Simplicity isn't simple.
In the wise words of opera singer Eric Owens, "Simplicity does not mean uninteresting." Simplicity is not a state of boredom from which you are constantly trying to escape. It is not the obstacle you have to overcome to reach your dreams. It is not the itty bitty living space that keeps us from possibility. It is not the limitation to limitlessness.
Yet the idea of simplicity seems inextricably attached to the concepts of boredom, complacency, and failure because it means less involvement and therefore less achievement.
As human beings, we crave complexity. We seek out every opportunity to add more to our days, marking only a full life in the literal sense as a good life. The more precariously a person can stack activities onto their life, the better they are regarded by others. Looking closely - or not even very closely - it seems as though people are furiously competing in a race to the end of their lives. The stakes are high, and the challenge better is higher if you want to win favor in the public and feel the best about yourself. What you can accomplish is measured in both quality and quantity, and no aspect of either of those measures is allowed to be missing. There are really only two distinct classes of people: the ones who have done everything and the ones who have done nothing at all.
As human beings, we have to find a healthy balance of life. By no means does this mean that we have a capped potential and should stay in our own little boxes! I believe that people have endless power and possibility, but neither of those equates to filling your whole life up with activities until you are drowning in them.
Simplicity is a beautiful thing. It is calm even in the midst of a storm, a chance to breathe and rest that prompts a steadier and more fulfilling ability to work in the future. It is contentment in a life well-lived and priorities well-placed. The phrase "stop and smell the roses" isn't just meant to be some witty anecdote about flowers. It is a reminder that this life is worth living, not just cataloging in terms of achievement. It is a reminder of what we might miss if we plow forward with little regard for anything except a list to check. It is a reminder to pay attention to our lives and to make them meaningful with who we are, not just what we do.
I wrote this article because I wanted to remember that simplicity is priceless. Achieving goals and dreams that you love and placing your time and energy only where they will count the most demonstrates both the self-control to care for yourself and the ability to accomplish whatever it is to which you set your mind. Doing less will never mean that you are less. Doing less will never mean that what you are doing is less. If you give the best of yourself, no one can tell you that what you've done is anything other than valuable.