:: Living Life One Day at a Time
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"There is more to life than increasing its speed." - Gandhi
Most humans are not born consciously knowing what their purpose is - it must be found through exploration.
Most living things belong to a particular soul group and are born knowing their purpose in life. An animal will spend its day foraging for food, taking care of itself and its young, and creating a
home. No one tells an animal to do this, yet it instinctively knows how. Humans, for the most part, are not born consciously knowing what their purpose is.
Purpose gives our life meaning. When you discover your purpose, you can live your life with intention and make choices that serve your objective for why you are here on the planet. Finding your purpose is not always easy. You must embrace life wholeheartedly, explore many different pathways, and allow yourself to grow. Your purpose is as unique as you are and will evolve as you move through life. You don't need anyone's permission to fulfill your purpose, and no one can tell you what that purpose is. Finding and fulfilling your purpose can be a lifelong endeavor. To figure out what your purpose is, ask yourself what drives you – not what forces you out of bed in the morning, but what makes you glad to be alive. Make a list of activities that you wish you were involved in or think about a career path that you would love to embark upon. These are the endeavors that can help you fulfill your purpose and bring you the most satisfaction.
Picture yourself working on projects that don't interest you or fulfill your purpose, yet they help satisfy your basic survival needs. Imagine how living this way each day would make you feel. Next, picture yourself devoting your time to projects that spark your imagination, inspire, excite, and satisfy you. More often than not, these activities are some of the ways that you can fulfill your life purpose. Time spent on these endeavors will never feel like a waste. Live your life with purpose, and you will feel significant and capable because every action you take and each choice you make will have meaning to it.
It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.
You know this is true.
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. The mind is indeed your battleground. It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides. It’s where half of the chaos you thought was real, was completely fabricated. There’s no escaping the fact that you are what you think—that you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.
The key is calming your mind...
As you begin each day, be mindful and take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. Breathe onto the bathroom mirror, just to see how amazing your breath looks. When you start off in a mindful state like this, it’s easier to focus effectively, step into the day on the right foot, and carry the momentum forward.
Easier said than done, of course, but practice always helps. So, practice reminding yourself…
- The problem is rarely the problem—the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem.
- Many people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now. You don't have to be one of them.
- Never force anything. Do your best, then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things that are out of your control.
- Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. Sometimes what you never wanted or expected turns out to be what you need.
- RELAX. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Inhale. Exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.
Again, making these kinds of perspective shifts—thinking better—takes guidance and practice.
- 7 Hard Things You Should Do for Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough
- 10 Little Habits that Wreck Thousands of Lives One Day at a Time
- 1 Thing You Should Know About Our Uncertain Reality
- 9 Things it’s Not Too Late to Start Doing for Yourself
- An Open Letter to Those Who Have Lied to Impress Others
The time has come! Our 21-Day Simple Living Challenge begins tomorrow.
As we step into this collective experiment in living more simply, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:
There's No Wrong Way To Do This. :) We'll be sending out a daily email with a prompt for each day. If a particular action doesn't feel applicable to you, or if you're inspired to practice simplicity in a different way -- go for it! There are countless ways to deepen our expression of simple living.
Remember Your Intention. Our thoughts have powerful implications on our actions. When we tune into this truth we begin to live from the inside out. Throughout the next three weeks remember that intention. Return to it each day.
Share Your Stories. We have found this to be a great source of inspiration and resolve. Login to KindSpring, head to your Challenge Dashboard, and click on our challenge feed. From here, you can share how the challenge is going for you and read about what others are up to.
Remember to have fun! Looking forward to all that’s ahead. For some inspiration, read Roman Krznaric's article that details the arc of simple living through history and its impact on happiness.
In the spirit of service,
Shaileen - Happiness Coach
Happy Life Habits - Positively Impacting Happiness & Well Being Levels
How to Live ON PURPOSE and Maximize Every Freaking Day
Today can be as great as you want it to be.
Your fate isn’t set. You get to decide how much of yourself you’re going to put into today.
Rather than saying, “Well, we’ll see what happens,” you must powerfully state, “Today, I’m going to make it happen!”
When you go into the gym, you get to decide how hard you’re going to work out. But one thing is for certain, you’ll feel far better if you walk out 30–60 minutes later having given it everything you’ve got.
The same goes with your day.
It’s actually far more exhausting to not work than it is to work. It takes far more energy sitting with internal conflict and justification than it does to just get to work. Said Steven Pressfield, “Most of us have two lives: the life we live and the un-lived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.”
If your life feels out-of-whack or out-of-balance, you’re likely avoiding the very thing you should be doing. It’s only in doing that thing that you’ll regain balance and peace. Avoidance leads to busyness and distraction.
The Invisible Difference When You Fully Live
When I give everything I’ve got at work, I’m a different person. I’m happier. The world is a more beautiful and abundant place. Other people smile at me as I walk past them and I have no idea why.
On days I’ve actually done what I intended to do, it seems like more people look me in the eyes and smile at me as I walk past them. And I’m certain I’m not initiating those smiles. Yet when I receive one of those smiles, I look at that person for a few moments after they’ve looked away from me. I feel love toward them and wish them happiness in their lives.
Moreover, on days I’ve actually lived my purpose, I leave my work more energized than before I started. When I walk through my front door, my kids often run up and hug me, and ask me to play with them. As I look at them in such moments, I see only perfection. Love fills my heart and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and humility for my life. To adapt a quote from Goethe, “The way you see [a child] is the way you treat them and the way you treat them is [who] they [will] become.”
Conversely, on days I’ve spent my working time in distraction and self-sabotage, I come home feeling like a fraud. My family still loves me all the same. Yet, it’s so much harder for me to give them the attention and love they deserve and need. On wasted and un-lived days, I end up sucking more energy from those around me than I emit. I see only the problems in my children and am highly irritable.
You can’t see the energy-field around you, but it’s there.
You Can Make the Shift
I know what it feels like being stuck and without momentum.
You can feel absolutely powerless to change your life and circumstances.
But that’s a complete lie.
I know it feels more real than anything else.
But it’s not.
Feeling guilty about all the time you’ve wasted won’t help.
If you make a few tweaks to your approach, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your perception of the world and yourself will change. As your perception changes, everything around you will change.
