Make not-to-do lists instead of to-do lists.

Antonie de Saint Exupery said, “perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” But achieving simplicity, or even vouching for it is difficult in our growth-driven society. Economic models encourage more production, social media algorithms promote quantity over quality, and excess symbolizes success. It is not surprising then that stress is our unifying human condition.

Aim for simplicity, be it in work or in life. Philosophy Bytes (a podcast), host, Nigel Warburton conducts interviews with hundreds of philosophers across the world. He notes that the most accomplished philosophers use the simplest language. Marie Kondo’s philosophy of only keeping things that spark joy is a useful guide to simplicity. Although her recommendation of owning only ten books may not resonate with all. What makes up simplicity, lies in the eyes of the beholder. My simplistic life decision may be to own a hundred books but only five dresses.

Instead of asking yourself what you can achieve every day, ask what you can give up to simplify your life. Create not-to-do lists instead of to-do lists. Of course, the not-to-do list must serve the larger goal of excellence. What might a not-to-do list in the quest for an excellent life look like? 1. Wasting time on mindless pursuits 2. Peer pressure to conform 3. Keeping up with the Joneses 4. Posting yet another happy selfie on Instagram 5. Sugar 6. Worrying about things beyond your control 7. Toxic people

Nature understands simple. You only need seven notes to make all music in the world.

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