My friend Harry gave me a copy of an out-of-print book from the 1950s that includes a chapter called “Simplicity and Sincerity.” The chapter is actually very short and doesn’t explain much, but the title of the chapter has stuck with me since the first time I saw it.
After taking notice of it, I’ve come to see how simplicity and sincerity are profoundly connected. The choice to live simply isn’t one of denial or exclusion, but rather one of being sincere in all of your actions.
Take for example an offer to sit on the board of a local charity. You might think that the charity does good work. You might want the charity to succeed. You might feel honored that the organization thought of you as a leader. You might even volunteer in single-day events a few times a year. But, if you don’t sincerely wish to partake in all of the meetings, planning, cultivating, and financial development that a position on a board requires, then you would decline the offer. Accepting the position would be insincere, both to you and the organization. In addition to wishing that you were doing something else with your time, you’d be depriving the organization of a board member who would be sincerely committed to participating.
I think about physical objects in a similar fashion. If I sincerely do not wish to put forth the effort to properly maintain and care for the item, then I don’t bring it into my home.
Being sincere with your actions makes it easier to live simply.