Give one or two of these a try and watch what happens:
1. Have a weekly reflection and planning session
“The game is won or lost before it begins.” — John Wooden
One day per week (my preference is Sunday), take 10–30 minutes reflecting on your past six days. How did they go?
Try asking yourself the following questions:
· Who did I not meet this week that I should have?
· What did I not do?
· What did I miss?
· What should I tighten up?
Getting down on yourself isn’t the purpose. Rather, being aware of how you’re doing is the purpose. Awareness facilitates empowerment to change.
After assessing your previous week, make better plans for the next six days. Then, in six more days, do it again.
This need not take long, but it can dramatically improve the quality of your weeks and the days within those weeks.
2. At the end of each day, make your game plan for tomorrow
“Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.” — Jim Rohn
Having a plan eliminates the burden of choice.
If you wake up without a plan, you will undoubtedly bounce from thing-to-thing without really doing anything. You won’t be focused or purposeful.
It’s so much more powerful to wake up with a purpose. To get up and go. To be intrinsically pulled out of your bed rather than clinging desperately to your tired body, without a clear reason to get up.
Taking just a minute or two at the end of your day to make a game plan for the next day will provide you the needed structure to purposefully move.
The same is true of any creative task. Taking just 5 minutes to create an outline for a book, and article, and agenda, or whatever the task is can save you hours.
3. Focus on today, not tomorrow
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” — Jesus Christ
During your day, don’t worry about anything else. Follow your plan. Crush it. Live today to the fullest and be the person you intend to be. After your day is complete, take a minute or two to outline your next day. Then, forgot about it until tomorrow morning.
4. Three month energy cycles
When it comes to your future, you have three vantage points.
· Your vision (your WHY) = 10–25 years’ out
· Your long-term goals (AKA your wild guess) = 36 months’ out
· Your actual goals (AKA your realistic game plan) = the next 90 days
In the 20th century, it was a solid practice to have five year goals. Things were more stable back then. Today, things are changing too abruptly to realistically determine where you’ll be in five years.
Framing your goals in three month increments gives you a clear and realistic future to sprint toward. Of course, these goals are based on your longer-term goals. However, your 3-month goal cycles are your main focus.
Just like your weekly planning sessions, every three months spend a few hours or even a full day reflecting on your previous three months. Make any adjustments you need and make better plans for the next three months.
5. Organize yourself
“Happiness lies in the cultivation of the garden.” — Voltaire
Your life is a garden, cultivate it.
Organize yourself. Clean out the weeds. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. The very act of cultivating your garden will enliven you. You’ll never be finished. But every day, week, and year, you can make your garden a little more beautiful and fruitful.
Clean up your finances.
Clean up how you use your time.
Clean up your relationships.
Just a little bit every day. Once you start to get things organized, the soil of your life will be better suited for what you plant in it.
6. Always choose the harder right or “higher road”
Perfection is not the goal. However, consistently making better choices is the only way to get momentum. And momentum is exactly what you need. If you’re stuck, momentum is working against you.
It takes some work pumping the water-well to get it going. But it’s worth it. And it really only takes one great day to get it moving.
You are one great day away from having a breakthrough. Steven Pressfield tells of “resisting” what he wanted to do for years. Then one day, he forced himself to write. He threw everything in the garbage he wrote that day. None of it was any good. But when he walked away from that work session to clean a pile of dishes sitting in the sink, he felt changed. “The water felt warm,” he said. He knew that he had just had a breakthrough.
That’s all you need.
Don’t worry about the output when you’re trying to build momentum. Instead, just get yourself to do whatever you feel you need to do.
Regardless of how you feel during the experience, you will feel hope and optimism when you’re done.
You can get to the point where you consciously make solid choices in every situation you’re in.
Consistency = confidence.
Consistency = momentum.
When you woke up today, how did you feel today was going to go?
I challenge you to wake up tomorrow with this feeling, “Today can be as great as I want it to be.”
Having that feeling won’t come out of nowhere. You’ll need to set yourself up to have that feeling. However, setting yourself up isn’t all that hard. It may be as simple as spending 2 minutes the night before writing a plan. It may be spending 15 minutes the Sunday before making a plan.
Whatever it is, you have a reason to live your life to the fullest.
You may not know exactly what that reason is, but you’ll find it once you get moving. More than likely, you’ll realize that everything in your life is actually far more beautiful that you could previously perceive.
From this level of joy and purpose, you’ll be empowered to consciously create a future you are worthy of.
The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness
For the longest time, I believed that there’s only purpose of life: And that is to be happy.
Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It’s to achieve happiness in some way.
And I’m not the only person who believed that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are pursuing happiness in their lives.
That’s why we collectively buy shit we don’t need, go to bed with people we don’t love, and try to work hard to get approval of people we don’t like.
Why do we do these things? To be honest, I don’t care what the exact reason is. I’m not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with history, culture, media, economy, psychology, politics, the information era, and you name it. The list is endless.
We are who we are.
Let’s just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or don’t live fulfilling lives. I don’t necessarily care about the why.
I care more about how we can change.
Just a few short years ago, I did everything to chase happiness.
- You buy something, and you think that makes you happy.
- You hook up with people, and think that makes you happy.
- You get a well-paying job you don’t like, and think that makes you happy.
- You go on holiday, and you think that makes you happy.
But at the end of the day, you’re lying in your bed (alone or next to your spouse), and you think: “What’s next in this endless pursuit of happiness?”
Well, I can tell you what’s next: You, chasing something random that you believe makes you happy.
It’s all a façade. A hoax. A story that’s been made up.
Did Aristotle lie to us when he said:
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
I think we have to look at that quote from a different angle. Because when you read it, you think that happiness is the main goal. And that’s kind of what the quote says as well.
But here’s the thing: How do you achieve happiness?
Happiness can’t be a goal in itself. Therefore, it’s not something that’s achievable.
I believe that happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness.
When I talk about this concept with friends, family, and colleagues, I always find it difficult to put this into words. But I’ll give it a try here.
Most things we do in life are just activities and experiences.
- You go on holiday.
- You go to work.
- You go shopping.
- You have drinks.
- You have dinner.
- You buy a car.
