Why Life Isn’t Complicated, or Seven Ways to Simplify Your Day

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4. Accept the imperfections of others

Please let’s not expect all the people around us today (our friends, colleagues, bosses, parents, children) to be perfect. We all make mistakes and we can all learn from them.

I can almost hear your pleas right now. “But they might shout at us for no reason! They might have annoying traits that they inflict on us!”

I agree. And they might be unreasonable in lots of other ways too, but so what? Let them be! Either they’ll think about it later and regret it, in which case there was no point trying to deal with it, or they won’t regret it, and then there is no point trying to deal with it.

Once again, pick your battles. I’m not suggesting you become a doormat, but try thinking of your time and energy in the same way that you think about your money. Time and energy are finite commodities that you spend every day, and you shouldn’t spend them without thinking, you shouldn’t waste them on stuff that you don’t need. Let’s not lose lots of time criticising others or ourselves. The sooner we accept that we’re imperfect, the simpler our life will be.

Most complaints are about unfulfilled expectations. They start with the words: “I thought they were going to…”

Please don’t expect too much from others. Everybody responds differently to the same situation and, in addition, we never know what a specific person is going through at any given moment. Our expectations are really our problem; they are a crime that we commit against others. And the subsequent disappointment we experience when they are not met is the punishment that we get for our troubles.

Let’s remember that the more we judge other people, the more those feelings will bother us, the more we’ll compare ourselves to them, and the more complicated our life will become.

5. Stop thinking about whether the glass is half empty or half full

Complaining about everything bad that’s happening to us today seems like a good way to let off steam, and sometimes it does help, but only if the complaining comes to an end. What often happens though, is that by fanning the flames of our annoyance we can become even more negative. The more we think about a mistake or a problem, the more we help our negative feelings about it to grow. And sometimes even trying to cast it in a positive light is a waste of time too. In the end, it’s better to forget some events.

“Do you see the glass of water as half empty or half full?” Is one of those metaphors that neatly sums up whether you look at things in a negative or positive light. I’d like to extend it in this situation to suggest that by holding up that glass of water and examining it for so long, your arm will get tired. Sometimes it’s better to just breathe in the fresh air and leave events behind.

6. Use the x-years’ time test

If we continue to be stressed and anxious about something, let’s step back and ask ourselves a simple question: Will it still be important to us in one year’s time, in five years’ time, or in ten years’ time?

More often than not, the answer will be that it won’t be important to us any time soon at all! In which case, let’s stop dwelling on it and spend our energies on something that will matter in a few years.

7. Keep things tidy

We keep our homes tidy, so why shouldn’t we do the same for our minds? For example:

Don’t let mess in

Do you find yourself moaning every day about the number of leaflets being pushed through your mailbox? Then do something about it. Put a note on the mailbox that says, “No Junk Mail.” And how about a sign saying, “No Sales Callers,” too?

Tired of your home being a warehouse? Then it’s time to stop bringing things home that you don’t really need, and start throwing rubbish away.

Is your home filling up with unnecessary purchases? Then it’s time to shop more carefully. From now on, only buy the things that you truly need. And if your head is getting cluttered with thoughts that bother you, you can do the same thing there, too! Whatever time of year it is, you can Spring clean your house, and Spring clean all the ideas that only serve to clutter up your mind.

Make your bed first thing in the morning

“You’ve made your bed so you lie in it,” or so people say, so make sure you start every day with a made bed and a mind that’s made up too. The feeling that you create in the morning can pre-determine the whole of your day, so set your thoughts straight before you venture out. Be ready to let the stuff that doesn’t matter slide over you, so you can pay attention to what counts.

Look after your mental hygiene as well as the physical, and your mind and body will look after you.

© Petr Casanova