Reflect, Revise, Remix your life!
March 25, 2021

How To Make Your Life As Simple As Possible...But Not Simpler

How To Make Your Life As Simple As Possible...But Not Simpler

Important ideas that fall under the category of Ethos before we move on.

 

1.    Simplicity. Einstein said (in effect), “Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” If you focus on the important things, then the important things will get done. Sometimes, you have to procrastinate on purpose. Brian Tracy speaks on this often – there are ALWAYS going to be things that you have to put aside to get the most important things done. And it’s your decision what gets done or not. 

 

In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey calls these important things “Quadrant 2” Activities. These are the things that are important, but not urgent. It might take a few hours to sit down and write out your goals, your mission in life – and that’s very important. But it’s not pressing on you. So the time usually gets eaten up with urgent but less important things. If we don’t grab a hold of this and take control and choose to focus on these important but not urgent activities, we may never write our goals down or get these ultra important things done. It is possible to live out your entire life without having accomplished a single goal. 

 

My life began to change when I started taking the time to SCHEDULE these important activities, making them a priority. Because even though they are not pressing, they really are the most important things to living a fulfilling life. 

 

2.    Relaxation/Relaxed effort. The old-school magician Dai Vernon and others have called this the economy of motion. Being mindful of what you are doing – physically or mentally, and using exactly the right amount of energy it takes to get the job done. Whether you’re correcting your children, arguing with your spouse, or closing the refrigerator door, there is an appropriate amount of energy necessary to expend to get the job done. 

 

Don’t underestimate this amount of energy, and not give enough. And don’t overestimate what it’s going to take, and overdo it. (Like slamming the cupboard door closed instead of simply closing it.)

 

The reason this idea is important to your ethos, is when you begin to practice this technique, things begin to get easier for you mentally and physically. There is only one art, the art of being human. This relaxed effort is seen in painting, boxing, playing music, baseball, dancing, and everywhere else. 

 

When a boxer punches at his opponent, it is controlled and focused. They don’t just ball up their fist and take the hardest swing they can – in fact, this is less effective when it’s done this way. The energy is not focused, balance can be thrown off. 

 

Balance is a delicate thing. 

 

When piano players play, they are not slamming down on the keys as hard as they can – it’s all about relaxing, tapping into gravity, and working on the technique required to product music that can be effect, that can actually change emotions. 

 

No matter what you do, you can relax and tap into the forces at work in the universe and take advantage of them – and it all begins with the economy of motion and expending the appropriate amount of energy for the task. 

 

3.    Solitude and Meditation. 

 

I’ve never been good at meditation. I’ve sat there bored, listening to music that I just don’t like, and trying to make myself feel like I’m doing something healthy. I did it for days, and it just caused me stress. 

 

Two things happened. I read the book Stillness is the Key, by Stoic writer and philosopher Ryan Holiday – and he said that he 

Transcript

SM014 How to make your life as simple as possible, but not simpler

 

Welcome to the Second Mix Podcast where we reflect, revise, and remix our lives. I am Matthew Bennett. I’m happy to be here today. 

 

We’ve been talking about the Cycles of Complexity, and what it takes to get through the difficult things in your life – I divided these attributes into Ethos, Intention, Efficacy, Agency, Adversity, and Elevation. 

 

The last few episodes have been about Ethos – your mindset mixed with your philosophy. This is the last episode on this before we move on. 

 

Other important ideas that fall under the category of Ethos before we move on:

 

1.    Simplicity. Einstein said (in effect), “Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” If you focus on the important things, then the important things will get done. Sometimes, you have to procrastinate on purpose. Brian Tracy speaks on this often – there are ALWAYS going to be things that you have to put aside to get the most important things done. And it’s your decision what gets done or not. 

