Nov 14, 2009

4 Other Ways to Live a Happy & Simple Life

Photo by Rickydavid

He who appreciates and understands a song, a symphony, a painting, some sculpture or architecture gets more satisfaction than he who owns musical instruments or works of art.

-Richard Gregg

In part 1, I wrote about 5 top ways to simplify your life: take life easy, live your own life, stop trying to please everyone, have a feeling of gratitude and slow down. Here’s a list of next 4 ways to lead a simple and happy life:

4 Other Ways to Live a Simple & Happy Life

1. Don’t make money the central point of your existence
This is the most important of all. Money is no-doubt important for our basic needs. But you still need to look beyond money. Why? Because in the pursuit of earning more & more money, we forget to enjoy the present, we keep on postponing our happiness to a future day without knowing that life is a journey and not a destination.

Understand that our happiness depends upon our state of mind and not on the status of our bank accounts.

Therefore, manage your existing money in the most efficient manner and also make efforts to earn more of it. However, don’t run after it like a mad man. Understand that money alone can’t buy you happiness.

2. Differentiate between Your Needs & Wants
Learn to differentiate between what’s a necessity and what’s a luxury. Moreover, know how much is enough? By buying more and more stuff, you not only waste your money but also unnecessarily complicate your life.

Paramhansa Yogandanda , the author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi said:

“It is important to differentiate between your needs and your wants. Your needs are few, while your wants can be limitless.”

Make it a principle that whatever you buy should be in response to an actual need or something you really value, not simply because you can afford it or your neighbor has it.

To better understand the importance of difference between your needs and wants, read this post and this post.

3. Adopt voluntary Simplicity
Simplifying life is about discarding the clutter and improving the quality of life. It is about saying yes to the things you want in your life and no to the things you don’t want. It is about not getting distracted by consumer culture, living with a purpose, and focusing on the essentials.

Richard Gregg - who coined the term ‘Voluntary Simplicity’ - in his seminal essay (1936)
The Value of Voluntary Simplicity pointed out the need and benefits of living more simply. According to him,

“Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose”.

4. Live Frugally
We are living in a golden age of indulgence. It is human nature to want certain luxuries, but the key is to enjoy them in moderation and not to let them get out of hand. On the other hand, spending frugally need not be an exercise in self deprivation.

Frugal living is more than getting the most out of every rupee. Frugal lifestyle is not just about making good financial decisions and saving money, but is a lifestyle or belief system which emphasizes self-restrain, reduction of waste, using fewer resources & getting more out of existing resources and indirectly becoming environmental conscious. It's about a simpler, less complicated lifestyle, not about being cheap or stingy.

It is entirely possible to be thrifty and dignified. Some of the world’s richest people are the world’s most frugal people.

A good write up is never complete without an example. OK, I’ll give you just one example which should be enough to understand that it is very much possible to be rich and yet lead a simple life.

You must have heard of Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of all times. But, do you know about his lifestyle? Despite being one of the wealthiest men in the world, he still lives in same home he bought nearly 50 years ago and he still drives his own car. Read more about Mr. Buffett’s secrets for living a happy and simple life.

The next part will discuss how to live a purposeful life. Meanwhile, what’s your choice? Frugal & simple lifestyle of Mr. Buffett, or lavish & indulgent lifestyle of Larry Ellison; modest lifestyle of Mr. Narayan Murthy, or flamboyant and extravagant lifestyle of Vijay Mallya.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. -Leonardo da Vinci

Also Read:
1. Top 5 Ways to Simplify Your Life

2. Hidden Flaws of Spending (#1)


  1. Lovely article. one great man i know says by simply analysing your desires you can get rid of most them !

    Please keep writing beautiful articles such as the present one focussing on enrichment of life as a whole !/ best rgds / Muralitharan /14-11-09

  2. Taking the bait! And The LIES are swallowed, hook, line and sinker ;-(

    Someone had written: "When I talk about people buying or being sold 'absolute junk' I'm not only talking about the material but also about the ideological. We are 'sold' on consumerism, the wars (Iraq), elections (the presidency), all manner of things. Unfortunately, so few people see that just because these ideas are on sale, that they don't actually have to buy them!"

    Sadly, the multitudes have bought The LIES ;-(

    The multitudes have taken the bait which is "ease of life", so-called, and The LIES were swallowed(believed),

    and sinker(technology/"progress") ;-(

    This place they call the u.s. of a. is the "bait"master and they catch their "fish" in every nation of this world ;-( Yet in england, france, germany, japan, etc, in all nations of this wicked world there are those who have become disciples of the "bait"master and they also have found other "waters" in which to catch their "fish" ;-(

    And so it is that today there are multitudes in every nation under the sun that have taken the bait(ease of life), and swallowed(believed) the hook(money), the line(education/religion) and the sinker(technology/"progress") ;-(

    Tempted, hooked, reeled in, and held captive as they but serve "time" in the prison that is this wicked world ;-(

    Simply, they could not withstand the media blitz(krieg), or their own desires, and their "imag"ination got the best of them ;-(

    Some two thousand years past The Truth bore witness to the fact that, "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control of the evil one"! (1John5:19) Yet, the "fish" continue to seek out that "good" place in the world, when in Truth the world today is but the product of mankind's "imag"ination, a dry and thirsty land of mirages, nothing but shadows, vapors and smoke ;-(

    And in this wicked world, "image"s abound and are worshipped ;-(

    So why receive that which is of mankind's "imag"ination?

    Even when such is supposedly "free" there will always be a price to pay, for mankind's "imag"ination is destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Life, Truth, Love, Peace, Hope, Grace, Faith, etc.);-(

    Consider the time when there were no radio's, no tv's, no movies, no newspapers, a time when there was no way yet "imag"ined and then manufactured, that would allow someone to publish or display the vain "imag"inations of mankind to the "masses". Sadly those who rule in this wicked world, and who control the "media", consider the "masses" to be but the M in E=MC(squared);-(


  3. Mr. Muralitharan: Thanks, for your kind words.

    Elderchild: I completely agree!

  4. "Completely agree"?

    Very surprising to me, for it seemed from your other articles and links that you instruct others in the ways of this wicked world ;-(

    "A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive".

    So there is hope!

    For Miracles do happen.......

  5. Govind GadiyarJune 17, 2010

    Dear All,

    Our great epic Mahabharata says that a person is happy when he lives in his own house, no debt (loan) and eats home cooked vegetarian food.

    Simple to follow and become happy.

  6. To be "happy" midst the destruction and perversion that is of this
    wicked, evil world is indicative of a self centered person.

    At peace midst the multitudes of voices,confusion, noise, destruction,
    perversion,,,, Yes!

    Thankfull for deliverance, forgiveness, healing,,,, a Living Hope! Yes!

    "happy"? i believe such a one would be a lover of this wicked world
    and their own self-life in and of it ;-(

    i believe 'happy' equates to 'fun' and 'games', "of the flesh".

    'blessed' i believe equates to 'fortunate', 'thankfull', "of the Spirit".

    "The Messiah wept", yet no where in The Testimonies does it reveal
    He or His disciples 'laughed', or were 'happy'.......

    "Woe unto you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep".......

    And as The Messiah suffered, so also was it promised that His Brethren
    would suffer as well while in, yet not of this wicked, evil world.......


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