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To “live one day at a time” is to focus on the present moment, and not have to worry about the past or future. ... Focusing on the goals and mission of the
present moment allows these individuals to work on developing useful coping skills now, so that they are prepared for the future and able to handle the past.
One Day At A Time takes this philosophy forward by incorporating some important message into every single episode of the show. ... To be able to incorporate
important messages into every episode, without making it too preachy is something not many shows can do. One Day At A Time pulls it off in every single episode.
Why It’s Vital You Live One Day At A Time (+ How To Do It)
You ever have one of those days where it seems as though everything goes wrong?
No matter what you do, nothing seems to work out the way you wanted?
You get so frustrated you want to scream until you are hoarse or throw something as hard as you can and watch it shatter into a thousand pieces.
I firmly believe everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand what those reasons are.
You wake up late and have just enough time to take the dog out for his morning walk in the park before getting ready to go to work.
You rush and put his harness and leash on him and head out.
When you get to the park you turn right on the walking trail but your dog has other plans.
He takes off in the opposite direction, ripping the leash from your hand.
After half an hour, you finally catch up to him.
Now you’re hot and sweaty and running out of time to get home, take a shower, and get to work on time.
After rushing through the rest of your morning routine, you get on the road, only to be held up halfway there at a railroad crossing.
Time is ticking by and with the passing of each boxcar, your frustration grows.
Finally, the train passes and traffic starts flowing again.
Now you’re really late.
You make it to the parking garage at work, only to find your designated spot taken by someone with out of state license plates.
Now you have to circle your way up several stories to find an empty spot.
When you reach your office, you are directed to go see your supervisor.
He calls you into his office and has you take a seat.
Dread fills you as he sits behind his desk and leans back in his chair.
“We have a new client.
His account is large enough that it would take an entire team to manage it.
I was going to offer the position of the head of the team to you, however, with your tardiness today, I decided to give it to Sarah instead. I’m sorry.”
There goes your chance of a promotion.
In one quick swoop, any chance of upward movement in the company has been taken away from you.
You return to your office and slump in your chair.
If only the dog had behaved.
If only the train hadn’t blocked traffic.
If only some jerk hadn’t taken your parking spot.
Why did this all have to happen?
But how would you feel if you think about the ‘what if's?
What if the dang dog hadn’t taken off?
You would have taken your normal stroll down the walking path.
When you made your way around the corner, your focus would have been on the dog.
You never would have seen the rattlesnake coiled up on the side of the path until it was too late.
It would have struck out, sinking its fangs into your leg and spewed its venom into before you could get away.
Instead, the snake was able to make its way out of the busy part of the park, and into the woods.
What if you had managed to get across the tracks before the train’s arrival?
You would have made it through the next green light, just in time for the drunk driver to careen their truck through the intersection, T-bone your car and pin it between the truck and the cement
barrier. Instead, that drunk driver made it through the clear intersection and was pulled over by a cop a block later and sobered up in jail awaiting charges without hurting anyone.
What if someone hadn’t parked in your designated parking spot?
After you had parked, you would have opened your car door and stepped out, right into an oil spill. Your heel would have slipped, causing you to fall back and hit your head on the corner of the
car door. Luckily, you would’ve been knocked out so that the pain from the broken ankle wouldn’t hit you until later.
Instead, the man who took your parking spot had no issue with his non-slip soles and was able to conduct the business he needed to.
What if you weren’t late and had gotten the new client’s account?
Then a month later you would never have applied for a position that paid twice as much at a rival company.
You’d never see the success and happiness that the new company provided. Instead, you grew wings and soared higher than you ever imagined possible.
You never know what life is going to throw at you.
You can get pissed off and frustrated when life throws curve balls at you, or you can choose to look at things from a different aspect.
Ask yourself the what if’s.
8 Things That Suck Your Spiritual Energy and Make You More Mindless
Remove these ‘fillers’ to make space for things that matter.
The participants measure time spent watching TV along with their thinking and reasoning skills.
The study authors looked at the time spent watching TV in 2008–09 and the cognitive measures of language and memory in 2014–15.
