” (Surah al-Hadeed:20)

SubhanAllah. “And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion?” Take a moment to reflect on what Allah is telling us. This life is merely amusement and a diversion. It should be of no value to us, except in as much as it is as path to the Hereafter.

On the authority of Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took hold of my shoulder and said, ‘Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a traveller along the path.” And ibn Umar would say, “If you survive till late afternoon, do not expect [to be alive in] the morning. If you survive till morning, do not expect [to be alive in] the late afternoon. Take from your health before your sickness and your life before you death.” (Recorded in al-Bukhari) So a Muslim lives this life like a stranger travelling – One when he or she travels takes only what necessary on the trip – This teachs us to Not get emotionally attached to objects and to live this life like you are in a motel waiting to go home which is paradise hopefully .

The Prophet’s Simplicity

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a very simple person and spent all his life in simplicity. He was very unceremonious and informal in his habits. He ate whatever he was given, wore very thick and coarse cloth, even when he was the ruler of a state and undisputed leader of the people. He sat on the floor, bare ground or a mat without any hesitation, alone or in the company of other people. He ate bread made from coarse flour and even spent days on mere dates. He wore simple clothes and did not like display or show. He was by nature simple and liked simplicity and informality in everything. 

Striking the balance between simplicity and complexity

A widely used approach in science relevant to this discussion is Occam’s razor. It basically says that out of two otherwise equal theories, the simpler one is preferable as it introduces fewer new assumptions and adds less complexity. This does not mean, though, that the simplest theory is always best, because it may be insufficient. So, an elegant theory in my view in science and mathematics is one that sufficiently meets the researcher’s needs, while adding as little extra complexity as possible. And that’s the genius part being simple enough and at the same time a complete sufficient solution. This is exactly why making simple things is harder than making complex things. It requires you to master the context (your own, the user’s, and everything inbetween) and be in a position to ask and answer hard questions (what IS truly important?) and have guts to edit out everything that isn’t. One important aspect binding design and writing is language. Simple, short language is good design because it is easy to parse and understand, and reduces ambiguity, and it’s more probable that people actually read and understand it.

Conclusion

Truth be told, life is actually pretty simple, but we often insist on making it complicated, Figure Out What Matters, This is the core of the whole enterprise. In one sense, it’s easy: What matters to you is what matters to you; what you want is what you want. Simple living isn’t about wanting other stuff, and it certainly isn’t about wanting less. It’s about finding the essential core and focusing there. Because simple living is really simple. There’s really just one idea: Prioritize the few things that really matter, and put aside everything else. Today’s world has many luxuries that are supposed to make life easier. At times they may, but other times, they make things more complicated. The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions.
Living simply will improve your lifestyle, your business growth and will have a positive impact on your peace of mind, It will help you break an unhealthy attachment to objects , It would save you from being in debt by not buying stuff you don’t really need, It’s a forgotten art that you should relearn !

References

http://www.womanatics.com/2011/11/beauty-lies-in-simplicity.html

Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8074156/Ten-year-olds-have-7000-worth-of-toys-but-play-with-just-330.html

How to Design a Simple Life

843 Ways to Lead a Simple Life

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-gottberg/simple-living-vs-minimali_b_6413670.html
http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/04/10/manvotional-the-greatness-of-simplicity/
How Nature’s Complexity is Simple, And Nature’s Simplicity is Complex
https://www.quora.com/Is-simple-always-better
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-being-simple-margaret-molloy
http://simplicityindex.com

Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life

http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply

7 Ways to Live a Simpler Life in a Modern World

7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist

Fight Club’s Tyler Durden Is a Minimalist

http://livelovesimple.com/fight-club-can-change-your-life/

10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home

https://www.quora.com/Where-did-da-Vinci-originally-write-“Simplicity-is-the-ultimate-sophistication”
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/5000/pg5000.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/21/science/what-is-it-with-mona-lisa-s-smile-it-s-you.html
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%206:19-22
http://islamstory.com/en/node/27517

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