I put this image out on Twitter yesterday and asked, ‘Is life really that simple?’. It received a real mixed reaction. What do you think?
P.S.: Winner of the goat caption competition will be announced tomorrow!


  1. i like this so much richard im writing it down in my luck journel thank you very much.. ps in which book did you say we learn as much from reading summaries as we do reading entire chapters? thanks bert

  2. This is life from the position of financial security. For many life is about struggling to meet basic needs.

    1. I think you are partly right about financial security although there isn’t really any such thing in absolute terms. If I had no family, I think the total absence of financial security would not be a barrier to this approach, but I choose to conceptualise and accept, as if real, my family responsibilities, so there are constraints. Still love this summary though.

    2. If you had no food and no roof over your head, then life is purely about meeting those needs. If you have a job you hate, but need the money to support home and family, then you don’t just give up the job, though you might go hunting for a more amenable job. Get past those basics and it’s a great philosophy.

    3. I agree. Did you see the ring on her finger ? It would be great if everyone was middle class then it might apply to everyone.

    4. That’s very true. As an uneducated mother, I could not follow my dream jobs because they either didn’t fit around the least expensive childcare options or my education level was insufficient. I was trapped in jobs that were either minimum wage or exploited and exhausted me. I’m very lucky to have my parents in a position to put me through an OU BSc and p/t PhD, and a husband to contribute to childcare. There are so many bright women holding up the foundations of UK businesses on minimum wage, without the support I have, who will never get beyond that until their eggs dry up and their children stop needing them (aged about 35 these days! 😉 ).

      Having said that, I do believe the other parts of the poster. I think the right person comes along when you stop putting pressures on relationships. When you always wonder ‘is this person dating/marriage/father/mother material?’ it can destroy things, or make you miss someone wonderful because you’re date all the time.

      Life’s happiness is about much more than money and career. My husband and I have been very unwell, physically, these last few years, but we’ve found happiness (on another issue it’s amazing how angry some people get when they see disabled people who are also happy–odd, huh?), in our family, community, friends and our hobbies. And even the poorest family living in a poor country experiencing hunger and death around them, can stop to enjoy a sunset and hug their children sometimes. Am I too simplistic.. maybe. I do think happiness in life can be self-generated.

      There’s a lot to be said for modern standards of happiness brining us down (see image). http://www.earthisland.org/eijournal/winter2012/images/larger/Cartoon.jpg

  3. Although I’m reluctant to sort people into categories, the David Keirsey Temperament Sorter suggests that there 4 main personality types:
    Guardians (40% to 45% of the population) – dependable, hard working and loyal
    Idealists (15% – 20%) – focused on human potential and building relationships
    Artisans (30% – 35%) – highly creative, fun loving and spontaneous
    Rationals (5% – 10%) – skeptical, slef-contained and focused on problem solving.

    I think you could make a reasonable argument that the ‘Secret of Life’ set out on the poster is more likely to be relevant to some personality types than others.

    1. The problem is that people are mixtures and most display mixtures of multiple categories.

  4. Lots these are “generally true”, which is not as true as physical laws. For example: “if you don’t have enough time, stop watching tv” and “If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They’ll be waiting for you when you start doing things you like.” Those are absolutely not always true. It’s a bit like the book of Proverbs.

    This thing is only about one aspect of life: it is more or less a manual to find personal happiness. But to answer the question: no, life isn’t that simple. Do these things when it’s possible, but also help those who are not able to do these things. One example of what it’s missing is responsibility. “If you don’t like something, change it.” “If you don’t like your job, quit”. Yes, but I would certainly not always recommend that…

  5. If human life could be summed up in so few words, it wouldn’t have taken almost 4 billion years to evolve…

    1. “If you don’t like something, change it.”
      Trying to change things out of your control is a great way to make yourself miserable.

  6. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him… The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself… All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”, said George Bernhard Shaw.
    So, the only thing missing in the picture is: “BE UNREASONABLE!”

    1. Inasmuch as I respect George Bernard Shaw, I’m not won over by this quote. Look around you: unreasonable people abound, but there doesn’t seem to be much progress.

    1. I think you have it the wrong way around. Life is hard but people it simple (in their minds). Life is in fact complex.

    1. Too long; didn’t read. Tux might rephrase the line to: ‘If you don’t have enough time, stop reading blogs’

  7. Good advice, for those privileged enough to follow it. It’s completely devoid of an understanding of some of the profound difficulties many people face every day.

    But it’s good if you’re an upper-middle class first world citizen that doesn’t suffer from some debilitating condition.

  8. tis true, yesterday in Glasgow, it was belting down with rain, and I mean it was REALLY coming down, and 2 girls went out in it and they started dancing, everyone n the cafe was smiling and commenting on what its like to be young, and I thought its nothing to do with being young, its never forgetting how the simplest of things can make you feel great, even watching them was lovely, I wish I had taken a video of it, really lovely, life is all about LOVE, love for people, love for the trials we face and beat, showing kindness, just loving the fact that the chances of each individual being even being here is astronomical….next time it rains I will think of those girls dancing.

  9. I think it is a wonderful ideal to keep in mind at all times, but sometimes bad things happen to good people and that can cause hardships. Those hardships can be easier to deal with if you keep “the secrets to life” in mind, but nonetheless, life can deal you some blows that can keep you from traveling often, doing what you love, and living your dream.

  10. One of my friends has this line in her email signature : “Life is very short, so try to: Love truly, Laugh openly, Learn daily, Dance freely, Help selflessly and Forgive quickly”

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