Written by Columnist Sarah Hudson Pierce
Albert Einstein said; “If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough.” What Einstein was probably driving at was an application of “keep it simple, stupid” which salespeople often strive to do including the late beloved Claudia Harvill Browning, a very successful local real estate businesswoman, who often liked to use the quote “keep it simple, stupid” which leads me to the heart of my subject of simplicity.
Most of us destroy ourselves by fearing public opinion, of going in too many directions, trying to keep up with the Jones, of trading what we want most for what we want now, of having to have too many things regardless of who gets hurt in the process which leads me to one of my heroes of the past.
Henry David Thoreau, born in 1817 and the author of Walden’s Pond, said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
He learned a great truth desperately needed today. He went apart for a year or so by himself to stay in a log cabin, located by Walden’s Pond, near Concord, Massachusetts.
I’ve been fortunate to spend time inside the replica of the cabin while visiting my oldest son, Perry, who lives near Boston.
It is a beautiful, peaceful setting.
The cabin is furnished, as it was back then, with only a small bed, a stove, a table, and a couple of chairs.
I’m caught up with simplicity when I ponder how much creative time is wasted in the pursuit of “striving after the wind,” accumulating more and more yet never satisfying the yearning deep within.
From my understanding, Thoreau only took with him one rock and threw it away because of the time it took to dust it off and put it back in place.
Absurd? Perhaps that is a bit extreme but it teaches a valuable lesson we should heed today.
I think some solitude in the woods, with no media, would be beneficial to troubled teens who seem to be always hooked up to background noise.
Why are we so scared of hearing ourselves think?
I sense it takes a lifetime of practice, of going apart, of getting into touch with ourselves, to hear our own thoughts but it’s in this space that we grow and become all we can become!
We must simplify lest we become lost in our pursuits.
It’s easy to lose our creativity if we are frenetic. We must focus on our talents — not putting too many irons in the fire, we rob ourselves of our quality time, preventing ourselves from centering down, getting into touch with ourselves.
We must hone our talents, sharpen our skills, polish our gift or we will become rusty.
To become focused we must simplify or we will burn our energy.
We must look not to one side or backward in regret at lost opportunities, lest we become scattered and never achieve our dream. If we try to do all things equally well we won’t become all that we can be. Our creativity will be lost in the mundane things in life, of keeping our bodies fed, of caring for our grounds, of making our house a showcase.
If we leave our one small gift to take care of itself it will die!
To be gifted we must work at our talents daily and make our field of endeavor our focal point, our obsession. In return, we will then make a meaningful contribution to those we touch.
It won’t come easily.
It’s more fun to work with our one talent knowing that “there will always be those greater and lesser than ourselves,” to quote Max Ehrmann, who wrote Desiderata.
The Bible still teaches that if we bury our talent that it will die.
To paraphrase President Theodore Roosevelt who said “many of us live in the gray areas of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat.”