The other day I was delivering a workshop called Fund Your Freedom. It was about how to save one year of your current living expenses.
The purpose was to help people create a safety net to support them when they decide to launch their dream business or quit a job they hate to pursue their passion.
One of the saving methods that I shared with the participants was simplifying. When you have less needs, you have more financial independence and freedom.
So, I divided the participants into groups and asked each group to brainstorm ideas to simplify their lives and save more money.
At the end of the exercise, each group had a long list of things they should do to simplify their lives.
When they started to explain their ideas, I was shocked!
They listed many items to get rid of even though they truly enjoyed or needed them. It was just because of their running costs, and hence their savings potential.
For example, they recommended to stop hanging out with friends, unless there was a clear benefit. Another thing was to stop using the car A/C to save fuel (NOTE: Egypt is a HOT country in summer).
At that point, I realized how much they misunderstood the true meaning of simplicity.
When my time came to reflect and recap what they shared, I paused for a while to capture their attention, then I said, “Simple living is not an act of sacrifice. It is an act of intentional retention.”
You don’t have to get rid of things that you love, use or need. You just have to be intentional about what you keep. Retain what is joyful and get rid of what is not. Be aware of what fills your life. Fill it with what brings you joy and empty it from what brings you stress.
Joy is the heart of simplicity.
Simplicity is all about getting rid of clutter and distractions that hinder you from focusing on what truly matters.
When you make decluttering your primary focus, you enter the sacrifice mode and feel bad about what you do.
On the other hand, when you have a passionate goal and make ‘enjoying life more’ your primary focus, you feel great about your efforts, you’ve a sense of purpose and meaning, and you will get addicted to simple living.
Do you have a clear purpose in life?
Do you know what your dominant passion is?
Do you know what truly matters to you?
Do you know what makes you happy?
If you don’t, hold your decluttering and simplifying activities until you find the answer. Otherwise, you’ll quickly lose motivation and one day you will wonder, “Why am I doing this and what is next?!”
“Simple living is not an act of sacrifice. It is an act of intentional retention.”
That’s retaining what matters most, and eliminating the rest.
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