We live in a world where constant change and disruption is a given.
Our lives were suddenly turned upside down by a world pandemic. We had no control, and our power of choice was taken away from us. To survive we had to accept and obey the laws set by the government to eliminate a virus that could potentially destroy our society as we know it.
I found it difficult to adjust to living a life with no social contact apart from those living in my bubble. I quickly realised that to get through living with COVID-19 regulations and rules, I had to keep my life as uncomplicated as possible. The more complicated I made my life, the more frenetic, anxious and fearful I became. This was not an easy task, and every day I had to work on overcoming the biggest obstacle ever: my mind.
So, if you are feeling that your life is complicated, here are 5 reasons why this is happening to you. The good news is that if you address these 5 obstacles, you will have a much better chance of living an uncomplicated life.
1. Focusing on the Complexity of Life
If you were to ask Confucius if life is complicated, his reply would be, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
The most difficult and anxiety-creating activity I found during Level 4 lockdown was doing the weekly shop. Adjusting to a new way of shopping where you had to stand in long queues to get into the grocery store while still maintaining a 2-meter gap outside and inside the store was exhausting.
One person per household was allowed to go to the grocery store, and that task was allocated to me. I began to dread the weekly trip, and I had to work really hard to manage my anxiety. I soon realized that if I continued to believe that this shopping exercise was complicated and challenging, then guess what? It would be.
It’s easy to see something as complicated when it forces us to shift our lives in some major way, but it’s often useful to first work on seeing this change in a more positive or simpler light. What will this change teach you? Can you incorporate it into your routine without too much upheaval? Do your best to make it as straightforward as possible.
The Complexity Bias
The complexity bias is a reason why we humans lean towards complicating our lives rather than keeping things simple. When we are faced with too much information or we are in a state of confusion about something, we will naturally focus on the complexity of the issue rather than look for a simple solution. In a recent article, the author explains, when “we succumb to complexity bias, we are focusing too hard on the tricky 10% and ignoring the easy 90%.”((FS: Complexity Bias: Why We Prefer Complicated to Simple))
When you are dealing with a situation that you feel is complicated and overwhelming, try to focus on coming up with solutions or strategies that are simple. Ask yourself this question: If I take the simple, straightforward approach what will be the outcome? More confusion or perhaps a solution? I think you know what the answer would be!
2. Being Constantly Worrying
As humans, we are emotional beings. When we are stressed, angry, frustrated, or unhappy, our thoughts and emotions can have a significant influence on how we react and behave.
Constantly worrying about your problems and what lies ahead in the future can drain your energy and cause physical and emotional distress in your life. The more you worry, the more complicated your life seems.
Looking for a silver lining or the best option in a bad situation does not come naturally to us. It takes work and continuous effort to navigate our way around the challenges and curveballs that life throws at you.
Fortunately, there are many strategies that can help you calm your worried mind and ease anxiety. Try the following to see what works for you((Help Guide: How To Stop Worrying)):
- Breathing exercises
- Cardio exercises
- Listening to music
- Talking to friends
3. Trying to Control Everything in Life
We live in a complex world, and it can be very hard to find the answers to the challenges we face in our lives. We are all afraid of something, whether it is fear of failing, dying, or losing a loved one. Striving to have control over one’s life is an attempt to bury your fears so that you don’t have to face them.
If you are making decisions about your life from a place of control, then you need to stop. Striving to have control in your life is a sign that you are living your life in fear. You need to break free of your fears and learn to accept that there are things in life that are outside of your control.
Once you accept that life is all about your navigating your way through it rather than controlling it, you will find that your outlook on life will be more positive and not so complicated.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.” -Charles R. Swindoll.
4. Basing Your Happiness on Others’ Happiness
Your life will always be complicated and difficult if you hinge your happiness on other people in your life. Your happiness does not come from others, it comes from within you.
If you rely on another person’s happiness to live life, over time the complications of life will overwhelm you and you will lose your sense of self. You will find that you will be constantly trying to please others and trying to keep them happy — this is exhausting and detrimental to your wellbeing.
You need to take a breath, look inward, and then make a choice. Do you want to live a life valuing and believing in yourself the way you deserve, or do you want to live your life based on the happiness of others? I know what I would choose.
5. Feeding Into the Drama of Life
By feeding into other peoples’ drama, you are making your life more complicated than it needs to be. Drama and having toxic people in your life is a recipe for living an emotionally exhausting and complicated life.
There are certain types of people who live their life through drama and catastrophe. They choose to respond to life’s challenges in a way that is not productive. Stay away from them. If they do come to you with their drama, take a breathe and give yourself some time to work out how best to manage the situation without falling into the trap of taking on board their negative energy.
It won’t happen overnight, but the more you work on your self-acceptance and self-belief, the more courageous and confident you will be. With this courage, you will be able to step up and eliminate negative drama from your life. Once you have done this, your life will be less complicated and so much easier for you to navigate your way through life’s challenges.
“If you accept life in all its fullness and ambiguity, it’s not complicated; it’s only complicated if you don’t accept it.” -Marty Rubin
You will always have challenging times in your life, and the more complicated you make it, the more difficult your life will be.
The more you focus on quieting the voices in your mind, keeping calm, and listening to yourself breathe, the less complicated your life will be. This is a very simple recipe to living a fulfilled life.