HAPPINESS: Find Joy in Simplicity


Aliker David Martin

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. -Leonardo Da Vinci

August 4th 2001, the Daily Monitor News paper reported that the new Vice President of Uganda Edward Sekandi is finding it hard to adjust to his new lifestyle. Hon. Sekandi served as a deputy Speaker and Speaker of Uganda’s parliament for the last 15 years. As speaker, he would visit his local barber and visit his local bar after office hours unhindered. He enjoyed self-drive and the company of taxi drivers; boda boda men (motor cycle taxi) who operate next to his private office.

Apparently as Vice President, he has lost this freedom and luxury of living a simple life. He has turned out to be an inconvenience to his friends and neighbors. His security detail has to visit every place he gets to before he arrives. He can’t drive self nor visit his barber or local bar any more. His security detail now thinks its risky to live his life they way he wants it anymore.

As a high school student, I still remember one of my greatest inspirations Dr. Lawrence Mukiibi’s (Principle St. Lawrence Schools and Colleges) advices to us on simplicity. He always said, “Simplicity is the magnanimity of ones soul”. While, Hon. Sekandi may not have a choice as Vice President, many of us have a choice to live a happy simple life. Just think about the digital clutter in our life. Today’s youths are always on phone or on internet that they lived without a few years ago and were happy. When is the last time we made ourselves a priority? We have the interest of others first before we can think of our selves. Every time, I am on the streets of Kampala city, every one seems in a hurry even when they could reach their destiny without a hassle. Why do we keep stressing ourselves with a deadline we could always take our times and still get it done? Why do we strive to buy the things we could do without and still make ourselves happy?

Happiness is a choice; all we have to do is choose to be happy. Over the years, I have realized society’s greatest role models are very simple people and live simple lives. Just imagine how many people would never know Wavamuno and James Mulwana if they ever met. Think of the simplicity of people like Ghandi who would just cloth themselves in sheets to resonate with his people because he believed his relationship with his people was the most important thing to him. People like Mother Theresa and Princess Diana are remembered for their simplicity among the many virtues they had. The Bible tells us those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled.

In life, many times too many dark clouds can block the most beautiful sunset. Happiness can be derived in simple things like reading a good book, taking a leisure walk, watching a movie, listening to music and being kind among many other passions in your life. Edwin Way Teale says, ”reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves”.

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