Those things should make you happy, right? But they are not useful. You’re not creating anything. You’re just consuming or doing something. And that’s great.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to go on holiday, or go shopping sometimes. But to be honest, it’s not what gives meaning to life.
What really makes me happy is when I’m useful. When I create something that others can use. Or even when I create something I can use.
For the longest time I found it difficult to explain the concept of usefulness and happiness. But when I recently ran into a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the dots finally connected.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
And I didn’t get that before I became more conscious of what I’m doing with my life. And that always sounds heavy and all. But it’s actually really simple.
It comes down to this:
What are you DOING that’s making a difference?
Did you do useful things in your lifetime? You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than before you were born.
If you don’t know how, here are some ideas.
- Help your boss with something that’s not your responsibility.
- Take your mother to a spa.
- Create a collage with pictures (not a digital one) for your spouse.
- Write an article about the stuff you learned in life.
- Help the pregnant lady who also has a 2-year old with her stroller.
- Call your friend and ask if you can help with something.
- Build a standing desk.
- Start a business and hire an employee and treat them well.
That’s just some stuff I like to do. You can make up your own useful activities.
You see? It’s not anything big. But when you do little useful things every day, it adds up to a life that is well lived. A life that mattered.
The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there’s zero evidence that I ever existed.
Recently I read Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It’s about Peter Barton, the founder of Liberty Media, who shares his thoughts about dying from cancer.
It’s a very powerful book and it will definitely bring tears to your eyes. In the book, he writes about how he lived his life and how he found his calling. He also went to business school, and this is what he thought of his fellow MBA candidates:
“Bottom line: they were extremely bright people who would never really do anything, would never add much to society, would leave no legacy behind. I found this terribly sad, in the way that wasted potential is always sad.”
You can say that about all of us. And after he realized that in his thirties, he founded a company that turned him into a multi-millionaire.
Another person who always makes himself useful is Casey Neistat. For three years he posted a new video about his life and work on YouTube. And in every video, he’s doing something.
He also talks about how he always wants to do and create something. He even has a tattoo on his forearm that says “Do More.”
Most people would say, “why would you work more?” And then they turn on Netflix and watch back to back episodes of the latest TV show that came out.
A different mindset.
Being useful is a mindset. And like with any mindset, it starts with a decision. One day I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing for this world? The answer was nothing.
And that same day I started writing. For you it can be painting, creating a product, helping elderly, or anything you feel like doing.
Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t overthink it. Just DO something that’s useful. Anything.
Do you sometimes feel like your life is too rushed or too complicated?
Do you find yourself longing for a simpler time?
Wikipedia says, "Simplicity is the property, condition or quality of being simple or un-combined. It often denotes beauty, purity or clarity. Simple things are usually easier to explain and understand than complicated ones. Simplicity can mean freedom from hardship, effort or confusion. It can also mean adopting a simpler lifestyle."
There is a plethora of information being thrown at us everyday, options galore and pressure to buy more stuff and do more things.
We are overloaded with decisions that have to be made.
Even if you're an info junkie or someone who thrives on options, there is benefit in slowing down and simplifying your life,
even if only occasionally. Simplifying your life - internally and externally - can free up space and time for you and can lead to more joy and more
Flow. There are many ways to simplify your life.
Here are just a few:
-Limit stuff to what you need and cherish.
-Spend time in nature instead of at the mall.
-Clear out clutter (internally and externally).
-Be willing to say "no".
-Eat simply and healthy.
-Release complicated, unhealthy relationships.
-Let go of worrying about the future and "be here now".
What could you change/release in your life to create more simplicity?
Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestation that you are making progress - IF YOU LOOK FOR IT! No matter how large or small, please record it in your Evidence Journal. It will only take a few moments and will AUTOMATICALLY put you in the Flow.
Keeping Fit: How to Do the Right Exercise for Your Age
As we get older, our bodies benefit from different types of exercise. Here’s a guide for all ages.
The effect of exercise on health is profound. It can protect you from a range of conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. But the type and amount of exercise you should do changes as you age. To ensure that you are doing the right type of exercise for your age, follow this simple guide.
Childhood and Adolescence
In childhood, exercise helps control body weight, builds healthy bones and promotes self-confidence and healthy sleep patterns. The government recommends that children should get at least one hour of exercise a day. As a tip:
Children should try a variety of sports and develop skills, such as swimming and the ability to hit and kick a ball.
Lots of non–scheduled physical activity is great, too, such as playing in playgrounds.
Encourage teenagers to keep one team sport, if possible.
For teenagers who are not into team sports, swimming or athletics can be a good way to keep fitness levels up.
In Your 20s
You are at your absolute physical peak in your mid-20s, with the fastest reaction times and highest VO2 max – the maximum rate at which the body can pump oxygen to muscles. After this peak, your VO2 max decreases by up to 1 percent each year and your reaction time slows each year. The good news is that regular physical activity can slow this decline. Building lean muscle mass and bone density at this age helps you retain them in later years.
Vary your training and keep it fun. Try tag rugby, rowing or boot camp.
If you are a regular exerciser, get advice from an exercise professional to build “periodisation” into your training regime. This involves dividing your training regime into progressive cycles that manipulate different aspects of training – such as intensity, volume and type of exercise – to optimise your performance and ensure you peak for a planned exercise event, such as a triathlon.
In Your 30s
As careers and family life for many intensify in their 30s, it is important that you maintain cardiovascular fitness and strength to slow normal physical decline. If you have a sedentary job, make sure you maintain good posture and break up long periods of sitting by forcing activity into your day, such as routing your printer to another room, climbing a flight of stairs to use the bathroom on another floor, or standing when taking a phone call so you are moving every half an hour where possible.
Work smart. Try high-intensity interval training. This is where bursts of high-intensity activity, up to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, such as sprinting and cycling, are broken up with periods of lower-intensity exercise. This kind of workout is good for the time poor as it can be done in 20 minutes.
For all women, and especially after childbirth, do pelvic floor exercises, sometimes known as Kegel exercises daily to help prevent incontinence.
Diversify your exercise programme to keep it interesting. Try boot camp, spin class or yoga.
