December 6, 2020

64. Living Simply


The Simple Life. One of those concepts that has a magical allure to it.

Wouldn’t we all just love to go and live the simple life, away from it all. You may find yourself at times, jumping on and looking at a semi regional property, or maybe mini farm of some sort and think “Wouldn’t it be great to just get away from the rat race?”

But there are pitfalls here. Living simply doesn’t necessarily mean stepping away from the world. It doesn’t mean not nailing life. In fact, it is a path to nailing life. In this episode we cover

  • what is living simply?
  • the principles or tricks you can apply in a modern, full life.

Right now 43% of families are considering a move to a more simple life, in this existential moment right now, in this crisis to say, well, how do we get back to basics, what’s most important?

That’s a tricky journey because you’ve got strings attached to your current life, which might have had so many positives. And then you’ve got this new life you want to move to, or maybe even just removing a few things and simplifying it.

Living simply changes according to the stage you actually are at. There is time when you’re a young person and your career has just started. You need to be really busy. You need to be engaged. You need to be building a career, building a life. Then there’s another time within your life when no, you’ve done that particular type of thing. And now your focus goes on to some other things.

It is a good starting to point to ask, what is core for me now at this stage within my life? What are the basic things? What do I need to carry with me on this part of the particular adventure as now.


Earlier this year Greg escaped in between all the lockdowns for a period of about four or five days where he went away with his two sons. “the three of us went away to the mountains in Victoria and it was freezing cold, but we just camped by a stream and it was just magic, four or five days. For those days I did not check my email once, I didn’t check social media once. I did not read a news headline for the entire time. It was just camping, riding bikes, sitting by the campfire, absolute simplicity. And my brain got time to just relax, to consider the world. I wasn’t feeding off new information. And that was just an example of going back to a really simple existence just for a short period. But boy, did I feel good when I came back. Just so much better and refreshed and re-energized to get away from some of the chaos of life.”

What this is about is looking at the addictive allure of, the rush of life, right? Which is a need to do everything, be everywhere, have lots.

Even if that isn’t your style and you do a bit of an audit of your life right now, you probably find you’ve got a lot of things that you’re doing as in, on your own or with your family if you’ve got one, kids, all different kinds of sports. The size of your house, the car, where you live, maybe got more than one or two things, like liabilities.

The research says that the more liabilities you have in life, the more complex things are. The bigger the house you’ve got, the bigger the mortgage you’ve got, the more you’ve got to work, which puts pressure on the mornings and the evenings or the holidays.


The world needs your contribution. If you’re not connected to the world, then that’s not wonderful. This is not a hippie in the hills a situation here. We’re not looking at that. We want to stay connected to our friends and keep our aspirations.

So this is spending serious time reviewing your life and all its commitments to determine what a more simple life can be that is more closely aligned to your core values and creates flow.

The image which comes to my mind is of a guy off on a long run and when you can see that they’re actually having fun. They’re running along, they’ve got a flow, it’s a beautiful day, they’re out there, pounding the actual path, as distinct from someone who’s on a treadmill and it’s go, go, go, go. And the treadmill is pushing them faster than what the person actually wants.
So I think what we’re talking about here is the first of those. It’s that the flow of the runner and things are in balance and they’re doing what they want to actually do, being what they want to be.

And often on Universal Man, we’ve often spoken about what is at the core. Pricey works with students in schools, and he has never heard a boy of 16 or 17 say, “gee, I wish we had four TVs in our house rather than three. I wish we had five cars out in the garage rather than three or four.” But he has heard them say over and over again, how much they love being over at Stradbroke Island with their dad teaching them how to surf. They loved that hike in the Bush. They loved that time they went to a theme park and they talk about that type of thing.


Many of you will find that breaking your life up into Chapters is a helpful tool to keeping it simple. In this chapter of your life, what are the simple choices now?
You can check out our episode on Executing your Life Vision for more detail on that:


The other little thing that I think is important is understanding the role that devices are playing in making life a bit too busy and hectic. A lot of people could very honestly say they haven’t been disconnected for more than a couple of days in 10 years. When you really look at it in the cold, hard light of day, there’s no reason to be like that.

Have you noticed that any downtime that people get, be it sitting on a train, on a tram, even stopping at the lights while the pedestrian crossing, the little man goes from red to green, while people are waiting for that, they’re checking their phone for news, social media.

And as a result, they just never stop this flow of information going into their head. Now, what has this got to do with living simply? Well, what it means is you’re not letting your brain just calm down. You’re making life more complex by thinking about things over and over and over again. So this is about the every day, the small moments of just not doing more, reading, more, adding more. Pick your times for that, as opposed to doing it all day. Greg has deleted all social media apps off my phone. And by doing that, has so much more time already to be around kids and family and his business in different ways.


“Less is more” is a concept that can be easily misunderstood. Because what it really… while it means you have more time to spend on just a few things and life is more simply, it also means “you do a few things and you do them exceptionally well”. So we keep our flow. Keep our goals.

And through that, you have a much better way of living, you get way better results, you just enjoy life more. Living simply doesn’t mean stepping away from the world. It doesn’t mean not nailing life. In fact, it is the path to nailing life.