It's in my professional tag line, always at the fore-front of my efforts, my favorite word: simple. It's what I've distilled from the movements that proclaim "Lazy is good!" and "Working harder isn't working smarter!". I've always resonated with those ideas, but never completely agreed. Over the course of the last few years, I've done my very best to make "simple" my motto, in both my personal and professional lives.
Inspiration, Right Under My Nose
I've always ascribed to the previously mentioned methods of living laid back. Ask any of my college roommates. The only thing that boggled them more than the sheer amount of time I had to goof around or play video games was the deceptively spartan methods I used to maximize that time. It wasn't that I gave up sleep to study, or played audio lectures from my iPod every waking hour to force learning into my head. Rather, I cut the extraneous from the world around me.
From excess expenses like unnecessary text books to multi-tasking courses I knew didn't require full mental capacity, I made a point of keeping as much of my own time (by extension, money, effort, etc.) as I could. When I did work, I worked hard, and was proud of it.
After school wrapped up, I continued dabbling in part-time / freelance web development. Still learning a great deal with every project, and not yet able to "inter-webs" full time, I had to make the most of what time and skill I had. I began looking into frameworks, languages, content managements, and anything else that promised to be effective and impressive at the same time. Spoilers: I got confused, slowed down, and developed migraines attempting to keep up with everything.
Simple, Professional, Successful
By the time I started in on my first full time position, I had realized that complexity was my own worst enemy. If I had to spend more than a project's worth of time learning a system just so I knew what to spend even more time paring down and removing, it wasn't for me. Combine this with the boom in interest in responsive design at the time, and I had started to realize my affinity for the simple.
Want to build a web page in record time, with crazy fast loading, and a user interface that doesn't literally explode when you look at it wrong? Build it simply. Maybe you're a Foundation or other theme/framework evangelist, and you're welcome to that. Personally, I take bits and pieces (mostly in CSS, with graceful degradation) from bigger projects, and have a running file that starts most of my projects. It doesn't provide an infinitely variable grid, or sing a song when your website loads. It just makes sure everything is kept simple, will work on a screen of nigh any size, and has my regularly used tools close at hand. This file is rarely ever more than a couple hundred lines long, and sparse at that.
Now expand that, ad infinitum. Drama at work or with clients? Avoid it whenever possible. Don't be an instigator, and don't play someone else's game at your own expense. Whenever you're comfortably capable of doing so, shut that drama down. If you can't escape it and don't have enough sway to shut it down... are you sure you want to be there? Everyone's got to pay a certain due of quiet suffering, but it can be a lot less than you'd think.
My big picture is this: break things down to their simplest forms and take full advantage of that. No matter what you're looking at in life, it can be broken down into identifiable, individual parts. Strip the parts that can be stripped. Work with what's left to be efficient, and savor even the simplest pleasures to their fullest. Web design, relationships, life goals, you name it. Dream big, do great things, but in the act itself, keep it simple. You'll thank yourself every step of the way.