Before becoming a best-selling author, Elaine St. James was a real estate investor. Balancing her career, family life and social obligations became a chore. One day, she realized that her life was too complicated.
She was out of balance and needed to simplify her lifestyle. By eliminating physical and mental clutter she was able to focus on what mattered most in her life.
St. James compiled her practices in a book and titled it Simplify Your Life, never realizing the impact her personal choices would have on others. One hundred simple little essays changed the American perception of what was most important in life. Suddenly, people had less and were much happier because of it. Even the queen of all book purchases, Oprah Winfrey, has stated, "Elaine, you're our role model."
So what has this author said that's so important? Allow me to show you 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter.
Simplify Your Life is composed of 100 suggestions divided into eight sections. The titles of these chapters easily convey the subjects covered.
One: Your Household
Two: Your Lifestyle
Three: Your Finances
Four: Your Job
Five: Your Health
Six: Your Personal Life
Seven: Special Issues for Women
Eight: Hard-Core Simplicity
When reading this book, it becomes clear just how easy these suggestions are. ("Stop being a slave to your Day Runner." or "Run all your errands in one place.") With several of the entries, the author illustrates her points with suggestions for further reading by other writers.
Why do people need to read this book? Because they don't realize that their lives are complicated. They are so busy running from the cleaners to the store to the church meeting that they don't even have time to step back and examine their schedules. The author points out the obvious to people that are too busy to see it themselves.
There are places where I feel St. James should have gone further in depth. I'm just of the opinion that the people that need this book the most could stand a little extra encouragement that deeper discussions could provide. Then again, that would make the book less simple, wouldn't it?
I also noticed that Ms. St. James might be at different income and social levels than her readers. She discusses how she and her husband moved across country so they could live and work in the same town (Santa Barbara, CA). If I had the means to drop everything and move to the beach, I'd gladly do so, too, in search of a simpler schedule. Unfortunately, the game of life is a slightly different for us po' folks.
All whining aside, Simplfy Your Life is a beneficial little book if you choose to make it work. Readers must be willing to change and sacrifice for the sake of a happier life. It may be hard to simplify eating habits (#57) at first, but it will eventually become second nature. This can be said for most of the 100 suggestions here.
Naturally, everybody won't be able to perform every lesson. Some simply won't apply or are not an option. The key is for readers to find what pertains to them and focus on those areas.
Simplify Your Life can be read two different ways, and arguments can be made for either choice. Reading the book a few pages at a time allows the reader to ingest each lesson slowly and carefully. Charging though the book cover to cover, as I did, gives the reader an inspirational sermon effect. I felt recharged and ready to change.
Life passes us by so quickly. It's unfortunate that many people are too busy to stop and recognize the beauty all around us. With her book, St. James is helping readers eliminate needless clutter and focus on what's important. Not only can you Simplify Your Life, but you just may live longer to enjoy it as well.