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Chaos and Simplicity, a Healthy Mix for Our Days

For today's frenetic lifestyle, the best remedy is to steep ourselves in a new philosophy of simplicity.

It’s a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful.

- Hiromu Arakawa

Leo Babauta, best known for authoring Zen Habits, one of the most visited altruistic blogs of the Internet, now offers us “miraculous tricks” for finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. The remedy rests on a simple and yet elusive Zen premise: let go.

No matter how many times we are told, or how many times we read it somewhere or remember it, the task of letting go and living in the present often slips from our hands. The following advice is offered to refresh this wealth of knowledge and, with a little luck, encourage us to change certain daily habits that will make room for simplicity (where beauty lives).

Batuta’s premise for reaching simplicity is consistently simple:

  • First of all we need to consider what we’re doing when we plan our day, our week, our year: we are trying to exercise control over our lives and predict the path of today, this week, this year.
  • “The things is,” Batuta explains, “that we have absolutely no idea if any of this [will come] true”. We can’t predict the future with any certainty. And if we could, we’d have no freedom and would wallow in boredom. Absolute foreknowledge would mean that nothing new could come into our lives.
  • “Learn to let go of control, and surf the ever-changing wave,” he adds. “Let unpredictability rule, let randomness be the force of our life, let spontaneity be the rule.”

In conclusion, the author offers a series of thoughts on the exercise of letting go:

  • Work is better with chaos: while the idea of having peace and order in our workday sounds nice; it’s an illusion. And anyway it’s a boring one. Work is more interesting with spontaneity and play. And the results are much better.
  • A year that isn’t planned: no matter how much you plan, circumstances will arise that change everything. While life is unpredictable, that unpredictability can offer marvelous things.
  • Be open to new possibilities: throughout life there are doors that open, close and reopen. Enter.
  • Be open to meeting strangers: from strangers, we can learn things we could never have imagined. Every person has something you may not yet know, and many are open to sharing it.
  • Chaos is creativity and creativity is chaos: creativity comes from a space of chaos. Only when you open yourself to a lack of control can you reach your greatest creative potential.
  • When we let go of our expectation that someone will make us happy, we will enjoy them more: expectations are very frustrating, but when we let go of them, we accept people for who they are and we learn to accept their singularity.
  • If you don’t count on things going as you had planned, you will accept spontaneity: always expect plans to change, or better yet don’t plan anything. Wait until unplanned things happen, and when they do, smile.
  • Accept not knowing what is going to happen: this is true freedom. You are not trapped in anything. Let things comes as they will and go with it.
  • When you’re not focused on a certain outcome, you open the way for many outcomes: What would happen if you decide that no matter what place you reach is good? You open an infinite amount of possibilities, and you have the opportunity to learn something you wouldn’t have if you only tried to do things and learn things that have to do with your expected outcome.

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