Over this six-year period, people who watched 3.5 hours of TV each day experienced a greater decline in verbal memory — independent of other factors including socioeconomic
status, overall physical health, and depression.
That’s quite something from an activity that seems nontoxic.
Dr. Fancourt, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at University College London explains why watching TV leads to such a
decline in cognitive ability.
When you’re watching TV all you’re doing is passively receiving rapid changes in sounds and images.
“Watching television has been shown in laboratory studies to lead to a more alert but less focused brain.
Some television viewing is stressful, and stress is also associated with impairments in cognition,” she said. Not only do you degrade mentally but also physically — for most of the time watching
TV is sedentary.
I’m not saying that TV and movies are no good. But we need to exercise our discrimination to:
Limit the time spent on it
Choosing the right kind of content to watch
I can intuitively know a lot about you by the kind of content you watch.
Because it has a significant effect on our consciousness, moods, and behaviors.
Just like a slowly dripping faucet can waste gallons of water in a day, the habit of binge-watching taken all together over a period of a couple of years is formidable, even though it seems
inconsequential at the moment.
Gossip is often argued as important for us to survive and socialize.
In fact, psychologist Robin Dunbar writes, “Were we not able to engage in discussions of these
[social and personal] issues, we would not be able to sustain the kinds of societies that we do.”
Gossip is a form of cultural learning.
And you may point out that it’s not always negative.
But I’m not talking about the esoteric definition that research gives.
I’m referring to the conversations about other people, which are never fact-checked, sensational, and that which you talk about after you’re four drinks down.
While it can help connect people, the connection is fragile.
Deep bonds are not formed out of casual gossip.
And small talk always comes out of big mouths.
As many will attest, gossiping often leaves us feeling empty inside.
It develops a subconscious belief that you’re the kind of person who talks about people behind their backs.
That we’re always rambling about what we can’t control. Or the things that have nothing to do with us.
Don’t let the important things slide away in favor of mindless gossip.
Shiv Khera in his book, You Can Win gives practical questions to remove it from your life.
The next time you’re tempted to gossip, ask these questions:
Is it the truth?
Is it kind and gentle?
Is it necessary?
Am I spreading rumors?
Do I say positive things about others?
Do I enjoy and encourage others to spread rumors?
Does my conversation begin with “Don’t tell anyone?”
Can I maintain confidentiality?
Asking even one of these questions is enough to break your gossip loop and avoid toxicity.
We tend to think that to have peace, we need to have a lot of stuff.
At some point, we all have thought about the perfect antique that would look good on the side table which doesn’t need to be there in the first place!
To some extent, having possessions and living in a beautiful place is fine.
I’m not promoting asceticism.
But if you let it go out of control, it takes up a lot of money, time, and mental energy.
The more stuff you have, the more you have to clean and rearrange.
Add to that the constant worry of it breaking down.
In Delhi, India, the city I live in, the concept of residential apartments is popular.
There are floors and floors full of apartments that are built with the exact same dimensions.
As a child, I remember going to my friend’s place in the same apartment and thinking “Wow, this place is so much bigger than ours!”
Later I said to my mother, in part excitement and part jealousy, “Ma, they have a bigger house in the same residential complex!”
And then my mother explained that they just have lesser stuff in their drawing room than we do which makes the room look larger. Alas, that’s true even now.
To date, our drawing room has 4 couches and two stools for heaven’s sake!
As you can guess, this makes everything difficult — finding shoes that are often tucked in below the couch, no space to move around, and obsessive cleaning whenever one of them starts to collect
When you live in such a place, you’re not surprised to see minimalism on fire.
People have finally realized that their peace of mind is the top priority and not the momentary satisfaction of owning things.
Perhaps you should too.
Social media in many ways is the TV, radio, and newspaper of our generation.
Countless hours are being wasted on social media, as you read this, by people who’re trying to impress others by what they have and do.
Just like everything in life, not all social media is bad.
I myself write and post on LinkedIn — but I try to be valuable to people, instead of showing off.
I’m not saying that my content is good to consume and others are not. But it’s for you to decide where you draw the line.
