Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Simple

Simple.

It’s not a four-letter word, but far too many people treat it like one.

Simple things are scoffed at. They’re maligned. They’re considered useless or behind the times.

Opting for simplicity is seen as a sign that you can’t cope with the speed of change in the world. Simple seems to be a badge of defeat. A confession that you can’t keep up with an increasingly complex world. A value judgement —you’re not intelligent enough, not fast enough, not flexible enough.

It’s none of that.

Simple is about choice. It’s about finding the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way of doing things. Simple is breaking things down to their essentials. Finding out what you need and discarding the rest.

By opting for simplicity you’re definitely not losing out. On anything. People will argue otherwise. But, for example, by using Typerighter.com, TextDrop, and Markdown am I losing out on what a word processor supposedly offers me? Definitely not. Simple tools let me do my work without having to deal with any unnecessary overhead. And they give me a level of flexibility that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Simple is also about understanding the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It’s understanding that complex systems break down quickly, and you expend a lot to time and effort and resources maintaining those systems as they break down. Time and effort and resources that you could use to do other, more important things.

You can also equate simple with rejection. Rejection of the consumerism that pervades our society. Rejection of a status quo that holds us back and prevents us from living the way we want. Rejection of a way of life that’s not sustainable.

Does having more stuff (for lack of a better term) make you a more interesting, better informed, or more well-rounded person? Does it mean you have a richer life? Chances are, it doesn’t. Fifty-seven channels and nothing on

I’m definitely not suggesting that you give up everything and live like a monk. Embracing simple isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone. But until you try you’ll never know if leading a more simple life —in all ways —will change you and your life for the better.

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