“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Clare Boothe Luce
My story sessions with Grand daughter is a constant reminder of all things that I might have forgotten. It’s like revising the lessons that my parents taught me but then in the hustle of life I forgot. Here’s one of the stories I read to her recently.
Once upon a time there was a shepherd boy tending a few straggling sheep on the side of a mountain. One day as he cared for his sheep he saw at his feet a beautiful flower – one that was more beautiful than any he had ever seen in his life. He knelt down upon his knees and scooped the flower in his hands and held it close to his eyes, drinking in its beauty. As he held the flower close to his face, suddenly he heard a noise and looked up before him. There he saw a great stone mountain opening up right before his eyes. And as the sun began to shine on the inside of the mountain, he saw the sprinkling of the beautiful gems and precious metals that it contained.
With the flower in his hands, he walked inside. Laying the flower down, he began to gather all the gold and silver and precious gems in his arms. Finally with all that his arms could carry, he turned and began to walk out of that great cavern, and suddenly a voice said to him, “Don’t forget the best.”
Thinking that perhaps he had overlooked some choice piece of treasure, he turned around again and picked up additional pieces of priceless treasure. And with his arms literally overflowing with wealth, he turned to walk back out of the great mountainous vault. And again the voice said, “Don’t forget the best.”
But by this time his arms were filled and he walked on outside, and all of a sudden, the precious metals and stones turned to dust. And he looked around in time to see the great stone mountain closing its doors again. A third time he heard the voice, and this time the voice said, “You forgot the best. For the beautiful flower is the key to the vault of the mountain.”
The boy forgot the best, and lost a treasure. We too can lose a treasure. We get so busy, that in our haste we miss things in life that are just waiting to be enjoyed. As William Feather (1889-1981) said, “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
Allow Simplicity to take over
Do you believe that somewhere down the line, we have complicated every aspect of our life? Do you wish to go back to simpler times when you led a modest life and found happiness in ordinary moments? Today we say relationships are complicated, jobs are hard, parenting is a challenge, health is deteriorating… The truth is that world is not complicated, our minds are getting complicated due to over thinking, holding on to the past, trying to control what we cannot, reacting impulsively and living in an auto-pilot mode. So, our mind, intellect and body are constantly under stress. It’s time for us to simplify our mind, our life and our world. Today, try to release everything that is holding you back from keeping things simple. Allow simplicity to take over. You will realize the immense freedom and joy it brings, to you and to people who live or work with you.
Whether it is diet, dressing or living habits, decide what is right for you. Choose simplicity and authenticity.
Cartoon by John P Weiss
Your Goals – Reduce the number of goals you are working to maximum two or three. By reducing the number of goals you will have a focused view and improved success rate.
Your Time – Most of us have filled our days full from beginning to end with time commitments – Work, home, kids, society. When possible, release yourself from the time commitments that are not in line with your greatest values.
Your Debt – If debt is holding you captive, reduce it. Start today. Do what you’ve got to do to get out from under its weight. Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.
Your Possessions – Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree. And also burn lot of your cash. Declutter as much as possible.
Your Negative Thoughts – Most negative emotions are completely useless. Most of the things we are worried about never happens.
Your Words – Use fewer words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip.
Your Multi tasking habit – Multi tasking increases stress and reduces focus. Handle one task at a time.
Your food – Eat whole foods. Avoid Sugar and refined flour completely. Minimise supplements and medicines. Best way is to get into the root cause and solve it instead of trying to band aid with medicines. Simple local food cooked at home works best for your health.
Your screen time – In the modern world we all spend most of our wake up time in front of a screen. Phone, Computer, TV. We have allowed media to dominate our lives. Manage the content you are spending time on. Your content should grow you.
Your relations – Relationships with others are good, but constant streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off the phone, log off social media, or not read a text. Focus on the important, not the urgent.
