Simplicity: a Quality of Extraordinary People
Simplicity is a wonderful virtue, and not as common as it should be. It is one of those attributes that improves all the others. Simplicity is always associated with humility, and it implies magnanimity and maturity. That’s why, though it might seem counter-intuitive, only extraordinary people genuinely have this quality.
Some people define simplicity as “a celebration of the little things.” In other words, a simple person is capable of enjoying and appreciating the little things. They don’t have overly high expectations or ambitions. There is no giant mountain blocking their happiness. That’s why the first person that benefits from simplicity is the one who possesses it.
If you want to fly the flag of simplicity, you have to be adaptable. You have to know how to accept yourself and be accepting in general. Those characteristics help everything to flow, without trying to force or change the course.
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”
– Charles Dudley Warner –
Simplicity of appearance
Simplicity is at first noticeable in your appearance. How much do you need to “decorate” yourself in order to be comfortable with your personal appearance? How much does getting yourself dolled up (or not) make you feel more or less presentable?
Taking care of your appearance is important. How you see yourself on the outside speaks to how you feel on the inside. It is the image you project to the world and it determines the first impression that people have of you. All of this is reasonable.
When personal appearance turns into an obsession, that’s when it becomes a problem. A little bit of vanity never hurt anyone, but if it comes with fear, insecurity, or large investments of time and money, there might be more to the story. Simplicity in appearance means that you accept and value yourself.
A simple mind
We usually refer to the simplicity of thought as “common sense.” It is seeing things as they are without trying to dress them up or unnecessarily complicate them. It implies an unguarded and objective view of what is real.
Likewise, mental simplicity makes it easier to comprehend other points of view. It reduces or eliminates the need to be right or impose yourself on others. You don’t feel the need to make everyone think in exactly the same way. Simple minds spontaneously accept that the world is full of many points of view. In that way, they are able to transform a problem into a valuable source of personal enrichment.
A person with a simple mind expresses themselves with the ease of someone who isn’t interested in proving anything. Their words are clear and eloquent, without unnecessary frills. They don’t speak pretentiously or intentionally refer to social class. Simplicity means you can express what you think in a clear and direct way.
Simplicity in your relationships with others
This virtue also plays an important role in the way you relate to others. someone with this extraordinary virtue respects themselves and others. They accept themselves, and therefore they accept others. These ideas go hand in hand.
Another feature of simplicity in relationships is that they are horizontal. A person who acts with simplicity equally values powerful and humble people. They don’t change their personality or the way they treat people, no matter who they are with.
In the same way, simplicity leads us to value other’s triumphs. We feel joy for other’s achievements and share their sadness. A humble person sees himself as equal to others. That leads to an intrinsic solidarity with other people. Simplicity allows us to understand that we belong to a human community and that we are invariably linked by a common thread: humanity itself.
The path to simplicity
Generally, we become “stuck-up” or “complicated” because we let our fears take over. We are afraid of rejection, or what people will say. We feel unsettled, that we should be better, or more powerful, or richer, or more beautiful. In other words, we are afraid because we can’t accept ourselves as we are. Nor are we able to value the circumstances we live in.
That is surely the key to much of our suffering. So often we create false beliefs about who we are and who we should be. We constantly worry about what we don’t have and strive to get it. As a result, we don’t enjoy what we do have.
Simplicity isn’t the same as passivity or conformism. That is, you can have lofty goals, and still value what you have and what you’ve achieved. In fact, simplicity helps us tread lightly along this path of life and be in a state of constant evolution.