A biscuit factory had a peculiar problem. A lot of e packets emerged from the packing machine empty. A group of engineers and managers studied the problem and came up with an alarm that rang every time an empty packet landed on the final tray. One day on a visit to the factory the CEO saw a fan directed at the place where the packets fell out. He discovered that old Jake found it too tedious to leave his seat and pick up the cartons each time the alarm rang, so he had placed the fan strategically to blow away the empty packets!
What a simple solution, yet no one had thought of it.
Life today has become very complicated and we seem to revel in the fact! Simple solutions, simple techniques and a simple lifestyle are no longer the ‘in thing’. The age-old saying ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ has changed to ‘Slow and steady loses the race, fast and furious is the pace’.
We claim to have simplified our lives and made them easy with the discovery and invention of hundreds of gadgets, within the home, at work and for travel. Yet when you ask anyone if they are enjoying life and have enough time to relax and have fun they look at you strangely. In this modern day and age, relax?
We move from school to tuition, to some extra-curricular activity. Rush, rush, rush – that seems to be the key word. I have advised you through this column to cut down the pace and focus on self study and efficient management of time. Simplifying our lives does not mean doing nothing, lagging behind in adapting to change or going back to the Stone Age. It means doing away with many of the useless appendages that we seem to be addicted to. When we were young our parents knew where we were and what time we would return home, we could meet our friends at a predetermined time – without a mobile phone. We could travel without a driver and a car or a fancy bike. We could communicate with our loved ones without Facebook, WhatsApp and Google Plus. Dear readers, I am not for a minute criticising or underestimating the use of these handy tools. I urge you not to make them the centre of your very existence.
We have forgotten how to communicate face to face with our dear ones. Studies have shown that social interaction is being cut down and people are becoming more self-centred and isolated because of their obsession with the Internet. Our memories have started failing because we do not need to remember any numbers, days, dates; our handwriting can no longer reflect our character because we type our letters.
We live in a world where we claim to have bridged distances, but we do not cross the corridor to meet our neighbour. We claim that life is easier for all, but stress and anxiety levels, suicides and cases of depression are rising at an alarming rate. We have treadmills and cross-trainers and organic food and low calorie diets, yet diabetes and heart problems are on the increase. We will soon have a generation with bent heads that never look up, absorbed as they are with texting and games on their latest gizmos!
We need to simplify our thoughts, actions and style of life. We need to be able to say No to things we do not need. We need to be proud of our ability to walk or cycle to our school or workplace, rather than feel ashamed that we have no swanky car. We need to reach out to real friends, not depend on virtual interaction.
Simplicity means believing that we are no less if we have less! For as Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’
Readers, if you have questions related to your life or life skills send a mail to Indira Aiyer and she will certainly have a response for you.