With “more” – its more complicated. Simplicity is always a winner. I believe the best electronic product today is from Apple and its just one thing – Touch. Look at the Google screen. So simple. That’s why they are so successful. The best pictures we like are “Simple”. But still we have a habit to complicate things. The more we want, the more complicated it gets. I never realised this because someone else was doing the hard work for me and I was enjoying the best part of it. But with few experiences now I understand how comfortable and peaceful it is to be Simple. I am sure lot of people understand it but still cant do it because Simplicity is hard. That’s why its actually rare to find . Simplicity implies beauty, purity and clarity. God is Simple. Simplicity is Peace, Peace is strength. It makes mind calm and clear, easy and content. Its better not to fritter away life after details but simplify. Someone has rightly said “Nothing is more simple then greatness; indeed to be simple is to be great”
Painters begin with a blank canvas where as photographers start with a full image and eliminate the things they do not want in the picture. The ultimate aim is to have a simple picture. When there are too many things in the picture the main object gets lost in the chaos. Photographer Pete Turner once said achieving Simplicity is the hardest thing to do yet it is the most essential. The challenge is to reduce the visual clutter. There has to be one main subject or idea and eliminate anything that does not support the subject. Move closer to the subject or if you cant , use a longer focal length lens to eliminate some clutter as it narrows the field of view. The goal is to make a well composed picture which is as dynamic as possible.
Simplicity is one of the underlying photographic techniques; a cluttered picture distracts the eye and takes away from the subject. A simple picture can be achieved by getting closer to the subject, which is also one of the main rules of photography.
Simplicity is one of the main components of most good photographs. The simpler the picture, the easier it is for the viewer to comprehend the subject and appreciate it. Cluttered images and backgrounds are less visually pleasing and more likely to cause the subject and lesser objects to confuse each other visually.
Mulla Nasruddin was given an interview with a shipping company. The manager asked, “Nasruddin, it is a dangerous job. Sometimes the ocean behaves so roughly. If you are caught in tidal waves, what are you going to do with your ship?”
He said, “No problem at all. I will simply lower down the defense mechanism that every ship has, just weights, huge weights which keep the ship stable even when there is so much turmoil all around.”
The manager said, “Another tidal wave is arising…?”
He said, “No problem. I will again lower down a huge weight” – In the shipping world these weights are called langers.
The manager said, “But if a third wave comes, what will you do?”
He said, “No problem…a bigger langer.”
The manager is in a difficulty what to do with this man. He says,“From where are you getting all these langers?”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “And from where are you getting these tidal waves?”
The same is the source….
You go on bringing tidal waves and I will go on lowering bigger and bigger langers.
Mind creates problems, raises tidal waves and then searches for langers and creates those langers also…. But more tidal waves are coming, and things become very difficult.
Anxiety is about the anticipation of danger, not danger itself. Anxiety reflects an overly active mind. As such, slowing down our breathing can be used to slow down our thoughts and reduce what feels like anxiety. Slow nasal breathe in and breathe out can help get over anxiety.
The whole of last week I was in Masai Mara to witness the greatest wildlife ‘travelling roadshow’ on earth. Know the saying ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’? Well, during the great migration, the grass is indeed greener on the other side. Each year, over two million wildebeest, zebra and other herbivores trek from the southern Serengeti to the lush green grasses of the Masai Mara. Known as one of the seven wonders of the world, the great migration is an iconic safari must-see.
With 1,5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, 12,000 eland and 300,000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles trekking from southern Serengeti to the Masai Mara, the ‘great’ in ‘Great Migration’ may be a bit of an understatement. The constant year-long migration is an iconic natural phenomenon, the timing of which depends on environmental factors, the weather and of course, the animals themselves. In short, the biggest mammal trek in the world follows the rains. The herds travel 800 kilometers clockwise in a circle through the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems in search of greener, mineral rich pastures and water. The animals spend most of the cycle in the Serengeti in Tanzania, but also spend several months trekking the bountiful plains of the Masai Mara.
A few more images. Have taken over 2000 images and it will be some time before I process them all. Few of them I did on the go.
Simplicity is not a sacrifice. Living with less is not a project in suffering, but instead a way to discover what is most important. Simplicity doesn’t look the same for everyone. The best version of simplicity is the one that makes you better. Simplicity will change you. While many changes work from the inside out, simplicity has a powerful way of working from the outside in. It provides the opportunity to remove the layers and connect with what is most important. Simplicity will make you more open-minded. Simplicity is not a competition. Being more or less simple than anyone else doesn’t matter. Simplicity demonstrates happiness with less. As Dieter Rams puts it, we need to do Less But Better. Simplify our lives; Focus our efforts; and Execute.
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We have also archived all the old issues and you can access them at www.sandeepmall.com. They contain some very good tool kits to take charge of your well being.
See you next week .
The information provided in this newsletter is not medical advice, nor it should be taken as a replacement for medical advice. I am not a medical Doctor so I don’t prescribe anything. Most of the tools suggested are based out of scientific research and my experiments with them. Your healthcare, your wellbeing is your responsibility. Anything we suggest here, please filter it through that responsibility.