How to Harness the Power of Simplicity

Today our guest is a dear friend, Courtney Carver of Be More with Lessa blog about simplifying your life and really living. You can learn how to create a life with more savings and no debt, more health and leass stress, more time and less stuff, and more joy with less obligation.                                                                                      

If my life were simpler,  ____________________. I'm sure you've said that sentence many times with a different ending. Obstacles, complications and everyday life seems to get in the way of dreams and true happiness.

While you can't predict the future, or avoid the unexpected, you can begin to create a simpler life which will result in less complication and more joy.

Harnessing the power of simplicity doesn't mean getting rid of all your stuff, quitting your job and living in an RV, but it does require a solid assessment of what is making your life so difficult.

Ask questions like:

  • Do I wake up refreshed?
  • Is most of my day relaxed or rushed?
  • Do I live in a chaotic environment?
  • Do I eat on the go or enjoy my meals?
  • Am I in debt?
  • Am I living paycheck to paycheck?
  • Do I shop for things I need or things I want?
  • Do I spend more than I make?
  • Am I optimistic about my future?
  • Am I more likely to be elated, satisfied or frustrated?
  • Do I fall asleep easily?

The answers to those questions will clearly answer this next question. Could I benefit from simplifying my life?

If the answer is a resounding yes, don't be overwhelmed with the changes you need to make.

Instead focus on small shifts like …

  • using cash instead of credit
  • selling or giving away a few items each week
  • scheduling fewer appointments
  • waking up 5 minutes earlier to start the day with a stretch
  • volunteering for an hour a week instead of unwinding at the mall
  • cleaning off your nightstand to create a calm space where you sleep

If you think you thrive on stress and busyness, and define your worth by what you get done instead of who you are, compare that with the possibilities that simplicity offers.

  • When you aren't so busy, you can be kind.
  • When you aren't in debt, you can be giving.
  • When you aren't taking care of stuff, you can take care of people.
  • When you aren't rushing, you can linger over a meal.
  • When you aren't stressed, you can be calm.
  • When you aren't interested in more, you can revel in less.

Making the choice to change, combined with small shifts, will allow you to harness the power of simplicity. Create an environment that invites calm over chaos, patience over frustration and hope over gloom.

Your life didn't get  complicated overnight, so appreciate that it will take time to make it uncomplicated. Instead of being overwhelmed with how far you have to go, celebrate your progress and enjoy the benefits you gain each day.

What simple shift can you make today to simplify your life?

Courtney Carver is an artist and consultant specializing in simplicity for life and business. Connect with her on Twitter or read more at Be More With Less.

Photo by Michelle Meiklejohn

Please share your thoughts below.

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Wendy Irene November 9, 2011, 1:04 pm

    Last week, I took out my spending budget for the week and used cash for all of my purchases instead of debit. It really helped me evaluate whether or not I should purchase something. Spending cash makes you much more aware of how much you value something or not. It also makes you not want to spend your entire budget so you have more left to save. Even with grocery shopping.
    “using cash instead of credit” is a great tip!

  • Joe Wilner November 9, 2011, 1:17 pm


    This is a wonderful outline of the value of how less is actually more. The benefits you outline all touch a chord with me. For me, I know I could be more giving and generous if i was willing to give up much of what i possess. I heard the concept recently of giving up the possession with which you are most attached to. It was an interesting idea as many of our attachments are things we could certainly do without and that don’t offer us significant growth or value. It is very true that when we are giving and generous we feel greater happiness and well-being, and I feel this to be one of the more valuable aspects of living a simplier life.

  • Galen Pearl November 9, 2011, 3:12 pm

    I was happy I could answer many of the initial questions in a positive way. In fact, at least once a day, I am overcome with gratitude and appreciation for my life. However, there are definitely ways I could simplify. I know I could simplify my physical environment more, but it’s not too bad. I find that I’ve been focusing on other aspects of my life, like not making so many commitments. (I’m basically saying no to anything right now that requires a meeting!) I find that I’ve also been contemplating the idea of spiritual simplicity. Still mulling that one over!

