Here are two words thrown about in inspirational quotes like New Age confetti. Both are held up as aspirational qualities, things, states to achieve and lifestyles to strive for but for me they seemed always to be in opposition.
What if we as individuals are oriented to desire one over the other and searching for both is just confusing and making it harder to stick to our goals?
Gretchin Rubin in her book ‘Better than Before’ believes we lean towards one in favour of the other. She explains; “Simplicity lovers are attracted by the idea of ‘less’, of emptiness, bare surfaces and shelves, few choices, a roomy closet.”
“They often find pleasure in de-cluttering and getting rid of excess rather than acquiring things. They can also feel overwhelmed when there is too much noise or too much happening around them at once”. Their houses and work-spaces would ideally be quiet, neat and minimally decorated.
Lovers of abundance “are attracted by the idea of more”; of overflow, addition and ampleness, a full pantry after a bulk shop. They like ‘stuff’, enjoy collecting things and feel best when they have a wide array of choice. Abundance folk enjoy living and working spaces where there’s more happening, a sense of energy and liveliness and lots of inspiring visual details.
On reading this I had a light bulb moment. I lean toward simplicity but I was raised in a house of abundance. Everything in our cupboards, bookshelves, pantry and fridge was overflowing all of the time. On top of this our family pets included; dogs, a cat, chooks, ducks, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, horses, stray birds and the reptiles that my brother kept during that certain phase that I was glad to see the back of.
I can laugh at it all now but as a simplicity lover and highly sensitive child it felt like complete chaos at the time.
I didn’t realise until many years after leaving home how much I had craved simplicity. I noticed that when I felt overwhelmed in my surroundings, I found it challenging to think straight.
Personally, I love nothing more than doing a clean out, getting rid of anything I don’t love or use and stripping back to basics. I love my small house with few rooms, hardly any storage and a quiet, neutral space to work. It makes me feel calm, centred and free.
For others this may sound like a nightmare or just lack the level of external inspiration they love to be around. Many of us have been recently schooled to worship Marie Kondo’s nuclear method of tidying up but I want to suggest that maybe this isn’t for everyone.
We are all different
When it comes to setting goals it’s really important to think about who you are in this regard and what the goal you are setting really means. We are often told to set goals of abundance but what if this doesn’t feel aligned for us?
As a coach, there are a million people out there ready to tell me I need to just manifest ‘abundance’ in order to feel happy and successful. There is a common belief that more is good. More clients, more workshops, more products, more programs, more followers, more money.
But as a lover of all things ‘simple’, abundance can kind of freak me out. I want my business model to be as simple and sustainable as possible. I don’t want 50 clients a week, with back to back sessions and no time to recharge.
If abundance means a constant online presence mentoring large groups across multiple platforms of social media then I am also dissuaded. The last thing I want is to be a slave to my devices, managing endless streams of commentary from fans and critics alike.
Learning to set goals and create success on my terms has been a game changer for me. I now intentionally create an uncomplicated life, close to nature and the people I love, doing powerful deep work with those who really resonate with me and the work I offer.
That’s just my preference and it’s not to be confused with a lack of ambition or a fear of success because only I can define that word for myself. Choosing simplicity doesn’t mean I’m missing out on financial wealth either, but even the ways I bring in money and what I choose to do with it are as simple as I can make them.
Using this concept to improve your life
For those of us who lean towards simplicity, goals that involve cutting out or back, de-cluttering and making things easier are appealing and easier for you to work with. For those who crave abundance, you will do better with goals oriented towards adding something into your life, expanding your horizons or taking up something new.
Goal setting tips for lovers of simplicity
Work – As mentioned above, think about the ways that clearing out, cutting down or pulling back may help you get where you want to go. It might be saying No to certain people or commitments so you can focus on what’s important. Maybe it’s about defining clear work boundaries and schedules or putting multiple projects to one side and choosing one to give all your attention to.
Health – What do you need to cut out of your diet, day or week that is potentially sabotaging your goals? Is it that third and fourth drink on a Friday, the spoon of sugar in your coffee, the extra time doing something your heart’s not in when you could be doing something you love.
Finances – getting real about where your money is going and then making adjustments. Cutting out or back on the little things that feel like nothing but over time really add up. Having a look at all your subscriptions and ending any that you really don’t use or love. simplifying and condensing bank accounts, loans, debt, Make it all as easy as possible.
Goal setting tips for lovers of abundance
Work – think about ways to add in interesting opportunities that will help you get where you want to go in your career. Is there a mentor or someone you admire that you could connect with or a network you could join. Find a mastermind with other people in your industry, build your community and expand your horizons.
Health – Instead of thinking of cutting out or back try adding in. Crowd out the not so good with the really good. Fill your plate with veggies, eat from the rainbow of colours, try a new exercise class or gym. Connect with a community of like minded others to boost motivation.
Finances – Are there any ways you can make a quick buck selling items, setting up a new passive income product, or expanding your services. It might help you to set up a number of different accounts for different expenses and enjoy putting the money into each knowing it’s there when you need it.
Finally, I don’t think simplicity and abundance are permanent states that we can achieve; but knowing more about your personal preference can help you to find a way to live either simply in abundance or, in abundant simplicity and be happier on your terms.