Simplicity is one of the fundamentals of leading a happy and productive life. Oftentimes people expend effort on many projects and it inhibits their ability to make any significant progress. Putting our energy into a large number of things can nudge all of them a couple of inches at a time, but never feet or yards, the distances at which progress and success begin to be made. If we are to have any chance at mastery, we must dedicate large portions of our time into a small quantity of endeavors. And that is a fact. We must go deep, not wide.

I’ve noticed that when I reduce the extraneous habits or activities that needlessly waste my effort and attention, my vision clears. It gives me a more concrete perspective on what needs to be accomplished, providing each day with an explicit purpose and a rigid expectation. It shortens my daily to-do list, empowering me with the ability to make strides in whatever projects I’m working towards completing at that time. Instead of putting just a bit of work into a bunch of stuff, I can find deep focus for extended periods of time, putting my best foot forward in the present task at hand. 

It is important to have an understanding that you can in fact put significant time into everything on your list. I’ve found it helpful when I know the next two or three hours are dedicated to a singular task or project, like writing or reading, for example. It frees me to settle into what I’m doing and find great pinpoint focus, rather than worrying about what the next action I have to transition into is. When we know what things we want to achieve each day and that we can achieve said things each day, it simply boils down to executing the habits that you’ve built, which empower you to expeditiously complete your list.

I have six significant habits or activities that I perform with any regularity. I do the following on a daily basis: meditate, work out twice, write down ideas, thoughts, or questions that I would like to know the answer to in my iPhone notes (my form of journaling), my daily hygiene routine, edify myself via reading, listening to podcasts, or enhancing my vocabulary, and write for leisure or formally in my blogs for MTD.

I’ve discovered that there is a natural duality in my habits that allows for optimal performance in my life. I can succinctly categorize these six things into either “health” or “building.” Sometimes they fall into both categories but the clarity of their purpose still remains. I’ve discovered a few things that I find no external motivation necessary for doing, and I work at these things every day. Each day, I build upon the progress I made the day before, the work eventually culminating into a mastered art or skill. 

Mastery necessitates diligent and persistent effort day in, day out, which is where the other side of my habits comes into play. In order to produce optimal effort, we want to be in optimal health. If I have habits in place that keep me in good health, then I can continually put forth the proper effort needed to make my way towards mastery. It’s simple: maintain my health to maintain my ability to put in work, and build.

An important element of living a simple life is the necessity for there to be a fervency behind everything on your list, which I can happily say is true regarding mine. Although I’m passionate about these habits, I’d be lying if I said going through my routine doesn’t feel onerous at times. I’ve learned that the days where you have to push through resistance, caused by a lack of natural motivation, are of far greater importance than those when you wake up excited for your opportunity to complete your list once more, and it comes effortlessly. 

I understand that expecting your rhythm to remain undisturbed for long periods of time (many months or years) is a fallacy. Speed bumps, road blocks, and dead ends will inevitably be hit. This understanding is fundamental. When you know that there may be disruptions at any time, you can flow with what life throws at you and quickly get back on track when you’re forced to divert. One of the most important elements of chasing mastery is efficiently regaining your momentum by recovering your routine when events obstruct it.

In order to seamlessly transition back to regular life, there can’t be effort wasted on extraneous actions. One of the most valuable elements of my approach is to consistently analyze the actions I take each day, and honestly appraise their productivity and utility. Anything extraneous: adiós. This decreases the frequency that I can’t find natural motivation by removing any time wasting, routine disrupting, activities or behaviors. This simplification enables me to focus on what really matters, and fall back into rhythm elegantly.

Simplicity creates a strong foundation that enables you to live a successful and happy life. When I was able to hammer an uncomplicated and potent routine, day in and day out, I fell into a deep groove in life, and lived on a natural, blissful high. There is something about watching yourself rapidly ascend as a product of the work you put in that I can only describe as ecstatic. When I clearly understood what my mission was and cleared any hindrances to its completion, I lived imbued with bliss and joy for months on end.

A simple yet comprehensive lifestyle is fundamental to these extended periods of ecstasy.

Live simply.

Live joyously.


MTD Blog Writer

Rowan Paoletti-Newton 

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