Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated- Confucius
Let’s face it, our lives today are overwhelming and characterized by a constant bombardment with the lure to do more and be more. There are a plethora of issues fighting for our attention. A society that is relentless in putting us under pressure to keep up with its dictates and ideals. In the face of all this, it is easier said than done not to live according to limited cultural stereotypes of what’s important rather than finding out what really matters to us as individuals and living according to those values and needs.
John Maeda’s First Law of Simplicity states that “The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.” Simplicity is freedom from complexity. It is a lack of complication in the way a person or thing appears, and even though it may sound contradictory to say that simplicity not only implies a combination of worldly wisdom, self-confidence and refinement in a person but is indeed the ultimate form of sophistication, I couldn’t agree more with the great Leonardo Da Vinci. Except one is some kind of weirdo, it is almost impossible not to love and appreciate the simple things in life. I remember back in high school, this particular classmate of mine almost always bagged the award for the cutest or prettiest girl during our annual awards night. Unlike a couple of others who expected to win in one or two categories because they had an exaggerated opinion of themselves, the girl in question was the most unassuming person ever! She was virtually unaware of her beauty and oblivious of the effect it had on many guys, not to talk of trying to do anything to enhance it which made her all the more attractive…now that’s simplicity!
Simplicity is all about clarity, it aligns with the popular saying “Less is more” but much more than that, it is constant refinement. Simplicity is actually not easy to achieve because the natural instinct for most people is to want to do more. Nowadays, many of us try too hard. We are groaning inside and buckling under the pressure we have put on ourselves because we insist on keeping up with the Joneses. Many want to speak like the Okoties and Obahiagbons of this world in order to sound knowledgeable when they haven’t even mastered the art of constructing a simple sentence in English without provoking a headache of cataclysmic proportions in their listener. People throw on a comedic mix of designer labels and jewelry in a bid to appear fashionable, it hardly matters whether the pieces go together or not, they must be seen to have arrived. The ladies try on every new hairstyle and the latest fad in clothes…little thought is given to body structure and fit. If Beyonce and Kim Kardashian can wear it then we all can!
In all the confusion and crisis of identity all around, it is refreshing to see people who are absolutely comfortable in their own skin and do not feel the need to impress as a result of societal pressure or demands. They are a breath of fresh air in a world where the standard of beauty changes daily. Regardless of their weight, height, complexion, race or level of education, they exude a natural confidence which comes from knowing that none of those things define their true essence as human beings. It doesn’t matter if big butts are the rave of the moment and thin lips are the in-thing tomorrow, they do not get restless because they are “lacking” in those areas. It is not that they are complacent and do not strive to better themselves when it comes to self improvement, but they will do it because they realize that it is good for them and at their own pace and not because of some trend or bandwagon effect.
A simple person knows what really matters and what doesn’t because they are usually of a higher intelligence than most people. A simple person does not need the validation that comes from buying friends and accolades with gifts or licking the boss’s boots in order to induce promotion. A simple woman is aware that she is blessed with natural beauty and as such does not feel less beautiful when she doesn’t have multiple layers of makeup, body magic, hair extensions or butt pads on. A simple man does not feel the need to flaunt his wealth in order to gain respect or attract attention from the ladies. His charisma, class and manners speak for him instead. The simple life is a peaceful one. To the world simplicity may be boring, but to the “initiated”, the simple life is the good life.