The temptation to start with the all time great hit song by Beatles All You Need Is Love is difficult to overcome, but I will not use that for it will be too simple a solution for a rather complex topic. If love is all that one needs, I would be the happiest bloke on earth with so much love coming my way. But being mortal, while I am happy most of the time, there are times when I have to struggle to get back to my normal state of happiness due to circumstances beyond my control. Those circumstances buttressed by my own ego can cause havoc to my equilibrium when things do not go my way!
So, having got love out of the way, let me start off by pontificating a bit about a philosophy.
“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, subtract things everyday. Profit comes from what is there, usefulness comes from what is not there.”
~ Lao Tzu.
With that as the backdrop to the thrust of my post, let me start with something that I learnt in Business School almost half a century ago. A piece of knowledge called Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs was taught to us as a tool to analyze lack of motivation and to find what will motivate recalcitrant employees. I would have been a millionaire if I had got paid a rupee each time some bright eyed young manager had come up to me in my grizzled middled age to suggest his diagnosis and treatment using that tool while suggesting that I was already up in the clouds with self actualised existence and therefore unable to understand the underlings and their frustrations.
I wish that I had been self actualised. I still am not fully though I am almost there. Once I am there, I will not have the problems that I now have when things don’t go my way. And before I switch off from the thrust, let me also suggest that to call all these things as needs is the biggest blunder Maslow made. Bar the bottom most part of the pyramid, all the other things are wants and if one is honest enough, I would say that our needs have been well taken care of and what causes us all troubles are wants. Admittedly there are billions who are still at the basic need levels but this post does not reach them, nor can have any effect on them.
Being on the road to that blissful state of self actualised existence however, I chose the path of simple living as an adjunct to my other pursuits and have been subtracting every day. After all, I can afford to! Yes, that is the beauty of living a life of simplicity. No more competition to keep up with the Joneses, no more expenditure on the latest fashion, latest gadgets etc and best of all, not being bothered about any body else’s opinion about oneself. The problem is in reaching that stage in life where you really don’t care a hoot about what your neighbour thinks of you.
So, my submission is that to live a happy and simple life all you need is to reach a stage of being able to afford to be simple. Do feel free to define ‘simple’ in any way that you want. And talking about want, should we not really be talking about wants like these?
I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on this subject which was chosen by Shackman, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok gaelikaa, Maxi, Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.