zen habits : breathe

Opt Out: A Simplicity Manifesto

By Leo Babauta

Our lives become filled, even controlled, by the things we think we need to do.

We think we can’t live without these things, but actually, we can.

We can opt out.

Think about how busy our lives have become. Think about how distracted we’ve become. Think about how many things needlessly pull on our attention, our time, our money, our sanity.

We have let these things overcome us, but in fact, we have a choice. We can become conscious, we can choose to do and consume and need less.

It’s the simplest way to simplify our lives: we simply opt out.

Some examples — note that I don’t think these are all evil. I only think we can reconsider:

These are just some ideas. You don’t have to opt out of all of these, or any. Find your own path — these ideas were just things to consider.

Living the Simple Life

So what’s left after we’ve opted out of social media and online addictions, shopping and advertising, and the ways that most people live?

We become weirdos! In the best way.

But seriously, once we opt out of the norm … our lives are wide open. Our possibilities are staggering.

Imagine waking up and being free to do anything. You could sell everything and travel the world with a backpack. You could start a business on a shoestring budget, building something meaningful. You could read more, take long walks, go on a bike trip, take classes and meet new people, teach something online, finally write that book you’ve been meaning to write, finally learn to draw, paint, play music, speak a new language, dance.

Or you could do nothing. Just sit. Be content with the world, as it is.

The point isn’t to opt out of life. It’s to see that life is much more than we dare to believe it can be.

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