In Your 40s
Most people start to put on weight in their 40s. Resistance exercise is the best way to optimise calorie burning to counteract fat accumulation and reverse the loss of three to eight percent of muscle mass per decade. Ten weeks of resistance training could increase lean weight by 1.4kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7 percent and decrease fat weight by 1.8kg.
Try kettlebells or start a weight-training programme in your gym.
Take up running, if you don’t run already, and don’t be afraid to start a more intensive exercise programme. You get more bang for your buck with running versus walking.
Pilates can be useful to build core strength to protect against back pain, which often starts in this decade.
In Your 50s
In this decade, aches and pains may crop up and chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can manifest. As oestrogen declines in postmenopausal women, the risk of heart disease increases.
Do strength training twice a week to maintain your muscle mass.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, is recommended. Walk fast enough so that your breathing rate increases and you break a sweat.
Try something different. Tai chi can be excellent for balance and relaxation.
In Your 60s
Typically, people accumulate more chronic conditions as they get older, and ageing is a major risk factor for cancer. Maintaining a high level of physical activity can help prevent cancers, such as post-menopausal breast cancer, colon cancer and cancer of the womb, and it reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Physical activity tends to decline with age, so keep active and try to buck this trend.
Try ballroom dancing or other forms of dancing; it’s a fun and sociable way to exercise.
Incorporate strength and flexibility exercises twice a week. Aqua-aerobics can be a great way to develop strength using water as resistance.
Maintain cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking.
70s and Beyond
Exercise in your 70s and beyond helps prevent frailty and falls, and it’s important for your cognitive function. If you have a period of ill health, try to keep mobile, if possible. Strength and fitness can decline rapidly if you are bed bound or very inactive, which can make it hard to get back to previous levels.
Walk and talk. Instead of inactive visits from family and friends, go for a walk together. It will keep you motivated and boost your health more than solitary exercise.
Incorporate some strength, balance and cardiovascular exercise in your regime. But get advice from a physiotherapist or other exercise professional, especially if you have several chronic conditions.
The main message is to keep moving throughout your life. Sustained exercise is what benefits health most. Julie Broderick is an Assistant Professor of Physiotherapy at Trinity College Dublin.
Honoring All Experiences
It is important when pain comes our way to honor the experience, as it is usually a great teacher.
Honoring the experiences we have in our lives is an invaluable way to communicate with life, our greatest teacher. We do this when we take time at night to say what
we are thankful for about our day and also when we write in a journal. Both of these acts involve consciously acknowledging the events of our lives so that they deepen our relationship to our
experiences. This is important because it brings us into closer connection with life, and with the moment. Only when we acknowledge what's happening to us can we truly benefit from life's
It is especially important when pain comes our way to honor the experience, because our natural tendency is to push it away and move past it as quickly as possible. We tend to want to brush it under the rug. Yet, if we don't, it reveals itself to be a great friend and teacher. As counterintuitive as it seems, we can honor pain by thanking it and by welcoming it into the space of our lives. We all know that often the more we resist something, the longer it persists. When we honor our pain, we do just the opposite of resisting it, and as a result, we create a world in which we can own the fullness of what life has to offer.
We can honor a painful experience by marking it in some way, bringing ourselves into a more conscious relationship with it. We might mark it by creating a work of art, performing a ritual, or undertaking some other significant act. Sometimes all we need to do is light a candle in honor of what we've gone through and what we've learned. No matter how small the gesture, it will be big enough to mark the ways in which our pain has transformed us, and to remind us to recognize and value all that comes our way in this life.
Do you have any good or bad habits? Watch this video for inspiration.
When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting. Life gets a lot simpler when you clear the clutter that makes it complicated.
It’s time to focus on what matters, and let go of what does not.
For almost a decade now, Marc and I have been learning to do just that—live a simpler life.
Not simpler as in “meager.” Simpler as in “meaningful.”
We’ve been working on eliminating many of life’s complexities so we’re able to spend more time with people we love and do more activities we love. This means we’ve been gradually getting rid of mental and physical clutter, and eliminating all but the essential, so we’re left with only that which gives us value.
Our overarching goal is living a life uncluttered by most of the things people fill their lives with, leaving us with space for what truly matters. A life that isn’t constant busyness, rushing and stress, but instead contemplation, creation and connection with people and projects we love.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we have zero clutter and complications. We’re human and living in the real world with everyone else. We have a home, possessions, computers, gadgets, distractions and occasional busyness. But we have reduced it to make space.
Today, after finishing up a call with a new course student who’s working diligently to simplify various aspects of her life and business, I’ve been reflecting on this simpler life Marc and I have created for ourselves, and I thought I’d share some of these reflections with you.
Some lessons I’ve learned about living a simpler life:
- A simpler life is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. Thus, you are wealthy in proportion to the number of unnecessary things you can afford to live without.
- Simplifying is not merely seeing how little you can get by with, but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a difference and mean the most to you.
- Besides the art of getting things done, there is the often-forgotten art of leaving things undone. The simplicity and efficiency of life relies heavily on the elimination of non-essentials.
- Overcommitting is the biggest mistake most people make against living a simpler life. It’s tempting to fill in every waking minute of the day with to-do list tasks or distractions. Don’t do this to yourself. Leave space.
- Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There are so many activities that sound fun and exciting. We check Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and see what others are doing and immediately want to add these things to our lives. But before you let these new ideas get the best of you, remember that by adding too many things to your life, you are subtracting space. And that space is vital to focusing on what matters most.
- Distractions are both more tempting and more damaging than we realize. When we fill our lives with distractions, its often because we’re scared of what life might be like without constant social media, TV, video games, snacks, chats, music, etc. Don’t numb yourself with noise. Don’t let distractions hold you back. Control your distractions before your distractions control you.
- You can’t live a simpler life if you’re unwilling to change and let go of what you’re used to.
- Priorities don’t get done automatically. You have to make time for what’s important to you: time with your significant other, time with your kids, time for creating, time for learning, time for exercise, etc. Push everything else aside to make time. By saying no to more things that sound really exciting, you get to say yes to more of what’s truly important.
- Rising earlier helps. A quiet, unrushed morning routine is a gift to treasure. (I awake early so that I have quiet time to read, write, and practice a gratitude meditation.)
