The Economics of Simplicity

A couple of years ago an old friend of mine, laughed at the fact that I was regularly driving to the gym to run on a running machine.  I have often thought of how ludicrous  that idea was and have since given up my gym membership.

I used to get my gym clothes ready, drive to the gym, search for a parking space, go to the locker rooms to change, stretch, run, maybe do a little weights, take a bath (I live in Japan) get dressed, drive home. A 30 or 40 minute run often took me a couple of hours.  If I met up with an acquaintance or friend, I might be talking for another half an hour or so.  Friendship and socializing are certainly important but it does still strike me as as foolish way to live.

For the most part, our working lives have become so physically undemanding that we actually have to pay a company to provide machines to exercise on. Isn’t that a little silly?

It gets worse, I have noticed that same pattern in all areas of my life.

Buy a new car >> Drive more >> Exercise Less >> Get out of shape >> Go to the gym.

Buy a bigger house >> Waste time and money shopping for more furniture >> Spend more time cleaning and doing yard work >> Requires more work, to make more money, to buy more things

I would have been much better off without a car. If I cycled everywhere like my university days, I would still be in shape. Money has afforded the luxury of a car and taxi rides when needed but at the cost of physical deterioration. These equations do not even factor the environmental footprint I have left in the wake of my wanton consumption.

I should have never moved to a bigger house. All the time and money I have wasted in in acquiring the house and all the new furniture could have been much better spent with friends or on cool projects.

All the conveniences of modern life that I have consumed haven’t made me a better person. Quite the contrary, they have made me physically and intellectually slothful. I want to consume less and I want to live more. I want to have excellence thoughts and excellent experiences. Excellent things do not happen in shopping malls.

Here is another cycle we commonly experience.

Work in the city in a job you hate>> Go out for lunch everyday >> Eat something unhealthy >> Drive more and spend more money >> Get out of shape >> Live like a zombie throughout the week >> Feel unhealthy and unsatisfied.

What would happen if the process were reversed?

Consume less >> Require less money >> Work less >> Use the free time to gain more skills >> Work on higher paying but less time consuming projects >> Keep expenses low >> Invest more time into personal experiences, training and relationships >> Enjoy life more!

Grow my own vegetables and herbs>>Eat healthier>> Have regular relaxation and meditative time>>Feel better physically and mentally

Ride a bicycle for transportation >> Stay in Shape at virtually no cost >>Appreciate the commute much more.

Success is not a fancy house with a wine cellar and a BMW in the garage. Success is more time with friends and family and working on cool things that excite me.

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

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