Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between I occupy myself as best I can. Cary Grant
When do we know we need to go in a new direction, rework, regroup, or re-imagine something? It happened to me yesterday when my daughter said, “I have a few ideas for your children’s book.” My ears perked up and when she said one of the books children love has a jingle, it’s simple and the children love it.
Simple should be easy but it isn’t. We look at children’s books and think anyone could do that. Anyone can but it doesn’t mean it will be easy to create a children’s book children love.
The children’s book I want to write does not have a jingle – yet. It does not rhyme, it is not simple and would not enthrall children? Could it become a concept that might enthrall children? Can it rhyme or have a jingle? Can it be simple?
The answer to every one of those questions is yes. Getting to simple may take a lot more work than I thought it would. It may also be a lot more fun.
Does it work the same way in our lives? Is it true the simpler our lives are the more joy and beauty we experience? We may think moving to the country and raising our own food is part of the simple life. The simplest way to have a hamburger is to pull up to the restaurant and order one. If we are going to raise the calf that becomes the burger we needed to start a couple of years ago. What about the bun, we need to grow the wheat. What about the yeast? Living on our own and providing everything for ourselves is not simple.
Going to a grocery store and buying what we need is much simpler. Could most of us build ourselves a car for transportation? We can buy one which is a simple way of getting a car.
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius
My brother has hatched some chicks and when I last talked to him he had 4 live chicks which cost about $250.00 each if he calculated all costs that went into the hatch. They are a good way off from being able to lay eggs for his breakfast.
Self-sufficiency may be a laudable goal but it is not simple to be self-sufficient. Money is what makes our life simple. We have something we can exchange that we agree on the value of. How hard would it be for me to get one of my brother’s chickens without money? What is a chicken worth? What do I produce that my brother wants? What if he wanted to trade his chickens for a cow so he could eat beef and not just chicken? How many chickens is one cow worth? How do you save up chickens?
Money lets us put a price on everything. We trade our time at our job or business for money that lets us pick and choose what we spend it on. We can save it to spend later. We can invest it into assets that will appreciate.
The chicks might be down to one and that makes it a thousand-dollar chick. We don’t always make money in our enterprises. But, if we don’t try and fail how do we learn to do things and get better?
Other people’s blood, sweat, tears, and enterprise have made my life simple. I have many things I couldn’t produce myself that with a little money I can buy. Can life get much simpler than that?
My sister-in-law is buying six-week-old chicks for twenty dollars. Farm fresh eggs are a real treat, but it is simpler to stop at the store and buy my eggs.
Simple is a concept we don’t understand very well. Farming is not simple; living in a city is simple. Exchanging money for anything is a simple exchange. Creating that thing is not simple. Working at a job doing one thing is simple. Going out for a coffee and a hamburger is simple. Growing the coffee and all the ingredients to make that hamburger is not simple.
If we are lucky enough to go to a store and buy anything, someone produced it. We are lucky to live in a country where we can buy the things we need and want.
What does a simple life look like? I think I’m living it and as long as I can pay for what I need and what I want how could it become much simpler?
There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple, and useful life. Booker T. Washington
Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking. Richie Norton
Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama
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