It Started with a Simple Mattress
In a world that constantly bombards us with complexity, let’s have a heart-to-heart about simplifying your life. It seems society’s mission is to complicate everything, all in an effort to sell us things we don’t really need. Whether it’s diets, shoes, beds, or lifestyles, we’re constantly told that we must invest in expensive solutions. But is it true? Do we really need that thousand-dollar mattress for a good night’s sleep? My wife and I were once caught in this consumer trap, investing a small fortune in a mattress that promised to solve all our sleep problems. However, our lives took a simple yet transformative turn when we opted for a $120, 100% cotton pad, similar to what many people in Japan use. The results were astonishing. We started getting the best sleep of our lives. But that was just the beginning. This shift led me to explore the lifestyle of many Japanese people, particularly centenarians, and what I discovered was eye-opening. Their lives are grounded, quite literally. They don’t have the furniture we’re accustomed to in the West. They sleep on the ground, eat sitting on the ground, and even garden on the ground. This forces them to stay mobile, and their bodies remain limber over the years. In contrast, life in the United States often supports our sedentary habits. We’re propped up by beds, chairs, couches, and more, and the result is stiffer joints, weaker muscles, and a less active heart. Simply put, not having to get up and down from the ground keeps us from staying limber. All of this transformation came from simplifying our bed, leading to better sleep and possibly a longer life. And the best part? It cost us less than the elaborate alternatives we were tempted to buy.
This Applies to Everything (even our diet)
Another area where complexity reigns is our diet. We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that we need elaborate diets, expensive supplements, vitamins, minerals, meal replacements, and protein shakes. The industry has manufactured a market out of thin air, raking in billions of dollars in the process. But have you ever wondered how our ancestors thrived for generations without these complex dietary problems? It turns out that simplifying our diet to align with what our ancestors ate for millions of years can provide us with all the essential nutrients without the need for expensive supplements. Organs of animals, often overlooked, are incredibly nutrient-dense and affordable. Organs like cow liver, cow heart, and cow kidney are not only cost-effective but also fill you up faster, providing better-quality nutrition. By simplifying our diet, we end up spending less money and improving our health. It’s hard to believe that the key to a healthy life isn’t an expensive solution available to a select few. We’ve been conditioned to believe that for something to be good, it must be expensive. But it’s a lie, a form of propaganda designed to brainwash us into spending more. The more we buy into this complexity, the worse we often feel, and the more we’re convinced that we need to buy even more. It’s a never-ending cycle.
The Power of Simplification
Transforming our lives to the simplest version not only saves money but also enhances our overall well-being. The Stoics believe in a concept known as Ataraxia, similar to Nirvana in Buddhism but with its distinctions. Ataraxia is achieved by living in harmony with nature to the best of our abilities. It’s the state where we uncover our inner happiness, a happiness that’s already within us but often buried under layers of complexity. We often seek happiness in external sources – self-help books, movies, substances, or indulgent food – and believe it’s a secret only a select group possesses. Some even give up on happiness entirely, falling prey to authors and marketers who sell fleeting glimpses of it.
Exploiting Our Discontent
Lack of sleep is a significant issue, and many of us are dissatisfied with our mattresses. Marketers exploit this discontent by selling us expensive sleep solutions. Similarly, they know our Western diets are less than ideal, laden with processed foods and added sugars. They capitalize on our dissatisfaction with our appearance and well-being, telling us we need their products to rectify the situation. This marketing strategy spans across various industries, all designed to exploit our unhappiness. The more you buy into it, the more complicated life becomes, further obscuring your inner happiness.
I’ve simplified many aspects of my life, and each time I do, I feel a significant weight lifted. Whether it’s the mattress, the diet, or other facets of my life, simplification has been the key. I no longer wake up to an alarm but to the natural sunlight, embarking on a morning walk barefoot and unplugged from technology to soak in the daylight and vitamin D. Fewer clothes, fewer shoes, and less spending lead to more connection and the inner happiness that shines through. To connect with your roots, strip away the complications, and uncover the happiness within you. Everything you need is already inside you. The truth is, it’s a money-making game. Businesses can’t profit from happy people content with their lives. They need to keep us unhappy to exploit us. I encourage you to try simplifying your life. You won’t make money by doing it, and neither will I. But I genuinely want more people to experience their own happiness. While we do need to spend money in this world, it’s crucial to approach it with critical thought. What do we need to spend money on? Do we need the fanciest car, the biggest house, or the most luxurious mattress? Or is true satisfaction found in the things that fulfill us physically, mentally, and spiritually? For me, it’s Jiu Jitsu, language, and Stoicism. I implore you to simplify your life, hone in on what truly satisfies you, and allow your inner happiness to shine. This is the path to Ataraxia and the declaration of your purpose in life.
Do you want to learn more? Check out:
The Series: The Philosophy of Flow
The Podcast: “Be Relentless Podcast”!