- Letting go of old routines and habits and building new ones can be hard, but it’s easier if you do a 30-day challenge. Let go of something for 30 days and see how it affects your life. (Letting go of cable TV was one of the best decisions Marc and I made a few years back—no more continuous, distracting noise in our home, and no more advertisements for stuff we don’t need.)
- Buying more stuff doesn’t solve our problems. Neither does more snack food or another TV program.
- Shopping isn’t a hobby, and it certainly isn’t therapy. It’s a waste of time and money, and inevitably leads to a cluttered life.
- When we travel lightly, we’re freer, less burdened, and less stressed. This applies to traveling through life too, not just traveling through an airport.
- It’s not how many, or how few, things we own that matters. It’s whether we make those things count. Thus, it’s better to have three good books on your bookshelf that you’re actually going to read rather than 300 you never get around to.
- Decluttering your physical space can lead to a less cluttered mental space. These visual distractions pull on us and distract us in more ways than we often realize. (Read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.)
- Overthinking is one of the most rampant sources of stress and mental clutter. The key is to realize that the problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.
- Positivity always pays off in simplifying outcomes. So before you waste it on anger, resentment, spite or envy, think of how precious and irreplaceable your time is.
- Stay out of other people’s drama. And don’t needlessly create your own.
- A simpler, more positive mindset can be created anytime and anyplace with a change in thinking. Because frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress evaporates.
- The simplest secret to happiness and peace in the present is letting every circumstance be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.
- Gratitude always makes life easier to deal with. Because happiness comes easier when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.
- Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along. Waste not a minute on outcomes you can’t control.
- There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of the NEW edition of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- The truth—your truth—is always the simplest path forward. If you listen closely to your intuition you will always know what is best for you, because what is best for you is what is true for you.
- The feeling you get from doing something important (and true) is far better and less stressful than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were doing it.
For the cynics out there who might say the list of lessons above is too long to be “simpler,” there are really only two steps to simplifying:
- Identify what’s most important to you.
- Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.
Of course, that advice is not exceptionally useful unless you understand how to apply it to various areas of your life… which is why I gave you the lessons above.
Let’s start with the bitter truth:
You will never be as good as you think you should be.
And life will never be as easy as you expected.
All of us are faced with the same reality. There will inevitably be times when we slip up and fail to meet our (unreasonable) expectations of ourselves. It’ll likely happen quite often too. And if we don’t embrace these slip-ups and failures as necessary lessons learned, we will gradually and unknowingly become self-conscious about everything we’re not doing and achieving according to planned.
Honestly, it happens every day to the best of us—we hopelessly catch ourselves thinking about how we’re falling short.
We worry that we haven’t made as much progress as we thought we would. We worry that we’ll never be as productive as we could be. And our worrying just leads to more senseless worrying.
We worry that we don’t…
- have better-looking bodies
- get to the gym more often
- accomplish more of our goals
We worry that we should be doing…
- something better
- something more amazing
- all those amazing things the people on TV and social media are doing
And so, we’re left feeling guilty that we’re not as good as we should be—that we’re not doing the perfect thing at the perfect time, ever.
The good news is that thoughts like these are natural, because the human mind isn’t perfect—it worries about things. But we can learn to catch and control these thoughts, so they don’t catch and control us.
Letting Go of Our “Perfect Life” Fantasies
To an extent, we all have this lavish idea in our heads about how our lives are supposed to be. We fantasize that we should be living a different and better life…
- A life without procrastination and failure
- A life with spectacular feats of success
- A life of travel and adventure
- A life with perfect friends, family, and partners
And through it all we’re supposed to be smiling too, right?
Wrong! That’s not how life really works. At least not 24/7.
The truth is, we are miraculously flawed human beings living miraculously flawed lives. And the “miraculous” part only transpires when we accept and make the best of what we have.
Close your eyes and reflect on the present reality of your life, and whisper, “I am OK. Life is OK. I will let my present life situation be what it is, instead of what I think it should be, and I will make the best of it.”
The key is to accept the fact that there’s no such thing as a perfect life. There’s no perfect thing you should have already accomplished, and no perfect sequence of things you should be accomplishing right now.
There’s just this moment you’re living through and what you choose to do with it.
And yes, disappointment with this moment, with yourself, and with others is often part of the picture—there’s no escaping this reality.
But what will you choose to do…
You can be disappointed in this moment and do nothing, or you can practice being satisfied with the opportunity to make the very best of it.
Making the Best of Your Ordinary Life
When Angel and I guide our course students through the process of letting go of their “perfect life” or “perfect self” fantasies, we cover a four-step practice for doing so. It’s a simple series of steps that can work wonders at any given moment in time, but it takes some diligence (it’s not necessarily convenient or easy):
- When you feel your “life isn’t good enough” anxiety rising, pause, close your eyes, and notice that you’re in the process of worrying about what you’re not doing, or what you haven’t yet achieved. Notice the feelings of disappointment you have with yourself and your life at the present moment.
- Accept these feelings of disappointment as a part of you, focus on them, and just allow yourself to feel them. As you focus, notice the emotional sensations of this feeling throughout your body.
- Open your eyes, turn your attention to the present moment: what are you doing right now? Put all of your awareness into this moment—be 100% present with the physical and emotional sensations of whatever you’re doing.
- Notice that the present moment is enough—enough for right now. It doesn’t need to be better. It doesn’t need to be anything more. It’s good enough already, in its own unique way. And so are you.
Again, this is a practice—a life-changing daily ritual—and it’s not something any of us will ever be “perfect” at. We just remind ourselves often, and when we forget we remind ourselves again, and we begin again with our practice. One day at a time. (Angel and I build life-changing daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of the Getting Back to Happy Course.)
Oh, and this short article, by the way, is as much a reminder to Angel and me as it is a guide for you or anybody else who might find value in it.
We’re all in this one together.
May this moment be as good as we collectively choose to make it.
This Moment: Our Most Precious Resource
As I wrap up here, I’m reminded of something Angel and I have learned the hard way from the most heart wrenching moments of our lives—losing loved ones early and unexpectedly:
Death is an unpredictable inevitability.
