Is the Simple Life Right for You? Quiz

Many of us yearn for plain, simple surroundings where our basic needs are supplied in very simple ways. But there are always trade-offs. There is a paradox that comes along with simplicity: choosing a simpler life usually entails more activity on your part.

Given the sort of person you are and the sorts of things you enjoy, do you think simplifying your life physically would yield you greater pleasure? Here is a quiz that will show if a radically, physically simple life would work well for you:

1. Would you delight in the extra exercise and sensual experience involved in, for example, chopping wood, riding a bicycle, kneading dough, sweeping, using a pole lathe, hand-sanding old furniture?

2. Does reading about people doing those sorts of things or seeing pictures of them give you a feeling of excitement, pleasure or envy?

3. Do you feel a yearning for more exertion and the kind of weariness that comes at the end of a day of physical labor?

4. At those times in your life when you have done that sort of work, or when you have shaped something by hand instead of buying it, did that feel especially satisfying to you?

5. Do you go camping and enjoy the simplicity of a tent and a campfire (or even a caravan) and then find yourself slightly averse to all the demands of a modern house when you return?

6. Do you love taking trips to places far away from telephones and television, where mobile phones don’t work?

7. Were you a boy scout or a girl guide and do you remember, with pleasurable nostalgia, what fun it was to go tracking, to make campfires, collect firewood, make “gadgets” by lashing sticks together?

8. Do you enjoy gardening? Cooking? Sewing? Crafts?

If you said “yes” to all or most of these questions, you are a likely candidate for radical, physical simplicity. If you said “no” to most of them, you will need to think carefully before implementing anything which simplifies your life physically. You must watch that you don’t simplify in ways which will create chores you later come to resent. Or chores which, one day, you may be physically unable to do. (If osteo-arthritis sets in, will you still be able to chop wood and ride your bike?)

Adapted from The Lilypad List, by Marian Van Eyk McCain (Findhorn Press, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by Marian Vn Eyk McCain. Reprinted by permission of Findhorn Press.
Adapted from The Lilypad List, by Marian Van Eyk McCain (Findhorn Press, 2004).


Chrissie R
Chrissie R1 months ago

Living off the grid!!!

Frances Darcy
Frances D4 years ago

yes to 5 out out 8, ...only twice spent a few nights in a caravan and was happy to return to modern house...could do without phones but not tv.......not a girl=guide but did a little outdooring with my children.

Ana Passos
Ana Passos5 years ago

I'm fit!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

I've done the simple life. lighting fires, no washing machine, just a boiler. etc.. Hanging out the washing.All on top of a full-time job! Now I have time to enjoy life. No more heavy work.!!

Lydia Price

A simple life is a lot harder than a modern convenient one. One thing it does offer is the enormous sense of self-satisfaction of a job well done. A simple, basic life puts you in touch with your primal origins and can make you more aware that every day of your life is a blessing. Go for it! But don't make a religion out of it. If you need modern conveniences and must revert back to them, you at the very least have the benefit from your attempts at simplifying and appreciate your own lifestyle all the more. It's a win/win situation.

Laurel Rockefeller
Laurel R5 years ago

Jose: I'm a living history re-creator in the Society for Creative Anachronism (600-1600 CE). there is no reason to be jealous of the neat stuff we make and enjoy in the SCA--it's easy to join, branches are world wide, and you learn to do some really useful and fun stuff. I have dumped pre-made acrylic yarn since I learned to spin with a drop spindle about 2 years ago. I invested in a beautiful, well balanced oak spindle (I'm Irish; oak is sacred to the Irish) and can spend hours spinning when I get in the mood. It takes years to get the sort of perfection seen in machine spun yarn, but my wool is all natural and the uneven yarn has a beauty unto itself. if you are interested. I have an article about spinning online if anyone wants to see photos and learn a bit about it:

Laurel Rockefeller
Laurel R5 years ago

I don't think simplifying has to be quite this radical. You don't have to do EVERYTHING yourself to have a simplier life. Just changing ONE area will do it. For example, I suffer from some severe allergies to ingredients commonly thrown into processed foods. the best solution here for my health: learn to make these foods myself. I do have problems with this: no one has taught me that level of cooking. All the TV chefs use my allergen HEAVILY in their food (onion is the big one for me). So finding onion free alternatives and foods I will actually eat has been very hard. Even trying to bake my own breads; everything I bake takes horrible to me! Cooking from scratch is the one area of simplifying you can do ANYWHERE--urban or rural. But we need better home ec and culinary educations to do it. I'm sure I'm not alone in struggling to find make at home foods my pallate will accept!

Carol P.
Carol P5 years ago

Thanks. A good reminder to keep it simple.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Loo S.
Loo sam7 years ago

i love simple life, only the chores, not physically fit.