“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” –Leonardo da Vinci, Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer
The world we live in is overflowing with stimulus. Our environments are drowning in technology, information, population growth, choices and media. Living in a state of sensory overload is quite common today. The more contacts and friends we have in our social networks and the busier we look, the more popular and important we tend to feel.
Unfortunately, being bombarded with too much stimulus can back-fire and be a contributor to many stress related illnesses. We have our i-phones, i-pods, i-pads, laptops, all providing us with information to fill our minds and occupy our hands. Currently, we live in a society where a simple life is evolving into a complex existence.
“Cell phones, mobile e-mail, and all the other cool and slick gadgets can cause massive losses in our creative output and overall productivity.” -Robin S. Sharma, Canadian writer, motivational speaker, leadership expert and a former Litigation lawyer
Early in the 1900’s, Sociologist Georg Simmel, writer of The Metropolis and Mental Life, wrote about a barrier that was needed in order to protect an individual from constant stimulation in order to remain sane. He concluded that an overflowing amount of stimulus would deplete an individual of their energy reservoirs causing them to react differently than they normally would if they were not overstimulated.
Don’t let technology pull you away from yourself.
If you are expected to do homework after a full day of school, perhaps even work, run to football, baseball, karate, piano…and then hurry up and eat something so you can get your chores done, quickly take a shower and hurry up to bed and read a chapter of your assigned book before falling asleep in order to do it all again the next day… you may want to create some alone time and take a closer look at what’s most important to you.
It’s very important for every one of us, adults as well as children, to have “me time”. That little bit of time where we are simply alone with ourselves, doing what we love and what brings us peace. We need to sit with ourselves, get to know ourselves. We need to think, imagine and create.
Meditating, lying down while listening to music, taking a drive, sitting in a parked car, lying in the bathtub, or taking a walk alone are great examples of “me time”. And while you are there… listen to the thoughts and ideas that come up because those thoughts are ultimately going to tell you where you need to go in order to be your happiest throughout life.
If you go through life only listening to and following outside influences, without sitting with and getting to know yourself, you could travel down the wrong road. And then one day… when you finally do listen to yourself, you may regret some of the choices you made along the way.
“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” -Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher
Try to remember this… It is not heroic to run around like a rat with his head cut off. It’s not heroic to be so busy that you have no time to sit and talk to someone you love or someone who could use your company.
Being so busy that someone doesn’t have time to sit and relax does not make them look important by any means, it simply makes them look as though they don’t have control over their lives.
You, however, you can be in total control.
Here are 7 Tips for taking control and creating a simple life doing what you love…
- Define your highest priorities in order. (Include your family, school, work, friends, sports, hobbies, perhaps fitness, art, reading, music, etc…) Spend most of your time on your top 3-4 per day. Set aside certain days to spend time on other lower priorities.
- Put your phone to the side for a half hour or an hour each day and simply be with yourself, a friend or family member. Give them or yourself your undivided attention without looking down at your phone. Be in the moment with them or be in the moment with yourself and your environment. Look around at what’s in front of you and be grateful for it. Things can always be worse.
- Clean and organize your room or area. Have a home for all of your belongings so you don’t spend unnecessary time searching for things. Organize your book bags. Put away or donate things you never use. Keep an agenda book and organize your week.
- Spread out and limit your activities so you do not become overwhelmed. Remember that it’s OK to say no if you are too busy or if you have a higher priority project to work on, such as a school report.
- Decide which activities and people are most important to you. Who makes you the happiest while allowing you to be yourself. Let go of activities and people that do not make you happy! It’s OK to stop spending time with people who judge you, hurt you, or upset you. It’s OK to stop an activity if it brings you more stress than joy. (Of course, this is dependent upon what your parents feel is best for you.) Spend most of your time with people who are good to you and looking out for you and people who accept you as an individual and free thinker.
- Spend more time with your parents and people that are most important to you. Ask your parents and relatives a lot of questions about life. They have so much wisdom to share with you. Gain wisdom from their knowledge and experiences. We don’t have to limit our growth by learning only through our own experiences. We can gain a lot of wisdom from listening to the experiences of others. And don’t forget… Tell people you love how much you love them often so that if something should ever happen to them, you will not feel guilty that you didn’t get the chance.
- Find time to be alone for a few minutes a day. We all need to check in with ourselves and imagine where it is that we really want to go. These thoughts, or neural pathways, help point us in the right direction when we are running around all day in default mode.
If you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed at any time, check out How to Avoid Being Overwhelmed.
And lastly, just remember… life is ultimately what you make it and it will all come down to the choices you make day in and day out.
Think about where you want to go and make sure your choices are pointing you in the right direction.
About the Author: Michelle C. USTASZESKI-HUTCHINSON is the Founder and Editor of The Teen Mentor, LLC, a Personal Development Expert, and the Creator and Author of the Total Mind Development Program for Teens and Young Adults based in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. She has been quoted as a “Master of Success” among some of the worlds most famous thinkers and published in numerous books and on thousands of websites around the world. Read More…