Embracing this fact provides a renewed sense of awareness, to realize that we’ve lived a certain number of days, and the days ahead of us are not as guaranteed as the one we’re living through right now. When I think of this I am reminded that every day truly is an opportunity to be grateful for, not in a clichéd kind of way, but to honestly appreciate what we have here, and to admit that we alone are responsible for the quality of our present lives. This makes our self-respect and positive focus evermore important, right here, right now. It leaves no time to wallow in self-pity and self-doubt.
The last thing any of us wants to do is die with regret, hence why respecting the reality of death puts life into perspective. It humbles us and should also deeply motivate us to lead our lives and make the best of it…
Less criticizing and complaining.
More acceptance, appreciation and enjoyment of this blessed yet often ordinary life.
Love where you are right now. You’ve come a long way, and you’re still learning and growing. Be thankful for the lessons. Take them and make the best of things right now.
by Joshua Becker, author of The Minimalist Home
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
Have incredible stories to tell by the end of 2020, not incredible clutter stuffed in your closets. I sincerely wish this for my family, and yours, in the year ahead.
So, let me start off here by asking you…
- Does your home serve you—or do you serve your home?
- Will your home afford you the necessary space to create happy, healthy memories and stories in the year ahead?
These are not questions most of us ask ourselves, but we should. After all, our homes are meant to serve a distinct purpose in our lives—to be both the space we come back to, and the space we go out from each day. Our homes are, in essence, the foundation of our daily lives.
If your home is serving you well, it is a safe harbor from the storms of life—a space to relax, rest, and connect in meaningful ways with loved ones and friends. And it’s a secure port of departure when you’re ready to brave the choppy seas of life again. A home serves you best when it provides both of these benefits.
A home doesn’t serve you when it complicates your life and takes more than it gives. When possessing your home (and maintaining the possessions within it) becomes your focus, you end up spending your limited and valuable resources (time, energy, money) taking care of it. That’s when you know you’re serving your home. You’re spending less time living the life you want, because you’re spending more time cleaning, maintaining, and repairing—and perhaps also paying a hefty mortgage or rent for the privilege.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to live more by owning less. And that’s the premise of my writing in The Minimalist Home. It’s a purpose-based guide to a simpler, decluttered, refocused life—one that makes sure your home is serving you, and not the other way around. It recognizes that each of us can love the house—the home—we live in.
Here are 19 changes I offer in the book to help create a home that better serves you:
- Get your head straight about what matters, and what in your home is distracting you from what matters. For most of us, our excessive physical possessions are not making us happy. Even worse, they are taking us away from the things that do. Once we let go of the things that don’t matter, we are free to pursue all the things that really do matter. And sometimes, minimizing physical possessions means an old dream must die. But this is not always a bad thing. Because sometimes, it takes (mentally and emotionally) giving up the person we wanted to be in order to fully appreciate the person we can actually become.
- Remove decorations that no longer inspire you. Just because something made you happy in the past doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever. Your life has moved on—maybe it’s time for the decoration to do the same. Remove the knickknacks and pictures that no longer inspire you. Or the decoration you bought that one time because it was on clearance. Keeping just the items that mean the most to you will help them to shine.
- Reject the convenience fallacy. There are certain places in our homes we tend to leave items out for convenience—a stack of favorite DVDs in the corner, appliances on the counters in the kitchen, toiletries beside the bathroom sink. By leaving these things out, we think we’re saving time and simplifying our lives. That’s the convenience fallacy. Sure, we might save a couple of seconds, but the other 99.9 percent of the time, those items just sit there creating a visual distraction. If you’re not using your convenience items at least 50 percent of the time they’re out, keep them in a cabinet or drawer and out of sight.
- Distinguish between simplifying (or minimizing) and tidying up. Just because a room is tidy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s uncluttered or serves its purpose. Well-organized clutter is still clutter. Never organize what you don’t even use and can easily donate to someone who will.
- Count the “clutter cost.” It can be hard to get rid of things you spent a lot of money on. But keeping things you no longer wear, use, or love also has a cost—every object carries a burden as well as a benefit. The burden or “clutter cost” is the money, time, energy, and space an object demands of you. If you’re having trouble letting go of a pricey item you don’t use—or any item for that matter—remember to consider the benefit-to-burden ratio before you decide to keep it.
- Free up closet space. One of the biggest complaints people have about their homes is that the closets are too small. If you’ve been thinking that you need bigger closets, maybe all you need to do is right-size your wardrobe—and your closet will feel bigger overnight.
- Donate clothes you don’t love. After decluttering your closet, you’ll find more space and peace each morning when you get ready, rather than facing stress and indecision. Plus, donating unused clothing to a local charity is a simple but meaningful way to help others.
- Declutter duplicates. I call this a minimizing accelerator because it’s one of the easiest things you can do to make quick progress. Open your linen closet, for example. How many extra pillows, sheets, and towels do you really need? Other good candidates for eliminating duplicates include cleaning supplies, gardening tools, fashion accessories, home office supplies, toys, books, and kitchen items. Keep your favorite in each category—the ones you actually use—and get rid of the rest.
- Clear your dining room table. Is your dining room table a depository for mail, backpacks, keys, and other things that are in the process of going from one place to another? If so, chances are that using it for a meal may seem like more work than it’s worth. Put the items away where they belong. Make your tabletop a clean, open and inviting space.
- Invite the right people to gather at your dining room table, often. These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be. The bottom line is that your decluttering efforts have given you more space to share stories, experiences, hugs and laughs with family, good friends, and close neighbors. Don’t forget to make it count.
- Practice gratitude, in your home, daily. At least once a day, it’s good to pause in your pursuit of a simpler and more organized life, look around, and simply appreciate the life you’re presently living. As Marc and Angel have shared in their recent New York Times bestseller, “Look around, and be thankful right now. For your health, your family, your friends, and your home. Nothing lasts forever.”
- Take down signs that don’t sincerely vibe with your present values. I know a woman with a sign in her laundry room that says, “It’s tough living in the fast lane when you’re married to a speed bump.” I get the humor, but I wonder how reading that sign every day might affect her approach to her marriage, even in small ways. If you’re going to put words up on your walls, don’t you want them to inspire you and call you higher instead?
