In today’s complex world simplicity has become almost an unheard of thing .Writers, speakers, and teachers all tend to speak complex things beyond a common man’s easy apprehension .Many learned people today cannot construct a simple sentence or speak straight. There is an old saying-If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

In our mode of dressing, hairstyle, eating habits etc. we have become somewhat complicated. We Indians have thrown away our old dhotis for more fashionable things. Confucius once said that Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

India is in fact the land where a large number of people lived a simple life. Gandhiji’s simplicity for example is well known. He used his wooden Charkas for weaving threads and making clothes. Later as we know, Nehru followed his steps.

It would be futile to think we can ever meet a simpler man than Mahatma Gandhi in history. Despite being a scholar and a great leader his way of dressing, style of living, teachings, and writings were very simple. “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things” says great Isaac Newton.

Lal Bhadur Shastri never used his official car for personal travel. His son had to stand in a common queue like any ordinary Indian citizen to seek admission in a university. APJ Abdul Kalam had neither a car nor a house of his own. He always spoke in simple words which even kids understand easily. William Golding says “The greatest ideas are the simplest.”

Simplicity is probably the greatest virtue for many of the national leaders in India.

Boris Johnson, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Great Britain, uses a most ordinary bicycle instead of a motorcade to get to his workplace.

The man who established the Apple, Mr. Steve Jobs naturally was a millionaire. He wore a simple attire of jeans, black turtleneck, white sneakers and lived in a modest house. Like in the great saying he believed simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leo Tolstoy says in War and Peace “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” Albert Einstein said “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”

Simple Living?

Herbert A. Simon, in his book The Sciences of the Artificial says “Human beings, viewed as behaving systems, are quite simple. The apparent complexity of our behavior over time is largely a reflection of the complexity of the environment in which we find ourselves.”

We should lead a life straight and simple. We need to bring simplicity in our activities, eating habits, dwelling .We need to mold up our way of thinking. Each one of us may have our own distinct version of simplicity and that is quite understandable. “Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.” says Edger Wybe.

Simple Living means different for each individual, depending on our set of values, cultural background etc. However, there could be some basic similarities and common denominators among those who have chosen to integrate simplicity in their everyday lives.

Talk Simple Facts Straight

The ability to talk in simple words and convey your ideas in a lucid and clear manner is a rare virtue. As you become more and more educated the tendency is to shift into some kind of complexity. There are many speakers who appear to have lost the art of speaking simple. We are reminded of what E.F. Schumacher said “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

Simple Attire

We may be wearing a suit but think for a while how elegant one would look in a white jubbah and dhoti. How elegant the ladies will look in a simple white sari with a thin color border.


If you are constructing a house you can go for a smaller space and fill it with simple decorations avoiding luxury. Town planners can go for simpler structures rather than complex and expensive ones with less utility.


Simple food habits make you healthier. In some parts of Japan people live in villages eating only select foods they produce themselves and they have the longevity records.

Simplify Activities

There are people who take up a large number of activities some of which may not be really necessary for them. Some people do also multitasking, never able to properly concentrate in any one thing. The result is tension, fatigue and frustration when the time schedule is not met. Let us have simple achievable goals and pursue them with all the vigor and attention.

Simplify Daily Chores And Routine

Have some leisure. Living with a more flexible and light daily routine is much less stressful. Never feel your success would depend on your maintaining a crammed schedule. At your own simple pace too you can be productive and gain accomplishments.

Simple Emotions And Feelings

It is important that you are not holding on to emotions and feelings that are non-productive and negative. Let us not worry much about others and concentrate simply on your life and priorities. Do not complicate your strategies by following your colleagues. Think simple; Act simple is the mantra.

Feelings are a natural part of the human existence. The simple part of this is to learn not to hold on too long to the negative feelings and not to internalize. Cling on to the positive feelings.

Simplifying Spending

The moment you step into a mall you see a large number of things big and small, most of which have less utility. People who embrace simple living do not fall prey for the spending craze and consumerism based lifestyle.

