Untangling your life is the key to success, happiness and looking radiant. Young CEOs, spiritual and business gurus tell us how they keep their lives simple.
One of the youngest CEOs, Denise Restauri at a Forbes Under 30 Summit, recently said, “I’m on a mission to simplify my life. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working.”
Her mantra for happiness is: simplifying life. In her book Simplify Your Life: 100 ways to slow down and enjoy things that really matter, author Elaine St James writes about making small choices – “stay in a small house; drive a small car, drop call-waiting, don’t chat, don’t always answer the phone, keep a simple phone, take- off the plastic nails…” But living simply doesn’t mean living cheaply. Adds James, “It’s about reducing the scale, maintaining the comfort, and eliminating the complexity.”
“MY MAILS ARE SHORT, CRISP… VERBOSITY COMPLICATES THINGS”
Ankur Warikoo, CEO, Nearbuy (Groupon India)
I believe in simplifying my daily life to achieve maximum output with optimal effort. I’ve never used anything besides my Google calendar and email to manage all my to-dos; no fancy note apps, nothing. A simple small diary with a fountainpen is good enough. An area where simplicity is the key, yet most difficult to achieve, is communication. I am not a fan of difficult words or verbosity. The simpler it is, the better. All my emails and blogs are short and crisp. I never get too idealistic. Lastly, fancy expensive gadgets or wheels are not for me. Automobiles are only a way to go from point A to B. My advice to anyone looking to simplify life is: purge gadgets – they are just making us lazy.
“MUCH OF LIFE’S COMPLEXITY IS THAT NOISE IN THE HEAD”
Pooja Jain, managing director, Luxor
The busier you become, the more you want to reduce distractions . I keep life simple by being in the moment and embracing what comes my way. I deal with the situation at hand and move on to the next issue. Much of life’s complexity is the noise in the head. I keep my mind at a distance, and don’t overthink. I simply Do, and that allows me to keep things simple. I use technology as an enabler – a way to give quick instructions. I don’t depend on it.
“SIMPLICITY IS A DAILY CHOICE YOU MAKE”
Vikrum Baidyanath, CEO, Baidyanath Group
I focus on the basics, mind my own business, stay focused in the present. I don’t drift between past and present. I keep my conversations short, restrict use of technology to the need-based only, and at night, I switch off my mobile phones and Wi-fi connection. I eat home-made fresh vegetarian food, sleep and wake up on time and resist every urge to complicate life. Simplicity is a daily choice you make.
“PLAYING GOLF OR RACING A SPORTSCAR CLEARS MY MIND”
Zorawar Kalra, restaurateur
I don’t let life’s complications take over my days. I look at the macro aspects of running the business. I keep some free time to spend with my family. I find simple ways to be happy – like spending free time either playing golf or racing sports cars. This gives me a break from ‘busyness’ of life, and also helps me move closer to my goals.
“KEEP THE PHONE AWAY FROM YOUR BED”
Sandeep Singh, CEO, Freecultr
I believe in being present in the moment. I realised that one of the biggest distractions and complicators in my life was my ever-beeping phone. Now, my phone is always switched off for notifications, and I keep all notifications to be on demand (i.e., when I choose to open the app, not when someone else wants me to read the message). This has kept all distractions at bay. Another interesting way to keep life simple is to pursue a passion in your spare time – whatever works for you. It fulfills the aspirations of the soul and keeps thoughts simple.
“CREATE A ‘STOP-DOING’ LIST”
Azim Jamal, business coach
Challenge every activity and object occupying your life. Ask yourself, ‘why am I doing this and what could be done to eliminate the need for it’. Fill up your life with things you love to do, not things you like to do. In fact, reward people who bring up ideas for your ‘Stop Doing’ list. It will help both you and others to create valuable time. Measure the time you spend on an activity daily and follow this activity for three days. It will tell you where you are expending needless attention and energy.
“KEEP CONVERSATIONS SIMPLE”
Niret Alva, CEO, Miditech PVT Ltd
There are several ways to simplify your life. Take long walks. I simplify my mind by putting the phone away too. Spending time with family keeps the chaos away and meaningful conversations always keep the mind engaged and happy. “Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your life”
Mohit Burman, Director, Dabur India Ltd
When I plan my week, I make it a point to schedule time with my family and friends, and engage in activities that help me recharge. I also take stock of activities that don’t enhance my work or personal life, and try to minimize the time I spend on them.
“NOTHING IS SIMPLER THAN PURE AWARENESS”
Deepak Chopra, spiritual guru
Simplifying the externals can go only so far. Once the closets are sorted out and the daily schedule is pruned, the real issue persists: How does one simplify the confusion, stress, conflict, and unresolved conditioning of the mind. Nothing is simpler than pure awareness. Until a person gains direct experience of that truth, inner complications will always return. All the external complications that people complain about are of their own choosing, because we feel important, valued, and distracted when life is complicated. Beyond the duties, demands, and drama, however, we are escaping a troubled inner world. This has always been the human dilemma, and solving it remains life’s most important challenge.