 

In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey calls these important things “Quadrant 2” Activities. These are the things that are important, but not urgent. It might take a few hours to sit down and write out your goals, your mission in life – and that’s very important. But it’s not pressing on you. So the time usually gets eaten up with urgent but less important things. If we don’t grab a hold of this and take control and choose to focus on these important but not urgent activities, we may never write our goals down or get these ultra-important things done. It is possible to live out your entire life without having accomplished a single goal. 

 

My life began to change when I started taking the time to SCHEDULE these important activities, making them a priority. Because even though they are not pressing, they really are the most important things to living a fulfilling life. 

 

2.    Relaxation/Relaxed effort. The old-school magician Dai Vernon and others have called this the economy of motion. Being mindful of what you are doing – physically or mentally, and using exactly the right amount of energy it takes to get the job done. Whether you’re correcting your children, arguing with your spouse, or closing the refrigerator door, there is an appropriate amount of energy necessary to expend to get the job done. 

 

Don’t underestimate this amount of energy, and not give enough. And don’t overestimate what it’s going to take, and overdo it. (Like slamming the cupboard door closed instead of simply closing it.)

 

The reason this idea is important to your ethos is when you begin to practice this technique, things begin to get easier for you mentally and physically. There is only one art, the art of being human. This relaxed effort is seen in painting, boxing, playing music, baseball, dancing, and everywhere else. 

 

When a boxer punches at his opponent, it is controlled and focused. They don’t just ball up their fist and take the hardest swing they can – in fact, this is less effective when it’s done this way. The energy is not focused, balance can be thrown off. 

 

Balance is a delicate thing. 

 

When piano players play, they are not slamming down on the keys as hard as they can – it’s all about relaxing, tapping into gravity, and working on the technique required to produce music that can be effective, that can actually change emotions. 

 

No matter what you do, you can relax and tap into the forces at work in the universe and take advantage of them – and it all begins with the economy of motion and expending the appropriate amount of energy for the task. 

 

3.    Solitude and Meditation. 

 

I’ve never been good at meditation. I’ve sat there bored, listening to music that I just don’t like, and trying to make myself feel like I’m doing something healthy. I did it for days, and it just caused me stress. 

 

Two things happened. I read the book Stillness is the Key, by Stoic writer and philosopher Ryan Holiday – and he said that he doesn’t meditate, that he walks and hikes for his own meditation. It was a relief to hear, and I realized for myself that when I go on my hikes I am alone and thinking much of the time. So I decided that THIS was my meditation time. Now, on these walks and hikes, I listen to an audiobook for half of the hike, and then shut off the book for the other half and let my mind wander and go where it will. Relieving myself from the pressure of having to meditate has really freed me from a lot of stress. 

 

I also learned something entirely new a couple of months ago – I had 27 things to do, to get done. I was in a rush, bouncing from one thing to the next without really finishing anything. Things were hectic. In a flash of either laziness or brilliance, I walked away from the computer, sat down at my piano, and played for about 30 minutes. It took my mind to an entirely different place, and it cleared my head. When I went back to the computer, I was able to focus on one thing at a time and get it all done. That has become a new form of meditation for me – when I feel overwhelmed and stressed out, I play the piano and sing and forget about everything for a few minutes, and I think that what meditation is supposed to do anyway. 

 

So what takes you away from it all, even for a few minutes? Listening to music, walking, spending time with your kids or a pet? Reading? What does it for you? If you need to clear your head, keep your mind open for the things that make it happen for you, then take a break and do those things. 

 

Thanks for listening. You can grab the transcript on the blog at secondmix.net if you want to look these over again and extract everything that is useful to you. If you have any questions please email me at matt@secondmix.net, I would love to hear from you!

 

Please give me 5 stars whenever and wherever you can and subscribe to get the most up-to-date episodes. If you know anyone who might find this information useful or helpful, please join my mission and tell them about this show – I’ll be here every Monday and Thursday until the national debt is paid off. 

 

Take those steps that will make your week incredible.  I’ll be back on Thursday - until then keep reflecting, revising, and remixing your life. I’ll see you soon!