Be a Simpleton

A few months ago I travelled to Malaysia as part of a trip centred around South East Asia and Australia. The trip came at an interesting point in my life – a personal crossroads. I was shedding an old version of me and exploring a new version, one with fresh eyes and eager hopes of a path which would promise deeper fulfilment in my life.

I was experimenting with new ideas, hobbies, and ways of life. At the same time, I was closing some doors to elements of myself that no longer served me, or that had simply run their course. I have spoken openly in a previous post about my driving need to accomplish and my recognition of a flaw in my own personality. I readily offer this information to anyone interested, as I feel that self-exploration, identification, and acknowledgement can work wonders in terms of healing and progress. Speaking openly also brings those that you love closer to you. After all, we all thrive on meaningful and authentic communication, and a frank exchange can be quite cathartic.

My flaw was an over-charged solar plexus. I was highly competitive, ambitious, and above all – impatient. In other words, I was so hungry for life and driven by the need to achieve and gain that I neglected other areas of existence, often at the expense of others and even myself. Habits are often hard to completely change, and I cannot say I have fully exorcised myself of this ghoul, but I realised that I was very much motivated to travel as far as I could, visit as many countries as I could, and absorb as many cultures and experiences as humanly possible – all to satisfy my insatiable hunger for more.


The Petronas Towers, two equally tall skyscrapers reaching high into the heavens, seemingly in competition with one another, but adjoined by a narrow walkway.


Our trip to the far-flung corner of the world included stopovers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. However, it was in Kuala Lumpur that I met ‘Happy Yen’.

Happy Yen offers a Self Awareness in the Rainforest tour. Rebecca and I had only two nights in Kuala Lumpur before our flight back to London, but we somehow managed to fit in this one-day expedition into the muggy Malaysian rainforest. During the day we travelled to the beautiful waterfalls at Sungai Chilling and swam in the rivers which arct as a fish sanctuary in the Selangor region.

Happy Yen spoke to us about the symbiotic nature of the world around us, how a fallen tree trunk may offer a home to ants or a way for creeping vines to reach sunlight. How water seeks the path of least resistance, and how nature creates and sustain all forms. In just a short day’s trip, I was shown what Taoism means in a practical and visceral way, and it was capped off by the lovable Yen’s erudite catchphrase.

Be Happy. Be a Simpleton.

Being a ‘Simpleton’ does not carry the same meaning as it does in English slang. Rather it means the opposite and offers its own wisdom. It is an acronym which can be used to usher in greater personal peace, a set of simple rules and reminders to bring forth the harmony that can be found in the natural world and allow that symbiosis to bloom within you.

I would like to share his words with you today.

S – Smile! Smiling makes you happier, and it is much easier than frowning.

I – Believe in yourself, the immoveable ‘I’ that is within us all. Be your own champion.

M – Money. Be mindful of how you spend, and take only what you need. Avoid excess.

P – Practice peace. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

L – Love yourself and love one another. It is quite simple. 

E – Educate. Learn! Read! Fill your being with knowledge and wisdom, and share it.

T – Truth. Be true to yourself. It’s hard remembering lies, and it gets you nowhere.

O – Oneness. Make time for yourself. Reflect on your day. Meditate.

N – Nature (my favourite). Be outside, do what makes you happy. Live in the NOW.

Being a ‘Simpleton’ really is quite simple, but I like how relatable and useful the message is. In many ways, it reminds me of flowing water. Water teaches us to go with the flow, to move forward, without looking back. It teaches us to make the best of the situation and to live in the now. We create our own destiny but must be willing to learn and help others along the way.

We returned from the jungle and packed our bags with one eye on the looming Petronas building just outside our hotel window. The dualistic nature of the two towers holds a symbolic meaning for me now. Two giants reaching boldly to the sky, the competing personalities, the marriage of old and the new, the ignorant and the wise, and the little bridge connecting the two.

Credit goes to Happy Yen. Thank you for your wonderful lessons! You can check out his website below.

Happy Yen’s Self Awareness in the Rainforest


What has Nature taught you? Reply below!

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3 thoughts on “Be a Simpleton”

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