Serendipity and Simplification

Recently, while researching a topic for work, I happened onto a bit of content that caught my eye and I clicked on a link to read more, which led me to another page where something else drew my attention and before I knew it I was somewhere that I had not intended to go, but at an article that I read with interest that reminded me of a book I had long ago misplaced.

That was a mouthful, right?  Thinking about it all for a moment I was trying to come up with the word that best described that whole process and I thought it might be serendipity.  So, I did what many of us do and Googled it.  Is that even a word?  Likely it is going to be at some point.  There is a cool feature on www.google.com that allows you to look up definitions of a word on the Internet – all you have to do is type define: (and the word you want to look up).  You will get all sorts of definitions depending on how prolific the word is used on the net.  In this case, the top definition for serendipity is “good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries.”

In that serendipitous moment, I found an article entitled “5 Essential Zen Habits for Balanced Living” and thinking that sounded interesting I read it.  The posting started with a quote: “Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” – Robert Fulghum.  This sounds good, although it is easier to say than do for many of us.  The article was written by Anastasia Goers, author of the blog Balance in Me.  In this particular article she talks about balanced living through awareness and mindfulness, appreciation of your body, creativity, patience, and simplicity.

Personally, I was drawn to the simplicity topic.  Maybe because things have been so hectic lately with kids, school, work and play converging to create a very full existence lately.  While there is something to be said about a full life being a good life – sometimes it is just good to slow down and be able to take a breath or be able to stop and enjoy the little things that normally we just don’t have time for.

As I read about simplification and some of the suggestions Anastasia had, I thought about the KISS principle – we have all heard this one: Keep It Simple Silly (some say stupid).  Many times the best solution to a problem or situation is the simplest one that is the easiest to accomplish.  In business I find it the same way – why make something difficult and hard and time consuming when you can simplify it and make it an easier task leaving more time to focus on revenue generating activity.  We live in busy times and any chance we have to make something work easier we should jump at it.

In the end, all of this contemplation on what I could be currently simplifying in my own life, I remembered the book I had long ago and wondered if it was still in my library so I went hunting.  Sure enough, it was there: Simplify your life: 100 ways to slow down and enjoy the things that really matter, by Elaine St. James.

The bottom line here is that we can probably glean a lot more out of our lives from some level of simplification.  Whether you believe in Zen, or just rediscovering some of the old fashioned concepts that your grandmother probably already knew and learned through years of trial and error, the things that can be gained from keeping things simple in our lives can make all the difference.

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