The rewards from acts of simplicity

We want more time. We need our time. We don’t want to waste time.

In the pursuit of saving time we buy pre-cut vegetables, microwave food, food-delivery or take-away. Then we sit comfortable in front of the TV or PC. “Relaxing”. But actually our brains aren’t. Yeah sure, our bodies aren’t moving, but our brains are very active. Receiving all the information it can get from our screens. We believe we achieve more happiness from comfort. We skip simple tasks to save time and think the time is spent on better things.

We think we suffer when we do simple chores. We start hating it and start complaining we have to do the dishes again or don’t want to spend time cooking. It’s all in the eye of the beholder though.

What if I tell you that these simple acts actually gives us more peace of mind? They’re comparable to meditation, which is when you actually want to shut your brain off for a while. Repeating simple tasks will have the same effect. I believe that doing aerobic sports such as cycling, jogging or simply walking will give you the same benefits.

But also we accomplish things this way. Be mindful of what you’re accomplishing and feel rewarded afterwards. Every time I cut vegetables, cook the rice or garnish the meat, I noticed my meal just tastes better. I can cook pretty well, but it just feels different. When I clean the room or dishes I feel happier and more peaceful as a side effect.

But in Western-society we regard such activities as loathsome and gladly exchange them for more time.

How do most of us spent this time? Watching movies? More TV series? I know, some of these HBO series are so fucking awesome and yes, of course I watch them too. But I’ve also come to conclusion that spending time on doing these small things reward me.

More simple acts we should often do:

  • Creating your own vegetables
  • Cleaning rooms
  • Preparing the dining table
  • Ironing & folding your clothes
  • Etc

Sure, we can skip some acts for time we really need. Like time spend with family and friends, not in exchange for consuming more bullshit. You can decide yourself what’s really necessary.

The biological programming of our brains is still far behind and can’t keep up with the technological evolution. The reward systems in our heads are still very primal. I see accomplishing simple acts as tiny rewards, which built up the more often I do them.

We often envision reaching greatness. When we see our heroes, our examples, our wishes aligned with such destiny. But we forget the simple things. The simple pleasures in life, right? The vision of greatness, can actually be(come) one of blindness.

If you feel anxious, had a burnout or other sources of stress, start simple again. Stop reading all these motivational articles, the 24 things you should really really really know about your craft or whatever society expects from you. Stop reading all the motivational crap that everybody writes to justify their own anxious thoughts.

Start simple.

Dutch-born, Chinese-rooted front-end UI developer & nomad that loves to write about travel, share his introspective and experiences through stories or short articles. Follow me on Twitter and Medium :)

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