368: What is a Simple Sophisticate? The 14 Characteristics
Wednesday November 1, 2023

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“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” —Steve Jobs

A quiet confidence, an ease of being. A deep joy of living each day.

To consciously find ourselves in any of the three states of being above, it will have taken much intentionality, effort, patience and compassion. As well as strength, courage, kindness and trust. And these are all actions given to ourselves, let alone to the people and environments we engage with along the way to reach each or all of the aforementioned states. However, as Steve Jobs succinctly shares above, once you arrive at the simplicity, you have gone through much complex exploration, and it is because you have gone through that exploration that you know, absent of ignorance, that indeed what that true simplicity is and how to attain it. It is then at that point you really set yourself free and yes, his metaphor is apt – you will be able to do things you may have never thought possible, experience things you once thought only resided in your dreams.

When The Simple Sophisticate podcast premiered back in September 2014, in the first episode, we dove right into sharing the eight pillars of living simply luxuriously (the most downloaded episode in the show’s history); however, I think we are long overdue for sharing exactly what constitutes someone who is a simple sophisticate. And while I concisely shared a definition on the podcast page: The simple sophisticate is someone who prefers quality over quantity, sensible living over mindless consumption, personal style instead of trendy fashions, has an insatiable curiosity for life’s endless questions and a desire to live a truly fulfilling life rather than being led around by the nose, and the term itself ‘simple sophisticate’ has simple in its title, but it is in fact a complex concept, a destination and a way of living that takes time at which arrive; however, once we arrive and attain clarity in the understanding of what a simple sophisticate is and experience it first hand, the benefits, the elevation of the quality of our life, we then wholeheartedly understand the invaluable, yes, complex journey of self-discovery and self-growth we needed to travel in order to arrive at a state of being a simple sophisticate. And similarly to living a simply luxuriously life, the pillars for being a simple sophisticate are concrete, but how each of us embodies and welcomes them into our lives will be unique to our own life journey, and nobody will be exactly the same.

“Simplicities are enormously complex.” —Richard O. Moore

So to be clear, a simple sophisticate is not a simpleton, and in fact, polar opposite of such a descriptor. A Simple Sophisticate, as we will share in detail below, chooses and acknowledges that many lessons and skills are needed to be able to experience the deep contentment within, but in accepting this truth, now has a focus that will lead through the temporary complex journey in order to arrive at a state of simplicity, a dynamic resting place of clarity, inner peace and a quiet confidence in how you go about your daily life.

Screenshot 2023 10 31 At 5.48.30 pm

So remember . . .

“Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.” —Alan Perlis

And it will indeed follow it if you are willing to grow, to stretch, to explore, to let go of control and find comfort in uncertainty. Let’s take a look at the 14 characteristics of a simple sophisticate:

~Please note: Be sure to tune in to the audio version of this episode as I will extrapolate on each of the following points listed below.

1.Beholds a quiet confidence

~Explore my second book, Living The Simply Luxurious Life where the entire book explores and shares specifics on how to living a life of true contentment.

Thesimplyluxuriouslife.com | The Simply Luxuriosus Life

2. An observer and student of life, seeking opportunities to regularly learn in areas of interest which are in an array of topics not all necessarily related. 


3. Aware and knowledgeable of history and how the culture has evolved, and why mores, traditions and certain ‘norms’ exist but doesn’t fall in line if it doesn’t suit their true self nor bring contentment. 

Explore all post centered around Contentment here, and about explore and honoring our True Selves here.


4. A value and appreciation for travel as travel has afforded them the perspective to see the culture they were raised with more objectivity ensuring they are living their life and not the life expected in order to be accepted.

Here are a handful of posts centered around the gifts of travel – a wide breadth sharing specific topics, along with lessons I have personally learned and more generally, the wonderment and life changing benefits we receive when we explore beyond our everyday routine.


5. An effortless style that suits the life they live, yet conveys their unique beauty without distracting or hiding the person they uniquely are. They wear the clothes rather than the contrary.

A handful of posts on just this topic – effortless style – what it is, how to attain it, specific posts on shopping and building such a wardrobe and examples.


6. Well-read, learned and appreciates quality, well-produced and critically acclaimed works, all the while bringing a critical mind to all that they observe, so as to note strengths, fallacies, cultural stereotypes and thematic purpose. 

In the upcoming new Master Class on Contentment, I will be teaching more directly and specifically how to be a critical thinker; however, I have touched on this topic frequently over the years. Explore those posts here.


