Get back to basics. Clear everything out. Drop the dead weight.
The obligations and pressures and responsibilities are in your head and you can let them all go.
Back to basics.
Get rid of objects you don’t need. Don’t buy objects you don’t need. Own a small number of high quality things – there is nothing worse than lots of junk.
Physical clutter creates mental clutter. Clean your living space and instantly get happier.
— Freedom & Fulfilment (@Aaron__FF) June 13, 2016
Close your fucking email. Put away your phone and keep it in your pocket. Keep it in your bag.
Close all your tabs. You can’t do anything with 600 tabs open anyway except switch between tabs.
If you’ve been reading, if you’ve been consuming, if you’ve been watching – you don’t need more in your brain, you need less.
Resist the urge to randomly Google things. You don’t need to find that out, at least not right now.
Peace of mind comes through simplicity. Mental clarity comes through simplicity – taking things out rather than putting more things in.
Eat less meals.
Take your coffee black.
Routine Keeps it Simple
Routine helps make the complex simple. As human beings we can only hold so much in our brain, and it’s impractical to stop and think about every little thing we do.
Much of our behaviour is unconscious – some estimate up to 45%. That means for 6-7 hours each day, you’re on autopilot. You don’t think about what you do and just do it.
6-7 hours a day is almost 50 hours a week – that’s a lot of time!
Routine lets you string together multiple activities and compartmentalize it all into one block of time. This way a set of activities takes the same mental space as a single one, or less.
You can fit four or five behaviours into a good morning routine and cover mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health in just the first hour of the day.
I had an evening routine too at one point – juicing vegetables, cooking and eating dinner, washing the juicer, cleaning up, stretching, reading something and going to bed.
That’s a lot of things, but it’s easy once you string them together. It’s not four or five activities anymore, it’s just one.
If you’re going to be on autopilot 45% of the time anyway, you may as well take conscious control of the automation.
Use routine to unify those blocks of time – this allows for a variety of behaviour while staying incredibly simple.
Good Writing is Simple
William Zissner’s On Writing Well is the best book on writing I’ve ever read, and I only read the first 30%.
It’s all about simplicity – take words out. Prune your sentences. Rewrite everything, then rewrite it again.
Bad writing is bad because it uses too many words. Everyone is guilty of this, myself included, and I am working on it all the time. It’s hard.
Here is some of the best advice from the book:
Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.
Few people realize how badly they write. Nobody has shown them how much excess or murkiness has crept into their style and how it obstructs what they are trying to say. If you give me an eight-page article and I tell you to cut it to four pages, you’ll howl and say it can’t be done. Then you’ll go home and do it, and it will be much better. After that comes the hard part: cutting it to three.
Most nonfiction writers have a definitiveness complex. They feel that they are under some obligation—to the subject, to their honor, to the gods of writing—to make their article the last word. It’s a commendable impulse, but there is no last word.
Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something useless just because you think it’s beautiful? Simplify, simplify.
Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it. Use its energy to keep yourself going.
…the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what—these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence.
Sometimes you can tell your whole story in the first sentence.
Make active verbs activate your sentences… Don’t set up a business that you can start or launch. Don’t say that the president of the company stepped down. Did he resign? Did he retire? Did he get fired? Be precise. Use precise verbs.
Prune out the small words that qualify how you feel and how you think and what you saw: “a bit,” “a little,” “sort of,” “kind of,” “rather,” “quite,” “very,” “too,” “pretty much,” “in a sense” and dozens more. They dilute your style and your persuasiveness. Don’t say you were a bit confused and sort of tired and a little depressed and somewhat annoyed. Be confused. Be tired. Be depressed. Be annoyed. Don’t hedge your prose with little timidities. Good writing is lean and confident.
Surprisingly often a difficult problem in a sentence can be solved by simply getting rid of it.
Simplicity in Product Design
I recently finished the audiobook version of the Steve Jobs biography (maybe a little late to the party on that one) but it struck me that Steve Jobs was obsessed with simplicity.
After being kicked out of Apple in 1985, he returned in 1997. Jobs found the company in a bad state, unprofitable and mismanaged with its resources spread thin over many mediocre projects.
The first thing he did was cut the dead weight – projects and people – and narrow the focus down to just four products.
Jobs would also intervene at every stage of product development to improve on the existing version – not by adding in features or functions but by taking things out.
Apple returned to profitability that year and then went on to create a series of amazing products, exactly the way Jobs wanted.
It’s no coincidence that a 3 year-old can pick up an iPad and begin using it with no instruction manual, no video tutorial, no “how-to” guide required. You just touch it and it works. The technology is incredibly complex, but the experience of the product is extreme simplicity.
Apple then became the largest tech company in the world, with the most active devices and the highest market cap ever, sitting on 100 billion dollars.
But you can even forget all that, go to almost any country in the world and just look around…
Everyone is listening to portable music players. Everyone is on their smartphone.
Jobs was crazy and he was an asshole, but he created the world in his image. Every time you look at your smartphone – every time anyone looks at their smartphone – it is proof we are living in Steve Jobs’ world.
And how did he do it? By getting back to basics and keeping things simple.
Tear Down Your Beliefs
All your beliefs have been given to you – uproot them, tear them out and throw them away. That’s the only way to be free.
You are carrying psychological dead weight along with you, right now. We all have this under the surface – it’s heavy and burdensome.
And we’re very good at avoiding the difficult things in our heads. Humans have all sorts of tricks and techniques for sweeping it under the psychological carpet.
The burdens are deceptively easy to be rid of, but they’re hard to recognize in normal states of consciousness.
Psychedelics will strip you clean of your beliefs and allow you to build back up from first principles. A strong LSD trip washes away everything you think you know about yourself, your friends and family, your country, God, reality and the universe.
This is good. That’s how you get free.
Psychedelics reveal the unessential in life. It’s easier to see what you don’t need and let it go. Sometimes it just falls away on its own.
If you want clarity, you need simplicity. If you want peace, you need simplicity. If you want to feel that you are God – you need simplicity.
You don’t need objects of worship or a temple or a church. You don’t need a priest or a monk or a guru or a book.
You are God sitting quietly in a room alone as much as you are God worshipping in a temple. Close your eyes right now and just “be there” – and you are God as much as is ever possible.
So you go on a trip and see it all how it really is and you say, “Ah, I see.”
Then you think about it a little bit and the next thing you say is, “…So what do we do now?”
And that’s when it really gets hard! Because you don’t know. I don’t know either. But we can try to figure it out –
We can know a few things:
Most of the time, the established way is not the best way. You’re not doing yourself any favours by doing it “the way it’s always been done”. We know this already in our changing world.
Think about it:
Reality is just agreement. Why does money work? Because we agree it will work. Why do we drive on roads and speak in languages and have property and laws and companies? Because we agree on them.
If you really want to “make it” – you can make it. Technology opens all the doors, there is nothing stopping you. It’s open season, the world is our oyster, we can do whatever the fuck we want. It’s all here for you, right now.
What’s the first step though? Get back to basics. Simplify…