This is Part I in my new 5-part series on how less is more in different ways!
I talked about de-cluttering your life early on on this site. This is something that many people cannot come to terms with, or even begin to consider.
“Take lesser subjects? But everyone is taking as many as possible…”
“Eat less food in more meals? But I don’t have the time to do it…”
“I’m keeping all these magazines because… I might need them in the future!”
It seems implausible to cut down on the things in life. In fact, it seems downright silly. Wasn’t there something said about how more…is always better? More money, more qualifications, more things just in case.
I believe in the opposite. This series will examine the different ways we can cut down on certain things in our lives – and come out the other end all the more better for it.
Not too long ago, I came across the amazing philosophy of a 29 year-old computer scientist named Cal Newport. His site focused on study hacks, or decoding the patterns of success. One of his main philosophies was captured in the Radical Simplicity Manifesto: Doing Less and Living More in College. This came about due to a common picture of the typical undergraduate: overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed. In response to this, this manifesto stressed the following: To schedule less than you have the time to handle, in order to concentrate on a small number of fascinating and meaningful activities. One paragraph from this manifesto stood out to me:
“Revel in free time. Use it to relax; to socialize; to explore new intellectual horizons. Reserve the right to spend an entire afternoon reading some random book you stumbled across in the business library. Spend time having pretentious, overly serious conversations with friends over cheap liquor and pirated Coltrane MP3s. Do all of this even if it means looking slightly less impressive on your resume. Do it because life is short, and young life is even shorter.”
Life is short.
This is especially to the college students out there, but can apply broadly to everyone in the different stages of their lives. Live the life that you want to, not that you have to. Don’t aim to take a wide range of subjects, specialize in something you love and enjoy. Don’t aim to be involved in every single extra-curricular activity, but be outstanding in just the one, and make a mark for yourself there.
Not only will you be able to experience interesting and meaningful things and learn what you want to, those very things that you encounter will allow you to stand out from the conventional resume. You know, those that display a slate of extra-curricular activities in the typical clubs and societies, or a series of internships in big-name firms and companies. Practically every other student in the same school as you is aiming for, and will indeed have this atypical resume. Be different in an impressive way. Show that you know what you love, and that you dare to pursue it.
Some might argue that the atypical resume in itself is quite impressive. No arguments there from me. Some of the most remarkable people in the world have a stellar resume in the most outstanding institutions and firms, and a string of accolades to boot. My question is, have you considered the rest of the world’s most remarkable people who have taken the road less taken, and were better off for it? More and more of such people have emerged in this century, because they have figured out the secret to living a passionate and fulfilling life: Doing more with less.
After all, simple chic seems to be the sexy new in thing now, isn’t it?
Radical simplicity might just be the solution to an incredible, balanced life – one in which you get to pursue what you enjoy, have the free time to relax, and still emerge at the other end being just as outstanding for your lack of pains.
Aim to do more with less wherever you are today.