- Calm a space for reading and being at peace. Even if you aren’t up for decluttering an entire room, you can “calm” a space. You calm a space when you minimize distractions. Choose a favorite chair and declutter everything around it. Remove anything from the floor that isn’t furniture. Clear the surface of side tables or a coffee table by removing or storing remotes, pet toys, kid toys, hobby items, old newspapers/magazines, mail, books, etc.
- Clean out your entertainment center. These large pieces of furniture often harbor lots of small items we no longer need. Take out old electronic components, cords you don’t need, and discs and games nobody uses. Get rid of them by recycling responsibly, arrange the devices you do use in an eye-pleasing display, and hide their cords as much as possible.
- Pare down your beauty and grooming supplies. I don’t know how big your bathroom is, but get rid of the clutter and I guarantee it will seem more spacious and peaceful to be in. Empty out the cabinets and drawers. Separate beauty tools (hair dryer, styling iron, savers, etc.) from beauty supplies (make-up, lotion, aftershave, etc.). Eliminate duplicates, throw out anything that’s broken or old, and get rid of items you no longer use. Then wash your storage containers and organize what you’re going to keep.
- Tackle a junk drawer. Most of us have one. It’s the default resting place for small items that have no better place to be. Or for things we think might have some use but we can no longer remember what it is. Chances are good you can toss out most of what’s in there and never miss it.
- Clear space for your car in the garage. A garage is not serving you well if it’s not serving its purpose, which is to house your car. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with using a garage for storage, but it’s possible to go too far with it—and a lot of us do. Get rid of all the obvious candidates for decluttering—odds and ends and leftovers, kids’ unused playthings and sporting equipment, duplicate tools, spare parts, etc.
- Set physical boundaries for your kids. Give your kids a certain amount of space and allow them to manage it how they want. For example, in our garage, my wife and I keep one shelving unit and one plastic bin. The kids store their outdoor toys on the shelves and keep balls in the bin. When things begin to overflow, we ask them to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. The same principle applies to a bedroom or a toy basket.
- Leave space between everything you do in your home, too. Clear a little extra space between your personal tasks and obligations. Take a break to stretch, take a short walk outside, drink a glass of water, perhaps do some simple deep breathing exercises. Enjoy the (emotional and physical) space you’ve created for yourself in your home, and breathe. Remember, your overarching goal is living a life uncluttered by most of the things people fill their lives with, leaving you with space for what truly matters. A life that isn’t constant busyness, rushing and stress, but instead deliberate contemplation, creation and connection with people and activities you love.
- Be less “busy” and more purposeful items. – As Marc and Angel said in one of their recent email newsletters, “There’s a big difference between being busy and being effective. Don’t confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but never makes any forward progress. So, try not to be the rocking horse in your personal life .” ?
Obviously, you may not be able to tackle all 20, but how about two or three as you begin 2020? A home that serves you well in the year ahead is a beautiful thing. It’s less distracting and more calming, which makes it both a joy to come back to and an inspiring place to go out from. Don’t wait any longer to have a home that gives more than it takes.
Now, it’s YOUR turn…
- Glad To Be Alive
- The Path To Adulthood – Healing The Pain
- Becoming The Adult
- Overcoming Loneliness – Part Two
- How To Overcome Loneliness
- How We End Up In Misery
- How To Deal With Loneliness
- Emotional Abuse Test
- Emotional Health – What Millions Still Don’t Know
- Emotional Insecurity Help
- You Have Emotion
- You Have Beliefs
- You Have Choice
- You Are Enough
- You Are Loved
- You Have A Heart
You’ve come a long way, and you’re still learning and growing. Be thankful for the lessons. Take them and make the best of things right now.
For my 18th birthday, many moons ago, my grandfather on my mom’s side gave me four lightly-used flannel shirts that he no longer needed. The shirts were barely worn and in great shape; my grandfather told me he thought they would look great on me. Unfortunately, I thought they were odd gifts at the time and I wasn’t thankful. I looked at him skeptically, gave him a crooked half-smile, and moved on to the other gifts sitting in front of me. My grandfather died two days later from a sudden heart attack. The flannel shirts were the last gifts he ever gave me, and that crooked half-smile was the last time a directly acknowledged him. Today, I still regret the little thing I didn’t say when I had the chance: “Thank you Grandpa. That’s so thoughtful of you.”
This was a huge wake-up call for me—one that has served me well for over two decades now.
And here are eight wake-up calls for you—some important lessons worth learning before it’s too late:
1. You might not have tomorrow to say, “I love you.”
About a decade ago a coworker of mine died in a car accident. During his funeral several people from the office were in tears, saying kind things like: “I loved him. We all loved him so much. He was such a wonderful person.” I started crying too, and I wondered if these people had told him that they loved him while he was alive, or whether it was only with death that this powerful word, love, had been used without question or hesitation.
I vowed to myself then and there that I would never again hesitate to speak up to the people I love and remind them of how much I appreciate them. They deserve to know they give meaning to my life. They deserve to know I think the world of them.
Bottom line: If you love someone today, tell them. If you appreciate someone today, tell them. There might not be a tomorrow. Today is the day to express your love and admiration. (Note: Angel and I discuss this in detail in the Relationships chapter of our NEW edition of 1,000 Little Things.)
2. Your judgments of others are often inaccurate.
You will never know exactly what another person is going through or what their whole story is. When you believe you do, realize that your assumptions about their life are in direct relation to your limited perspective.
Many people you believe to be successful are extremely unhappy. Many people you think have it easy worked their tail off achieve what they have. Many people who appear to be wealthy are in debt because of their extravagant tastes for material possessions. Many people who appear to you to be old and uncool were once every bit as young and hip and inexperienced as you.
3. Not trying is why most people fail.
It’s not the mistakes and failures you have to worry about, it’s the opportunities you miss when you don’t even try that hurt you the most. Trying always leads to success regardless of the outcome. Even mistakes and failures teach you what not to do next time. Thus, every outcome is a lesson that makes you stronger and wiser.
In the end, there’s only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the failure to try. The results you achieve are not based on what you plan to do or what you say you’ll do. Your results come from what you actually try and do consistently.
Your life will get better when you get better. Start investing in yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Make it a priority to learn and grow every day by building positive rituals and sticking to them. The stronger you become, the better your life will feel.
