7 quick ways to embrace delightful simplicity

Distraction-free simplicity can add joy

A marvelous article Boiling down to the essentials has been the greatest gift by Czarina Aggabao Thelen shares how keeping things simple have increased her joy, delight and gratitude.

As musicians juggling multiple poles with spinning plates on them, we can often be blinded by our busyness and not see how to make life simple, even if we hanker for it. I felt compelled to share my own experience in the blog post’s comments.

So why should and how can musicians stuck with “First World” expectations keep things simple?

Wall Storage Tidy Simplicity

Keeping life simple means:

  1. Less worry about being on time.
  2. More opportunities to notice the things that make us smile.
  3. Less time wasted searching for things, or tidying up.
  4. More inner peace and better performance (teaching, performing, work in general).
  5. Less concern about what others think of us.
  6. More laughter, joy and respect.
  7. Less needless decisions to make.

What are some of the quickest steps you can take to enjoy these benefits?

  1. Add all your tasks as well as appointments to your central family calendar. Avoid booking sessions back to back but include a few minutes, an hour, or more, between appointments
  2. Remove clutter from your work space or living room, and turn at least one chair to face outside. Or better yet, find a space you can visit every day that is outside with a view of blue and green (grass, trees, water, sky)
  3. Do you really need 12 towels? For a couple, 4 will do nicely: one each in use whilst the other is in the wash. Avoid shoving things in closets, but keep them handy and quickly accessible
  4. Deliberately choose to focus on the matter at hand and disregard thoughts about unrelated things that distract from what you are doing. As a musician, the things that cross my mind as I am actively involved in the art of making music have included:
    • Where shall we go for dinner after this session?
    • When will I be able to schedule my car for servicing?
    • Is my shirt tucked in or did it pull out?
    • I need to lose more weight. Maybe I should not go out to eat after this session.
    • Do William and Kate know how to cook for themselves?
  5. Choose to be you, do things in a manner that brings out the best from you (within any rules or boundaries set by your employer and society!), and ignore ALL feedback – especially anything negative. If looking trendy and ‘out there’ makes you confident, go ahead and dress your own way. If you are convinced that the way you look does not contribute to your self-esteem (which it always does, by the way), then don’t brush your hair and wear the same style or color of clothing each day.
  6. In the late 20th Century the Western World started fixating on Feelings. Our feelings (as opposed to instincts) are perhaps the most disruptive, damaging and unreliable foundation on which to build any lifestyle. Right now, you can begin to increase your joy and happiness by making everything a simple choice. Once you have a habit of responding to EVERY decision with one of these simple choices, your life contentment will improve dramatically:
    • Yes or no,
    • Do or don’t do,
    • Be thankful or do not be thankful.
  7. Setup your life so that you need to make fewer decisions when you can be concentrating on something else. For example, I get up at 5:30 every weekday morning to compose. A couple of hours later when that session is complete I must get ready for the rest of the day, and now that I am active, pumped and working at full-throttle, I do not want to waste time or energy making ‘silly’ little decisions. The night before was when I decided what I am going to wear today (sometimes I even lay out the clothes – a common trick I was reminded about a couple of years ago by Michael Hyatt) as well as what I am going to have for breakfast. In my experience, making these decisions at the time of implementation wastes significant time and energy – they are ‘needless decisions’ that can be dealt with ahead of time, and doing so keeps life very simple.

Now it is your turn: I would love to hear from you.

Have you learned anything new today about keeping life simple?

What ideas do you find inspiring, or what do you already do to maintain a simple #LifeBalance? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and let me know.

Remember, do your best to share as much detail as you can because hundreds of incredible souls passionate about live music just like you visit my website each week for insight and inspiration. Your experience may be exactly what someone else needs to breakthrough their own challenges today.

Thank you for reading and sharing with such enthusiasm! You are undeniably a perfect example of how engaging and supportive we can be online.

 

Photo: “Towels, Dresser, Cupboard” by Martin Vorel is licensed under CC0

 

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  • Blair Kunkel

    This was a really great article Stephen! As a working musician myself, a lot of your points really spoke to me! I struggle with MANY of the things you mentioned above about keeping life simple. To be honest, I don’t even know if I could function if I did things more simple. I would LOVE to try but with my work, my music, my life, and everything else coming at me nonstop I have become used to a hectic schedule to where now it is almost comfortable. LOL

    But when I do have “down time” I like to relax and take things a little easier. It is always a good chance for me to pick up my guitar and work on some new music and songs. That always makes me feel like I have a better #lifebalance especially when I feel accomplished with something new that I have learned.

    Thank you for all your articles Stephen! I really love them all! You always have motivating and inspiring stories for us and I always look forward to your next one! Keep on keeping on! 😉

    • Thank you, Blair! It can certainly be very difficult to let go of what we have gotten used to, and it is possible we have forgotten what #simplicity is like! I do hope you get to play and write new songs a little more often – sounds like fun as well as therapeutic!

  • Stephen, thanks for referencing my article and I’m so glad to keep the conversation going! Great idea to break down this topic of delightful simplicity for musicians.

    One thing that’s helped me in “boiling down to the essentials” is to really enjoy the heck out
    of the things I have now. I’ve noticed that I would keep old stuff around in order to save my favorite pieces for a “special day.” But that “special day” is now! When I really *enjoy* what I currently have, I feel less need to seek out “filler” activities and material objects. Have you noticed that?

    • Enjoying what we have. Interestingly, it seems the chase of a goal consumes us so much that when it is achieved or we now have possession of what we set out to get, we forget why we were chasing it in the first place! Gratitude and enjoyment are both essential #lifebalance choices we need to make deliberately. Thanks for writing!

  • I recently discovered no 3 and minimalising the stuff I own and clutters my workspace has been one of the best things I ever did! Having less stuff has made many other tasks much easier and quicker such as finding things, tidying up etc. I totally recommend everybody looks at culling their possessions!

    • That is wonderful! Thanks for the recommendation – I agree wholeheartedly!