The concept of ‘less is more’ on first hearing appears to be a contradiction in terms. How can less equal more? It’s interesting to note that in our pursuit of progress, modernity has literally thrown the baby out with the bath water. So many of the ancient traditions embraced values and principles that were timeless and would serve us well in the modern world had we not, in our arrogance, thought we knew better! The ancient yogis of India immersed themselves in this concept of less is more. For them this was not a contradiction in terms, it was an essential ingredient for greater quality of life. They realised that to expend a lot of energy trying to reach one’s goals was not the way to achieve peace of mind and happiness. True contentment lies in a simple, clear and focused life, a life that treads thoughtfully and carefully on the planet.
The idea that less is more is actually quite straightforward and simple. The less one does, the more successful one is likely to be. The reason for this is anchored in understanding the laws of energy. The more thinly we spread our energy performing different tasks the less likely we are to give those tasks the best of ourselves. When we spread ourselves too thinly then quality is sacrificed in the name of quantity. It is a myth to believe that by doing more we are likely to achieve greater dividends. In fact, the opposite is true. The more we do the less likely we are to be successful, simply because we are unable to invest the same energy and time into the tasks. It’s all about focus and concentration. One simply can’t focus on a greater number of things with the same intensity and concentration as one can focus on a fewer number. This eternal truth, ‘less is more’ helps us understand that greater quality is more likely to be achieved when the quantity of what we do is reduced.
If we looked to our ancestors more we could bring the best of antiquity into our modern world. They understood that it was better to spend time in quiet reflection and be sure about the course of action one is taking before plunging into action. They knew that activity itself had no wisdom. Wisdom comes from right action and right action comes from a state of quiet introspection. As a result one is true to oneself, whilst pursuing a path that does not exploit others or oneself. Taking the time to look within and consider the outcome of one’s decisions, leads to better outcomes.
A culture of haste only propagates waste. Look around you, what do you see? Are you caught up in this rat-race? Is it not better to sacrifice quantity to ensure quality? So, as you rush about your life trying to do too many things, almost certainly failing at more things than you would like, ask yourself, are you pursuing the right course of action? Have you stopped and thought clearly enough about the best way forward? Or are you simply reacting to circumstances and events with no real plan of action? (See Define or Be Defined). Less is more is not a contradiction in terms, it is a deep and profound principle needed now more than ever!
If you truly understand this simple truth you’ll be compelled to re-invent your life by looking at how you use your time, energy and resources. Sit still regularly and work out where you’re going, and what your ideal future looks like. Until you have a vision of where you’re heading you’re unlikely to get there (see Miracles are Made and Invocation). It is equally true that without applying the principles of ‘less is more’ you are unlikely to have the fuel to achieve the dreams of your heart.