Drawbacks vs. Benefits of Simplicity

In considering Simplicity Principles, we must look at the fact that simplicity does have its drawbacks. What are those drawbacks?

The first drawback is that it is never complete. Simplicity must always be pursued, or complexity creeps back in. I’ve seen simplicity come and go for someone very close to me, and it pains me to see her life so complicated again. I see the impact it has on her health, and it concerns me.

Simplicity also makes you feel like somewhat of and outsider as most of the people around you remain trapped in busyness and overload.

When my life was so busy that I barely had time to keep up with laundry, I guess I just wasn’t bothered that everyone else was that busy too. Maybe misery loves company, or maybe I just didn’t have the mental room to consider the level of everyone else’s busyness when I wasn’t even keeping up with my own.

Pursuing simplicity also makes you much more aware of the complexity around you. Now that I have more margin built into my life, I notice how much others don’t have. They aren’t able to chat and hang out, and they don’t have the time to read, exercise and pursue personal interests. I’m also finding that they often don’t or can’t focus on the revelations and insights that God offers every day. What’s more is that what used to seem as just another busy person now often seems like a chaotic life.

The benefits of simplicity are by far greater than the drawbacks.

Simplicity allows time for pursuing passions. Not until I focused on simplicity did the dream of becoming a writer come to fruition. Simplicity also allows room for quality relationships. Relationships can and usually do complicate life. But, I suppose this is one area where complication is welcome. When the rest of life is simple, the complication of relationships seems to bring abundance and joy in amazing ways.

I wouldn’t go back to a complex life, and pursuing simplicity has led me to see how infectious and addictive complexity is. I’m saddened that few of my friends have time for coffee and chatting or email conversations or discussing (or even reading) books. Because if this, I find myself drawn into more virtual relationships to fill those needs. While I’m enjoying those relationships, they just do not completely fill the void that face-to-face friendships can fill. For this reason, a current goal of mine is to strengthen my friendships and to find ways to not only connect with people in their busy lives but to even help make their lives simpler if I can.

Simplicity also made me a more flexible person. What makes me happy now is less tangible and more associated with meeting others’ needs rather than just having my needs met.

Simplicity also makes me less judgmental of others. Not trying to figure out why someone did something or what they really meant and purposefully not thinking critically about their actions or inactions adds a tremendous sense of simplicity not only to relationships but also to my mental life. The less time I spend judging others, the more time I can spend being helpful and kind. And those things bring me joy.

The fact that simplicity sets a person apart from the crowd is disheartening at first. Add to that the realization of how much effort simplicity sometimes requires, and taking a step toward simplicity seems daunting at first. Once I opened the door, simplicity rushed in and tore it off its hinges.

Relationships deepen the more simplicity increases. Being critical lessens and kindness multiplies when complexity decreases. Yes, the benefits of simplicity far outweigh the drawbacks.

DISCUSSION: In what ways would you like to simplify your life? In what ways have you already simplified your life? Any advice for dealing with the complexity progress constantly sends our way?

5 thoughts on “Drawbacks vs. Benefits of Simplicity

  1. My life is simpler these days. I write. I walk the dog. This spring I've also added "help with the JV baseball team" to the weekly calendar. I agree with the benefits of slowing down and enjoying a cup of coffee (which I'm doing at this moment). God bless you as you journey on the road less traveled.

  2. My life is already very simple as far as commitments go. I live in a small town where people are pretty laid back overall. I would like to simplify more by getting down to as few of possessions as possible and also downsizing our house now that three of the kids are out of the nest and only one left. I enjoyed your series.

    • Thanks Barb. Simplifying commitments is one of the hardest parts, so I commend you for having already done that. Simplifying possessions is equally as freeing, and I have found it also to be addicting. I still have a lot way to go in simplifying my posessions though, but my husband and I have plans for doing so when our boys are in college. For now, we are enjoying the approaching of the teen years.

  3. You really got me thinking when you were talking about simplicity making you an outsider. Not that I've pursued simplicity in every part of my life, but I do notice that in certain areas I really feel like an outsider. But I never really thought about it before. I guess it's good, in a way, to be an outsider – or else you'd be chronically busy and in debt like everyone else! :)

    • Yes, this is one way where being an outsider is a good thing. I feel like it's related to being aliens in this world that is not our permanent home. Also, for me, just identifying that this is a reason for me being an outsider makes being one easier to handle.

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