The Tradition Of The Sages

We have in our country a great tradition dating back to centauries for leading the life in simplicity. Many of our sages led a nomadic life lived on fruits and simple food wore loin clothes and immersed themselves in great Vedantic knowledge. “The role of genius is not to complicate the simple, but to simplify the complicated.” says Criss Jami. Sages had a tremendous level of understanding about the elements in nature and taught people in simple words. In traditional Indian villages people usually led a life of good health and longevity being in total harmony with the nature. Many thinkers believe that the natural rhythm of life and simplicity alive in the villages was a continuation of the Indian legacy.

Today what is happening even in villages people are saying goodbye to simple living. No doubt there is no harm in taking advantages of the latest developments in technology .But would you like to make your life complex is the question. Do we leave out which are not essential? We should never put into oblivion the sages’ vision. The sound aspects and the foundation of traditional village life are not to be scoffed at or abandoned.

Sages like Swami Vivekananda, have given us great lessons of good living and simplicity.

Simple At Heart, Mind, Body, And Soul

By understanding the scriptures and following the true example of Jesus one can learn simplicity. We must reach that level of simplicity gained by living a life less complicated, leaving out the complexities of the modern living and find freedom in that simplicity irrespective of what religion we follow. “Complex things are easy to do. Simplicity’s the real challenge” says Robert Waller.

The blessings of meekness, humility and simplicity enrich the realm of human thought and human reasoning and it enables a new way of thinking and transformation. The more seriously we approach the theme of simplicity, and imbibe those virtues, the more convinced we become of its immense intrinsic value. What more, we get the great reward of a happy and joyful life, free from the tensions and mental tortures brought about by leading a complicated life. “Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great” says Emerson.


About the Author

Jose Vazhuthanapilly, BSc., LLB, DBM, CAIIB Retired in 2008 as AGM from State Bank of India. He had worked as a visiting faculty in the Bank’s Staff Training Centers for 5 years. He is a writer with 20 books to his credit including books on self-help / psychology. He resides in Ernakulam, Kochi. He is active also in social service. He can be contacted at


  • Prasangakarkkulla Kadhakal – St. Paul’s Books, Eranakulam
  • EQ – Vyakti Jeevitham Mikavuttathakkam – Sophia Books, Calicut
  • Atma Viswasathinte Karuthu Nedam – Sophia Books, Calicut
  • Mano Sankharshangale Keezhadakkan Chila Prayogika Margangal – Media House, Calicut
  • Vijayam Ningalude Ullil Thanneyanu – Vimala Books

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Jose VazhuthanapillyBSc., LLB, DBM, CAIIB Retired in 2008 as AGM from State Bank of India. He had worked as a visiting faculty in the Bank’s Staff Training Centers for 5 years. He is a writer with 22 books to his credit including books on self-help/ psychology. He resides in Ernakulam, Kochi. He is active also in social service. He can be contacted at


  • Prasangakarkkulla Kadhakal (St. Paul’s Books, Ernakulam)
  • EQ – Vyakti Jeevitham Mikavuttathakkam (Sophia Books, Calicut)
  • Atma Viswasathinte Karuthu Nedam (Sophia Books, Calicut)
  • Mano Sankharshangale Keezhadakkan Chila Prayogika Margangal (Media House, Calicut)
  • Vijayam Ningalude Ullil Thanneyanu (Vimala Books)
  • Fulton Sheeninte Jeevitham (Carmel International Publishing House)
  • Matti Varakkam Jeevitham ( Jeevan Books)
  • Vivaham Kootti Vilakkam (Media House)
Titles in English
  • Torrential Bliss-Practical Wisdom for Happy Living-Kindle Books.
  • (Articles originally published in Daily Brunch)
  • Know your e-kid-A parenting Guide-Kindle Books
  • (Articles originally published in Daily Brunch)
Read more from the author