But often what you think is the opposite is not...
My current favorite book, 46 rules of Genius, says:
"Rule 24 (of Genius)
"People tend to view simplicity and complexity as opposites. But this isn't strictly true. The enemy of simplicity isn't complexity, but disorder. And the enemy of complexity is also disorder. While complexity seeks order through addition, simplicity seeks it through subtraction.
"A goal of design is to drive out disorder by maximizing both simplicity and complexity. In most designed products, what we respond to best is a rich, layered experience (complexity) combined with ease of use, ease of understanding, or ease of purchase (simplicity).
"Most people have a built-in bias toward addition instead of subtraction. For some reason, the concept of “more” comes naturally to us. Yet the innovator knows that the value of any design doesn't lie in how much is piled on, but how much is discarded. More is more, but less is better.
Many people live a life of disorder. Too many things are going on, too many irons in the fire, too many dreams, too many aspirations.
One of the results is anxiety. Another is incoherence. Third is: you spend most of your time in your head. Fourth: you try multi-tasking, so you are performing with 75% of your intellect... Fourth: you are not happy.
I read an article today that attacks this issue, and provides valuable insights.
If it is true, as research says, that expectations effect happiness; that how your actual condition compares to what you expect based on comparison with your peers. If you are, by all objective measures, "worse off," than your neighbors, you may feel happier than someone who is better off but lives in an environment where they feel like everyone around them has more.
A peasant in China living in relative “poverty” may report being happier than someone who lives in a high class neighborhood who feels like they can barely keep up with their neighbors.
Of course you have to be the comparing type... you do that when you live on the horizontal plane, the competitive plane. I am poorer than anyone I know, but I am happy, because for me comparison is not valid.
But if it were, I would want to live in a poor neighborhood.
So what does this mean to you? One major way to increase your life-satisfaction is to put comparison on your side. When you strip away the nonessential elements of your life and focus on what really matters most, it's a lot easier to feel content.
Here are two simple questions to ask that you ask to help simplify your life, and by extension, increase your happiness:
1. Do I have what I need?
2. Do I need what I want?
These two questions apply to everything from the physical (food, shelter, clothing) to the emotional (friendships, romantic involvement), to even the virtual (email, social media, digital entertainment). When you reflect on the various elements of your life using these questions as a guide, you ensure that you and not those around you are determining your expectations, and thus your happiness.
An additional benefit of answering these questions is that they prompt you to focus on and devote your energy to what matters most. Some people say: become a minimalist to be a maximalist. Doing so increases both fulfillment and performance.
In an age of more, more, and more, the more you declutter and simplify your life, the happier and better off you'll be.
Personal, spiritual growth needs your life to be simplified. Otherwise it takes all your energy to just maintain the life you have, and there is no energy left for growth, or creativity.
I am sure you know what I am talking about.
I have been simplifying my life for a long time. I am not very good at it, it is a talent I am not blessed with. But I have counted, I can do laundry four times a year, and not have stinky clothes on me.
I know it sounds weird, but laundry takes a lot of time, time you could use to grow, to learn, to read, to practice, to empty your mind, to become a person who is about more than just surviving.
If disorder is the enemy of most of what you want, then disorder needs to be recognized...
Disorder is another word for incoherence. The hodge podge, all parts pull in a different direction cacophony of your life.
Coherence is simplicity and harmony.
The more stuff there is, the harder it is to attain coherence.
Water that had been mucked with, like chemically altered with reverse osmosis, treatment with ozone, made alkaline by adding chemicals, or made neutral by distilling, cannot be made coherent again.
Your mind, your body... the more "mucking" has happened the harder it will be to return to coherence.
Coherence is the blissful state where you are you and you are all you got.
But you are enough. (Remember the incredibly inspiring statement of AL Williams? All you can do is all you can do, and all you can do is enough.)
What he didn't say: this is true if who you are is coherent. If your actions are coherent.
Without coherence you are not enough.