    Anyway, great article and it got me thinking about some more practical ways to simplify. Thanks!

  • Beth November 9, 2011, 6:51 pm

    This is a wonderful outline of the worth of how less is truly far more. The rewards you outline all touch a chord with me. For me, I know I could be more offering and generous if i was willing to give up considerably of what i possess. I heard the concept recently of providing up the possession with which you are most connected to. It was an exciting idea as many of our attachments are things we could undoubtedly do without having and that don’t offer us important expansion or value. It is extremely accurate that when we are supplying and generous we come to feel larger delight and effectively-getting, and I experience this to be a single of the more beneficial factors of dwelling a simplier daily life.

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk November 9, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Hi Courtney,

    I love your message. “When you aren’t stressed, you can be calm.” and
    “When you aren’t interested in more, you can revel in less” jumped out at me. Letting go of those things that aren’t essential can lead to a more calm life. After moving a few years ago, I’ve realized how wonderful it is to get rid of all the accumulated stuff that I wasn’t using. I try and practice that regularly and it brings a lighter feeling to each day.

  • Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition November 9, 2011, 7:56 pm

    This was a marvelous guide to how to simplify. I have simplified my life a lot – not enough yet but, a lot in the last year. I feel so much more peaceful now that I’ve let go of many of the things that complicated my days. Reducing debt is huge – this said from a financial planner! In all the years that people were driven to spend and spend and live larger they never stopped to think what would happen if their financial picture changed but, I do believe that people have changed their mindset about debt now. Thank you for reminding us that we can “be more with less.”

  • Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being November 10, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Hi Courtney (and Tess),

    Thank you for the helpful post. Very potent. I’ve lived a very simple life ever since moving to the mountains 15 years ago, but was recently rocketed back into working after many years off, and realize I’m learning to do my career in as simple a way as I do my life. I find that it’s not so much things and lifestyle I need to simplify, but all my to-do lists and my processes and procedures for doing, mainly my “work”. (See, even that description sounds complicated, right?!)

    Anyway, I live a fairly connected (NOT internet, but nature etc.) and conscious life, and am finding myself ever-more fascinated lately with the minimalist movement. I’m glad I read this post because 1) the idea to word ratio is high :-D and 2) I am going to practice your idea of simple small steps. That way I won’t get overwhelmed and have to add “simplifying” to my to-do list! ;-)

    Thanks to both of you.

  • Betsy at Zen Mama November 10, 2011, 6:27 pm

    Courtney and Tess,
    Isn’t it amazing that people think that simplify means getting rid of everything and becoming a monk. It’s a shift in how you think of things. I love all your ideas esp. using cash instead of credit and all your other small shifts. That makes it easier to get started.

    By the way, I’ve always loved your website Courtney!

  • David Stevens November 11, 2011, 7:08 pm

    Hi Courtney,
    Sounds simple to me. “Choice” is the power option here as with everything. Good tips, thank you
    be good to yourself

  • sheila November 16, 2011, 5:09 pm

    First off, I love that you donate your VW, that’s sweet!
    And on this post, I have to say that the most drastic thing I ever did was going from using cash only instead of credit. It was weirdish and difficult at first but WOW, what an amazing change, I love it!

  • Brock Henry November 19, 2011, 7:13 pm

    Courtney and Tess,

    Thank you so much for this post. I am addicted to posts like this, because I can literally feel my body calm down as I read them. It’s amazing how my body has a physiological response to just reading about simplifying.

    I’m on a journey to simplify my life from start to finish, and I’ve made a great deal of progress this year. It’s interesting, though, to look back over the last several months and notice the connection between my general attitude and whether or not I was actively simplifying at that point in the year. Generally speaking, I’ve been most at peace during those periods when I was consciously making an effort to be more with less.

    It’s a fascinating journey, and one I wish I’d started long ago.



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