4. Patience does not mean waiting and doing nothing.
Patience involves productive activity. It means doing your very best with the resources available to you, while understanding that the results you seek are worth the required time and effort, and not available elsewhere for any less time and effort.
Patience is the realization that the quality of your life is much more significant than the quantity of things you fill it with. Patience is your willingness to accept and appreciate what you have right now, while you put forth a steady, focused effort into growing toward your dreams and goals.
5. You don’t need anything more to be happy.
Intuitively, you already know that the best stuff in life isn’t stuff at all, and that relationships, experiences and meaningful work are the staples of a happy, fulfilling life. Yet you live in a consumer driven society where your mind is incessantly subjected to clever advertising ploys that drive you, against your better judgment, to buy material goods you don’t need or even want.
At a certain point, the needless material objects you buy crowd out the emotional needs advertisers would like you to believe they are meant to support. So next time you’re getting ready to make an impulsive purchase, ask yourself if this thing is really better than the things you already have. Or have you been momentarily tricked into believing that you’re dissatisfied with what you already have? (Read Soulful Simplicity.)
6. You aren’t perfect, and neither is anyone else.
All humans are imperfect. At times, the confident lose confidence, the patient misplace their patience, the generous act selfish, and the knowledgeable second guess what they know.
And guess what? You’re human—we all are. We make mistakes, we lose our tempers, and we get caught off guard. We stumble, we slip, and we spin out of control sometimes.
But that’s the worst of it; we all have our moments. Most of the time we’re remarkable. So stand beside the people you love through their trying times of imperfection, and offer yourself the same courtesy; if you aren’t willing to, you don’t deserve to be around for the perfect moments either.
7. All the little things make a big difference.
Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment. It’s about the trials and errors that get you there—the blood, sweat, and tears—the small, inconsequential things you do every day. It all matters in the end—every step, every regret, every decision, and every affliction.
The seemingly useless happenings add up to something. The minimum wage job you had in high school. The evenings you spent socializing with coworkers you never see anymore. The hours you spent writing thoughts on a personal blog that no one reads. Contemplations about elaborate future plans that never came to be. All those lonely nights spent reading novels and news columns and comics strips and fashion magazines and questioning your own principles on life and sex and religion and whether or not you’re good enough just the way you are.
All of this has strengthened you. All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had. All of this has made you who you are today.
Truth be told, you’ve been broken down a 1,000 times and put yourself back together again. Think about how remarkable that is, and how far you’ve come. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even yesterday. You’re always growing… stronger!
8. Excuses are lies.
Make no mistake, there is always a lie lingering in between a dream and too many excuses. And the lie is you lying to yourself.
The excuses and explanations won’t do you any good. They won’t add any value to your life or improve the quality of it by even the slightest margin. To fulfill your calling and get where you wish to go in life requires more than just thinking and talking. These feats require focused and sustained action. And the good news is, you’re perfectly capable of taking whatever actions are necessary. You just have to choose to actually do it.
No one else can succeed for you on your behalf. The life you live is the life you build for yourself. There are so many possibilities to choose from, and so many opportunities for you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Now is the moment to actually step forward.
Now, it’s your turn…
Today, I hope you will have another inspired day, that you will dream boldly and dangerously, that you will make some progress that didn’t exist before you took action, that you will love and be loved in return, and that you will find the strength to accept and grow from the troubles you can’t change. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and wisdom in this crazy world), that you will, when you must, be wise with your decisions, and that you will always be extra kind to yourself and others.
The Easiest Way To Naturally Attract More Money, Love, Success And Happiness Into Your Life Today!"
Being Truly Thankful
Our gratitude deepens when we begin to be thankful for being alive and living the life we are living.
It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive.
We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.
Written By Matt Morris -
This is a question I hear from many people several times a week. My answer has evolved with technology and the ability for you to practice some online networking but my principles behind it remain the same and are critical to your success.
You may be resistant to building a network for business because you associate it with schmoozing, insincerity and an icky selfish feeling. With that said, when I answer your question, “How do I build a network?”, you’ll see that if you build a network for business correctly, you won’t be worried about any of that.
In the past, old-school networkers were transactional. They pursued relationships thinking solely about what other people can do for them. Relationship builders, on the other hand, try to help others first. They don’t keep score, and they prioritize high-quality relationships over a boat load of meaningless connections. This is what I like to call relationship networking.
2 skills are required when building a network for business (or even personal, for that matter)
- Walk in the other person’s shoes. You need to be able to understand the other person’s perspective or how they view the world.
- Begin with the GIVE in mind. Transactional relationships are all about WIIFM (what’s in it for me). This idea flips that on its head. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to let go of all your own interests. However, studies have shown that those who spend some genuine time and interest in finding shared interests have proven to be better at building a network for business.
So now that I’ve covered the skills needed for building a network for business, let’s move on to the tips to guarantee success.
6 Tips to Building a Network for Business
1. Focus on the correct people. The secret to networking isn’t to attend a networking event and pass out as many business cards as you can. In fact, I don’t even carry business cards! I see people come out to events and just start handing out business cards like candy while paying no attention to who they’re even giving them to. The goal is to focus on the people who can help your career and who have shared interests with you.
2. Make it a win/win. I mentioned this above but feel it’s important enough to reiterate again and again… never come off as a schmoozer. Focus on the other person’s needs and help them meet them. They’ll want to help you too. It’s human nature.
3. Connect the dots. Sometimes, you’re going to meet people who you can’t help directly or who can’t help you. You should still try to introduce them to others who can help them. Some of the best networkers I know are connectors. They’re remembered well by many.
4. Lead with the GIVE. In networking situations, people expect you to ask them for help. Turn that around on them and watch the results.
5. Use social networks. Online networking is critical nowadays! Millennials can’t even imagine life without it. Honestly, I can’t either. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are powerful tools you can use to connect in a personal way to people all over the world. Online networking is a great way to broaden your network and share what’s important to you.
6. Keep the contact warm. I’m sure this has happened to you too. An old friend reached out to you out of the blue who you haven’t heard from in years and asks you to buy something they’re pitching. Frankly, nothing pisses me off more than that. Don’t be that guy. After you choose the right people to network with, remember to stay in contact with them.
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