Keep Life Simple

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." – Confucius


Check your ‘tude’

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference – Winston Churchill

Many years ago, I would have said that only my circumstances affect my happiness, even saying, I would be happy if I had more money or I had a great relationship.

I discovered that if I wanted to draw good things and good people to my life that would complement it rather than complicate it I would have to look further than my circumstances. I was already happy because I was living within my means and I had many great relationships. It got tricky when I was challenged in my life. I realized I had to adjust my ‘tude’ (attitude) to have a more positive outlook. Unlike my circumstances – over which I had little control – I had control of my attitude. I knew that if I trusted a broken set of habits every day, it’s only a matter of time before my life got confusing and complicated.

Here are three trusted habits that help me stay positive:

  1. Stop worrying and complaining
    Being negative can sap you of the strength you need to pull from a discouraging day or to help you deal with it. If you see everything negatively, you will feel distressed and every day can appear bad or gloomy. Situations are usually only as good or bad as you think they are. The choice is yours.A good read is Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He says to only focus on concerns that we have control over. He outlines the “circle of concerns” as all of the stuff that worries us – and then a smaller “circle of influence” (within the larger “circle of concerns”) that only contains stuff that we can actually control. His point is that we should only spend our energy on stuff that we can do something about. Focus only on problems that lie within your “circle of influence.
  2. Look for the silver lining
    When things are tough, and I feel down, I look for a silver lining – the small glimmers of hope. I have to remind myself that I can and will grow stronger from these hard times. I have to always be conscious of my blessings, privileges and be thankful for all the things that are right in my life today.
  3. Do things for others
    Unselfish giving brings deep satisfaction to me. I say often, and I firmly believe that the more we give the more we’ll receive. It’s a great mantra for teaching little people to share too. My daughter (we started doing this when she was five years old) and I would ‘declutter’ her room and toys to give them away – knowing she was sharing with other children who may not have the toys she had enjoyed made her happy.Experiencing the joy of giving can do much to help us cope with negative circumstances in our own life. Look for opportunities to be self-sacrificing. Volunteering ( is great way to care for your attitude and give back to your community.

Neil Pasricha has an amazing story. A self-described “average guy,” he realized that he was overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, so he started consciously thinking about any positive thing he could find – no matter how small. Then he blogged about it at, won a Webby Award, and became an international best selling author for his work, The Book of Awesome.

Attitude, Awareness, Authenticity: The 3 A’s of Awesome by Neil Pasricha (

My last post: Declutter your life

Next post: When life isn’t simple



Get off the ‘control’ wagon

In 1999, I entered a stage in my life that didn’t take me long to learn that my efforts to be perfect at everything in my life – wife, loyal employee, mother, sister, daughter, friend – were not healthy. In fact, it left me feeling fatigued, stressed, anxious, unhappy and tired all of the time! Realizing that this was not how I wanted to live the rest of my life, I knew I needed to make changes. Everything finally started to change when I committed to myself that I would live my life simple.

And so the pursuit of keep life simple started for me when I finally got off the ‘control’ wagon. I realized that all the ups and downs in my past really stemmed from my need to control everything in my life and take care of everyone else’s needs but mine. I made the choice to let ‘control’ go, and it was then when I saw the most dramatic and beautiful changes in my life in general. My transformation didn’t happen overnight (and I’m not even close to finished), but the more that I sought clarity in this area, the more free I became. I truly believe that when you embrace yourself and are honest with yourself (about everything) you suddenly come to a place where you stop worrying or being anxious and you finally have peace.

I also realized that everything in life comes down to a balance (for me it’s spiritual and physical). For example, a very dear and old friend of mine gave me a gift that spoke to me on levels I knew existed but never practiced. She gave me a daily devotional book and when I read the passage on March 12, it spoke to me loud and clear… live your life simple¹… which I had committed to doing already. An affirmation! I knew that although I uttered these words daily now and I was reading them out loud, it also meant I needed to continue to put action to these words. I have to admit, it isn’t an easy process to keep life simple, but in the end, it’s always worth it.

The more you start to embrace yourself and let up on areas of your life that you feel you need to control, the more freedom and joy you will find.

¹A.J. Russell, God Calling, March 12 entry – Simplicity, Barbour Publishing, Inc., Uhrichsville, OH