Late last year, I finally finished reading Walter Isaacson’s 650-page biography of Steve Jobs. It’s a great biography. I consider Mr. Jobs to have been the greatest simplifier.
He made sure that his company, Apple, only made a few items but made them exceptionally well. He was also known for wearing the same thing every day—a black turtleneck and jeans—so he never had to think about what he was going to wear.
Jobs even painted all the walls in his workplace white so no unnecessary distractions would keep him from exuding his greatest creativity.
At home, he and his wife Laurene had lengthy discussions before they bought any appliance or furniture that would normally be considered necessary to a home—things like a stove, sofa, lamps, etc. He’d challenge everything before purchasing: “Why do we need a stove? Do we really need more than one sofa?”
While Steve was well known for his eccentric behavior, as I read I thought, “You know, he’s really onto something here.” He simplifies and subtracts so he can be creative and completely focus on doing a few things really, really well.
It reminded me of Confucius’ sage advice, “He who tries to catch two rabbits catches none.” In other words, when we have too many things going on or too many distractions pulling us in different directions, we are unable to focus on what really matters in our lives.
What Will Matter in Your Life Next Year?
As each year goes by, I want less complication in my life. I want everything explained to me as simply as possible. I want less junk taking up space in my house. I want to spend more quality time on fewer things. I want to have a few spectacular and strong friendships rather than many insignificant ones. I want to master a few things rather than being mediocre at a bunch of things.
If you want to simplify, I challenge you to take inventory of your life. Simplifying can take many different forms. Maybe it means saying no to things that are only going to take you away from what really matters to you.
Maybe it means taking less time with certain people and more time hanging out with yourself doing things you love to do. Or maybe it’s challenging your purchases more like Steve Jobs did.
What one area of your life can use some simplification? How can you start to simplify that area? What first step will you commit to taking?
By Kim Acedo
Kim believes a healthy life is a life you’ll love! She partners with women in their 50s who are ready, willing and able to make a healthy change in their lives and coaches them toward improving their sleep, food, mood, and exercise habits so they can live a healthier and happier life. Kim has a Master’s degree in kinesiology, is a certified health & wellness coach, and owns Transformation Wellness for Women where she works with her clients virtually in the comfort of their own home or office.