The Crowning Reward

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” – Frederic Chopin

Whether life imitates art or art imitates life I cannot be sure, but one thing I do know is that simplicity is the pinnacle of all artistic expression. In my professional life as well as in my writing time one of my central aspirations is to find the simplest, cleanest, most elegant way to get the job done.

Life is simple. We tend to make it complicated through a variety of bad habits, two of which stand out to me this morning. The first is the tendency to focus on the voids in our worlds, that is, to emphasize through either longing for or complaining about that which is missing in our lives. Life is so much simpler, and easier when you emphasize and appreciate that which you have at present.

The second is the tendency to use negatives in speech and writing. Life is cleaner, more straightforward when you speak and write in the affirmative. For example, say what you believe in, rather than what you don’t believe in or what you like, rather than what you don’t like. Emphasize the presences, not the absences. This change alone can have a tremendous impact on your outlook and your experience of life.

Listen to yourself today. If you find yourself focusing on what is lacking or on what is wrong, do a little spring cleaning, turn the tables and see what happens! My guess is that life will reveal just how simple it is when you’re not busy cluttering it up with unnecessary physical, emotional and spiritual clutter.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

9 thoughts on “The Crowning Reward

  1. Steve Ventola

    It has been said that Abraham Lincoln as an attorney was prolifically involved in court cases that he refined his speaking skills to a very succinct way of saying things.
    I appreciate your encouragement to focus on the affirmative on what we like and believe in. I can see as we do this prolifically our lives will be an affirmative for life pure and simple.


  2. Lucy Cera

    I love your statement that simplicity is the pinnacle of artistic expression. Like Sanskrit or a haiku, isn’t it so wonderful and powerful when the purest essence of something true is captured and expressed? Great post!!


  3. Colin

    We often frame our lives in a needlessly complicated way by putting filters in between ourselves and how things really are. I think that these two habits you describe in this post are two filters that are very pervasive and subtle; i.e. most people wouldn’t even realize they are doing it. However, when you point them out and give us the opportunity to rip them off, it is very apparent how much they color our view. I’ll bet there are so many more changes to be made like this, because making these changes makes life such a simpler place.


  4. Vincent

    I was just thinking about the present political discourse in our country in terms of the two matters you highlighted here. Yikes!! Simply put, enough said!


  5. Kimberly

    Interesting post. Simplicity in writing is much easier to read. I find some writers style more pleasant to read. I even feel I can grasp their intention more fully when the style is straightforward.
    I’m not sure why complicated has been somewhat revered or seen as more intelligent. I’ve thought that perhaps it’s like smoke and mirrors. It also can be difficult to say to someone I don’t understand what your point is. In a group it can be like “The Emperors New Clothes” all of a sudden others will admit they didn’t understand either. As the song says…” ’tis a gift to be simple …”


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