Simple Living High Thinking – Proverb Meaning and Expansion of idea


The proverb ‘simple living high thinking’ promotes simplicity of life and high thoughts in morale and in conduct. It teaches us to adopt a simplistic approach towards our standard of living. We shouldn’t be trying to display our opulence and materialistic possessions everywhere and to everyone; rather we should be more concerned about our own moral highness and purity of thoughts because that is what actually matters.

Expansion of idea

The proverb simple living and high thinking is the one that encourages us to make our lives more meaningful rather than affluent. Here a simple way of living refers to a simple and non-expensive standard of living. We should be worried about only the very basic needs essential for a living. For example, a diet consisting of simple non-vegetarian food and a modest house is enough for one to live and stay. Above these basic needs whatever we aspire is our greed, but not need.

The phrase ‘high thinking’ in the proverb refers to the purity and highness of thoughts and deeds. More than making our lives affluent, we should be more concerned about its value and worth. It is our thoughts and deeds and their impacts on others that matters the most. Thinking that is devoid of cruelty, jealousy, hatred, and is filled with love and respect is superior to a rich yet corrupt life.

Short Stories on ‘Simple Living High Thinking’

A well-written story on the proverb ‘simple living and high thinking’ will let you better understand the proverb’s meaning. I am giving below a couple of stories for your knowledge, also to help you better understand the proverb.

Short Story 1

Once lived a doctor in a remote Indian village. His name was Dr. Pramod. He was highly qualified and aluminous of a prestigious medical college. For years the doctor had been serving the people of the village in sickness and disease. He lived in a modest hut that had a fan, a bed, and electricity; though, he had a big garden, where he liked to spent time.

Dr. Pramod looked immensely satisfied with his life and was happy about what he does every day. Once, a news reporter was in the village to cover a political issue. The reporter heard about the doctor and was impressed by the respect villagers were giving to the doctor. The reporter decided to meet the doctor.

Finally, the reporter and the doctor met at the doctor’s hut. Their conversation about the doctor’s life and education had the reporter speechless. The reporter knew that with such a good qualification the doctor could have been earning millions in any major city of the country, but he rather chose to spend his life in a remote village which doesn’t have even a proper road.

Why is he doing it? In fact why anyone would chose a life like this over an affluent standard of living? These were the questions that troubled the reporter. He can’t contain his curiosity and asked the doctor – why did he choose a life like this? The doctor said that he belonged to a family of wealthy farmers who lost their lands in the due course of time. He had seen both richness and poverty at close quarters. He knew that monetary wealth is destined to lose with time and decided to spend a life that is more valuable and impacts the lives of others as well. This is the main reason for his being in the village and serving the people.

The reporter was impressed and the next day an article about doctor Pramod was printed in the local newspaper with bold heading ‘Simple living and high thinking’.

Short Story 2

There lived a wealthy businessman with his only son in a big mansion. The businessman had no time for his family yet, their house had everything in the entire world that money can buy. The son had to spend most of his time alone, with his cars and gadgets, but he was happy with it. He started valuing materialistic possessions more than human sentiments or relationships. The boy started taking immense pride in the things he owned and looked down on his not so wealthy friends.

Slowly the friends moved away, but the boy was still happy with the riches he got. The businessman was worried about his son’s perception of wealth and relationship but had no time to deal with it.

One day, it so happened, that the businessman’s childhood friend from his village, came to meet him. The businessman was so happy and asked his friend to spend the night in his mansion. The son was introduced to his father’s friend but had disrespected him by looking down on him as he was poor and came from a village.

Disheartened, the businessman thought of teaching his son a lesson. He asked him to join in one of his businesses as a trainee and also asked him to stay in a single room staff quarters. The son was angry but had no choice. Moving out of the affluence and into the real world of pain, sorrow, and happiness had changed the boy very much. Soon he was respecting the poor and the rich alike. He was a changed personality. Now he loved people and they also loved and respected him back.

Happy to know about his son’s transformation, the businessman asked him to move back to their house. The son wrote a note to his father stating that they would be meeting on weekends but he refused to shift in the mansion. He further wrote that he loves this simple living, high thinking, and chose to be like this only.


A well-written example is effective in understanding the true meaning of a proverb. I am giving below a couple of examples based on the proverb ‘simple living high thinking’ that will help you understand the proverb’s true meaning.

“Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi wore simple loincloth throughout his life and religiously followed the principles of truth and non-violence. He is a perfect example of simple living and high thinking.”

“About simple living and high thinking, Mahatma Gandhi had once said that we should focus more on our needs than our greed.”

“Manan said – Yesterday I had been to a Buddhist monastery. There were monks with their heads shaved off, wearing only a simple cloth. Yet when I talked to them, they seemed to be filled with purest thoughts about the planet and its creatures; truly an example of simple living high thinking.”

“A few days back, I met a poor old man who has donated his month’s earnings for the education of children; truly an example of simple living and high thinking.”

“Many personalities in history have been an example of simple living high thinking. They lived their lives in the simplest possible way, yet they have been thoughtful of bringing value to the world. This is an example of simple living high thinking.”


The exact origin of the phrase is unknown; however, it is hugely attributed to the Indian freedom fighter and father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. In his several speeches and writings, he had mentioned that a person should live a simple yet rewarding life. The stress should be more on the value of life and its impacts on others rather than the materialistic possessions and their worth.

Some even attribute the origin of the phrase to Indian guru and yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), who had said “plain living and high thinking should be your goal. Learn to carry all the conditions of happiness within yourself by meditating and attuning your consciousness to the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy, which is God.”


The phrase teaches us to make our lives more valuable by avoiding unnecessary excesses of money and material. It gives the key to true happiness and inner satisfaction.

It also conveys that true happiness lies in the purity of our thoughts rather than anything else. It inspires us to recognize our roots and avoid any act of affluence. The true worth of life is not in what are our materialistic acquisitions but it is in what we think, do, and how many lives we touch every day.

Simple living and high thinking had always been at the root of Indian culture. The phrase might have been coined later, but the philosophy that it portrays had always been at the core of Hindu religious ideology.