7. Good health and maintaining it is a priority, so prevention is the game plan.

Through regular exercise, balanced diet and regular check-ins at the various doctors, they know that without health, the ability to live fully becomes far more difficult. Explore all of TSLL’s posts on health here in the Archives.


8. A healthy, glowing visage:

A skincare routine, having invested wisely rather than frivolously in a few quality, trusted and result-producing brands that while an investment keep their skin radiant, hydrated and revealing their natural beauty in the best light so that very little make-up is necessary. Embracing and highlighting their age, they don’t fall prey to limitations and fickle norms placed by cultural age barriers. Working with a trusted aesthetician regularly for facials and guidance, seasonal and age adjustments are made with confidence. 

~Explore all of TSLL’s Beauty posts and episodes here. And as well, from time to time in the monthly Ponderings . . . post I share what I am using and recommending in my own skincare routine.


9. If using makeup, it is used only slightly and only to enhance one’s natural beauty, not disguise it. 


10. Aware of the power of aesthetics, both in their home and outside.

They thoughtfully curate a sanctuary that is welcoming and nourishing to their lifestyle, purpose and hobbies. Outside of the home, they visit places, restaurants, museums, shops and galleries, etc. that capture their eye, curiosity and delight their senses. 

~Explore many posts on cultivating your sanctuary here in TSLL Archives as well as read each of my three books where in my first book – Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life, I share in detail how to create a sanctuary no matter what the size; in my second book – Living The Simply Luxurious Life, I explore Living Small, yet luxuriously; and throughout my third book, The Road to Le Papillon, I share details and petit plaisirs to delight the senses and how I made decisions along the way to find and cultivate my sanctuary, Le Papillon.


11. Having learned the art of communication and awareness, they are keen to observe others and sense their calm or nervousness, confidence or insecurity, interest or distraction, etc. and do not take personally or responsibility for others knowing their needs, boundaries and exercising loving kindness bravely through their words, and actions. They take time to open up, but are honest and thoughtful about what they share, knowing why they engage in a conversation and listening closely.  

~Explore the many posts and episodes on relationships which involve topics on communication, awareness and boundaries.


12. Mindfulness drives how they move through their days and they may not have a good or great day everyday, but unwanted days don’t drag into more due to unhelpful attitudes, stories or reactions that unnecessarily multiple the unwanted stress. 

~Explore the many posts and episodes on Mindfulness, what it is, how to cultivate it and the many benefits of it here in TSLL’s Archives.


13. They have a strengthened self-awareness and monitor well their energy levels and regularly nourishes themselves through their chosen self-care practices.

~Each of these posts explores and incorporates the topic of self-awareness.

~Explore all of the topics on Self-care here.


14. Having done the life homework of getting to know themselves and courageously stepping into a life of living their dharma, they give what they can uniquely give to the world which in doing so, fulfills them.

~Explore what dharma is all about in these many posts: specifically here and here as well as read Chapter 9 in The Road to Le Papillon where dharma is discussed in one of the entries.


As we move through the list, we come to realize that like a painting, what we discover about ourselves will be what creates a unique version of being a simple sophisticate. No two people, even if they ascribe to living in such a way will be living in the same way, but that is why this journey takes time and will be a conscious choice each day once we reach this state to continue to engage with a mindset that is open and curious. A growth mindset as it is known, and we will delight and engage lovingly and with kindness and integrity whatever may cross our path.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the show, and thank you for tuning in.

Petit Plaisir

~A Tea Strainer

Episode 331

The two new (to me) teas I am loving and recommended during this episode:

5007667 Coronation23 Organic Darjeeling Tea Tin 200g Mob Sq 2

~Explore all episodes of The Simple Sophisticate here.

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3 thoughts on “368: What is a Simple Sophisticate? The 14 Characteristics

  1. Oh Shannon, the 4th characteristic of a simple sophisticate you listed struck a chord deep in my heart. I can honestly attest to the fact that traveling to new and different countries and cultures has changed my life for the better. I am a different person, especially in the way I think. Traveling encourages empathy, open-mindedness and courage. It gifts confidence, possibilities, unknown treasures and friendships, as well as a greater awareness of the fact that as humans sharing this vast, beautiful world, we are more similar than we are different.

    1. Janet,

      Thank you SO much for sharing your personal experience. Having met you, I could feel your open-heartedness and genuine curiosity for the world around you. It was my good fortune to share time with you. Thank you very much for your comment. 😌💛💛

  2. Thank you for your comments on tea and honesty everything else!. I am headed to London for the first time in April and will definitely stop by the tea store to get a beautiful strainer I can enjoy and remember London with every sip.

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