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In Praise of a Simple Lifestyle

Dear friend,

A practical thought: to live a happier life, live a simpler life!

I think my personal progress got a little bit detracted, when I focused too much on “minimalism”. I think this was the problem:

Often focused on being too minimalist causes you to complicate your life.

This is the tricky thing — generally more minimalist living is more simple. For example, owning less stuff simplifies your life in a good way. For example, owning fewer cameras and equipment is good for photography, because it simplifies our lives and photography! We don’t need to stress out before going out to shoot, because we know exactly what camera and lens to shoot with!

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This is the beauty of one camera and one lens; it simplifies your photography, by making it less stressful to decide which camera to shoot with. Also it keeps your photography workflow simpler, because you can use the same preset with your RAW files, or keep the same post processing style.

So the basic thing I want you to think about:

When in doubt, simplify.


Simple is better.

For example, when you’re traveling— keep it simple. Have a simple wardrobe (all black everything in merino wool). Just travel with one camera and one lens. Travel with devices which will simplify your travels, rather than unnecessarily making it more complex.

For example, using your phone too much when you’re traveling makes your travels MORE complex, because we attempt to “optimize” to have the “best” travel schedule. Whereas a more simple solution is to ask locals for their favorite places to eat, drink, hang out, or have coffee.

Another thing I realized:

Many devices or things which seem more “convenient” and “better” actually adds unnecessary complexity to our lives.

For example I’m writing this on a long haul flight from Singapore to Los Angeles, and I have some Apple BeatsX Bluetooth wireless earbuds. The earbuds are great — but the annoying thing is that I have to keep charging them! Ironically enough, having wired headphones are simpler — one less thing to worry about charging.

This is also what happens in our modern lives; we have a billion devices to charge and maintain. This adds unnecessary complexity to our lives. When I’m traveling, having to deal with all these chargers and cables is really annoying — Apple Lightning cables, micro usb, and now usb-c.

Why is simplicity better?

Ultimately for me, I’m happiest when I’m producing creative stuff. For example when I’m making photos, editing my photos, making videos, and writing and publishing ideas. Anything that adds complexity to my workflow is bad!

For example even now, I prefer to use iMovie instead of Final Cut Pro, because iMovie is simpler, and therefore actually speeds up my workflow! I prefer garage band to Logic Pro x, because it’s simpler! Even with Apple devices and software — it is superior not for the hardware power and speed, but because the user interface is simpler!

Once again,

We must not confuse simplicity with minimalism.

For example, the new iPhone X is more minimalist but less simple! Having to even turn off the phone is a complicated endeavor, almost like an Illuminati secret handshake to turn it off (up volume button, down volume button, then holding the “Siri” button — which should be a power button!)

To conclude, to live a better life, try to simplify your life. Let the superfluous shit slide, and focus on what is truly important to you (whatever that may be).

Simplify your daily rituals, your daily habits, and your lifestyle. I believe this can help you bring more simple joys into your life!