Keep It Simple


  • Author Howard Hughes
  • Published December 17, 2010
  • Word count 570

I like the simple life. By simple I mean uncomplicated. I like it when things work the way they should and I like my path unobstructed and unencumbered. For my business, I like my marketing to be 'set and forget'. I get deals for 3 months at a time or if I'm handing out flyers, you either take on or you don't. My door keys hang from a belt ring from my jeans on a snazzy looking climbing hook and there are only the three that I need. I hang the keys in the same place in the house and leave my sunglasses in a place of their own too. The nappies/diapers, cream and wipes are always kept in the same place and so are the kids. Ok, I'm kidding about that last part.

There's a reason for this and it's not laziness. Keeping things simple allows you to get more done. It frees up your time and your memory to concentrate on other accomplishments. Once a habit is formed (about 21-30 days), it stays with you. It requires little or no thought on your part to make it happen. This also the case with 'muscle memory' or arc reflex. Professional boxers and tennis players alike can perform feats that defy our belief system simple because they are constantly working scenarios that may occur and then coming up with the response. It becomes pretty much automatic. I studied Kenpo Karate myself for years and if someone were to come at me a certain way, before my brain has time to respond, hey presto, my body has already kicked in to action.

I digress slightly. I had the pleasure of hearing Prof. Shawn Achor, major exponent of positive psychology and personal development, speak on a couple of occasions, once in Rome, Italy and once in Kona, the big island of Hawaii. One of top things that I came away with was his story of learning to play the guitar. He noticed that there was a certain scenario in which he practiced more than others and that was when his guitar was in the cradle as opposed to when he had to get it out of the case (next to the cradle). The couple of seconds extra that it would have taken him to take his guitar out of the case tipped that decision.

It's called 'activation energy', the energy required by you to get a task done. To get up to go to the fridge to get ice-cream during a good movie, low energy require. To get up and put on a wash when a good movie is on, high energy required. But let's say, in some situation, you're watching television in the laundry room? Low energy require there, right?

So here's the thing, if you would like to start a new, good habit or skill, make it easy for yourself. If you'd like to eat healthier, fill your presses with the good stuff so it's to hand. If you'd like to be more fit, put your trainers near the couch... You get the picture. We all have high and low activation energy activities but we can tip the energy ratio in our favour by making it easier on ourselves. Don't struggle, keep it simple!

Good for a laugh and educational. Prof. Martin Seligman, 'father' of positive psychology.

Howard Hughes is a stay-at-home father of two, successful entrepreneur and home business owner. His website is

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