In the ‘experimental’ two years, two months, and two days that Henry David Thoreau spent secluded in a Massachusetts forest, he discovered what he considered to be life’s basic necessities: clothes, food, fuel, and shelter. He couldn’t fathom why we dedicate our lives to the pursuit of seemingly meaningless goals when nature provides everything we truly need.
The world we live in is full of noise, idle business, and people always in a hurry to be somewhere else. Family and religion have taken a backseat to careers and promotions, and real life has become something we pay attention to when the internet is down. So whether you share Thoreau’s philosophy or you’re just looking to simplify a bit, there are plenty of advantages to slowing down, cutting back, and focusing on the things that really matter.
Learn To Appreciate Simplicity
We’re all born with a sense of awe and wonder that we tend to lose as we get older; we get distracted by all the noise and the oftentimes dull repetitions of our daily lives. When you remove the unnecessary distractions from your life, you’ll start to notice little things you’ve been missing, like the sunset at the end of a long day or the smell of freshly-brewed coffee in the morning.
Improve Your Relationships
Nobody looks back on their life and wishes they’d spend more time working. In today’s world where work and business success have been made into gods, it’s easy to become completely absorbed in the things in our lives and lose sight of the people in our lives. Sometimes it takes disconnecting from all the external factors to realize just how far we’ve let our relationships drift away from us.
Reignite Your Creativity
Have you ever tried reading and listening to music at the same time? Doing homework and watching tv? You don’t get anything done. When your mind is constantly being flooded with information, media, and noise, it’s impossible to produce any worthwhile output.
Removing the constant stream of foreign input allows you to come up with your own original thoughts and ideas. You may even find yourself revisiting old hobbies or interests you pursued back when you ‘had the time’.
Decrease Your Stress
Over 50% of Americans’ visits to their PCPs are made due to stress-related complaints. Most of us have multiple constant sources of stress in our everyday lives- our careers, our health, our personal lives, even social media. Western societies that take pride in being ‘busy’ all the time and can no longer see the value in occasional relaxation or downtime. In reality, most of the people bragging about their busyness are actually miserable, and so much of it is self-inflicted.
Discover Financial Freedom
Think of all the frivolous drains you might have on your finances right now: a sky high electric bill from powering all your devices, ever-growing debt from your shopping habits or expensive car payments, maybe even just the recurring expense of eating out every week.
Simplifying your life could mean saving thousands of dollars a month just from cutting out or cutting down on some of the luxuries you don’t need. Imagine a life where instead of having a stack of unpaid bills hanging around at the end of the month, you actually have money left over.
Free Up Your Time
Time is the most valuable commodity in the world and it may also be the most wasted. We waste time shopping for things we don’t need, going on YouTube spirals and TV binges, and arguing with strangers on the internet. We live in a world of people who are literally afraid to be left alone with their own thoughts. Ask yourself- if you actually knew how many hours (days) you’ve spent doing any of these things, would you be happy? For most of us, the answer is probably no.
So at this point, we all have a decision to make. Do you choose to continue leading a scheduled, robotic existence ruled by appointments, devices, and corporate America? Or do you choose to rule your own life, dictate your own existence, and spend your time doing what you love with the people you love? After all, time is fleeting, and we never know how much we have left.