I know people who can’t resist being with themselves for even a minute before they open Instagram. I’ve seen people on the subway “pull to refresh” their Instagram feeds a hundred times on a short
At the end of the day, it’s just an unhealthy preoccupation with others’ lives.
The best people in the world may be creating on social media but not spending their time consuming it.
I’ve long removed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and not even downloaded any other social media app that has come since then.
And without a doubt, I feel a LOT better now.
Too Much Reading
When I started reading, I had a major problem — I wanted to read and finish everything that I was interested in.
Soon I realized that’s not going to happen and so I quit reading for some time.
After a few months, I came back to reading with full force. But this time I went to the other end of the spectrum — I was reading all the time, literally.
Whether I was in the queue getting groceries or on a road trip, I had a book in my hand.
That too didn’t work out. Because the balance is right in the middle.
Consider what Naval Ravikant says about reading:
“I just view it as a blog archive. A blog might have 300 posts on it and you could read just the two, three, five that you need right now. I think you can think of a book the same way. Then that
opens the world wide web of books back open to us instead of it being buried somewhere.”
“Feel free to skip around; it’s your book. There are books that I’ve literally started in the middle. I’ve read near to the end and then I’ve put it down…That liberation, that freedom just allows
me to read.”
Reading for the sake of reading is a “filler” you should eliminate.
Just because others think you should read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear doesn’t mean you should. I still haven’t read it.
I may be wrong, I may be right. But who cares.
Many books themselves are “filler” books.
They have one single idea that they keep wrapping the whole book around.
The titles may be promising, but the content turns out to be a bunch of fluff.
Reading books is not a competition.
It may look good on your Goodreads profile but it doesn’t matter.
It’s not about how much you’ve read, it’s about how much you’ve understood.
If you don’t take inventory of your thoughts, they can slowly eat away at your happiness.
Once you feel consumed by self-criticism, doubt, and negative thoughts, it’s hard to accomplish much of anything, ever.
So I pose to you this: start writing your thoughts down.
It can be as simple as a few stream-of-consciousness sentences in the morning.
Or perhaps you journal what you’re struggling with most.
Maybe even start a gratitude practice to bring some positivity into your life.
Stop wasting time on things that don’t add to your life.
You don’t need to say yes to everything, plain and simple.
In fact, agreeing to every plan that comes your way may make you feel like you’re less connected to your life, simply because others dictate your schedule.
It’s OK to say no to your co-worker’s holiday party.
You can let your friend know that you can’t make it to their gender reveal party because you need to take that day on other things.
Once you stop allocating your time to everyone but yourself, you can finally do the things that feel like they’re piling up, like building that Ikea nightstand that’s been sitting in your room for
Or simply relax. Sometimes, we all need a day off to unplug, disconnect, and do whatever we please.
If you don’t reflect on your life, you’re bound to make mistakes or choices that hurt you over and over. What brought you to the point you’re currently at is the culmination of your past.
So when was the last time you learned from it?
I changed my love life by taking note of what went wrong in my relationships.
I found a career I love by considering how much fulfillment I felt in my past jobs.
I worked through bouts of depression by making peace with painful memories.
But I wouldn't have accomplished any of that had I not taken the time to reflect on how my life had gone thus far.
The same applies to your situation.
If you want to feel like you’ve got your life together finally, consider what lessons you can learn from the life you’ve already lived.
If you want to make moves, make plans.
I mentioned above that I changed careers.
And that wasn’t even the first time.
I’ve changed careers twice in the short time I’ve been alive.
But let me be clear: I wouldn’t have been able to make either of these changes without a plan.
I took a coding course to gain that skillset, and I worked as a nanny until I made enough money from writing that I could do it full-time.
If you want to make big moves in your professional life, you need the stepping stones to get there. Sit down, plan those out, and then move forward towards something more rewarding for you.
Eat the frog.
I came across this term when my friend and fellow writer,Eva Gutierrez
, posted it on Instagram.
When you wake up each morning, start your day with the hardest or most annoying thing on your to-do list.
When you’re hung up on the things you need to do but don’t want to do, you’re more likely to procrastinate.
That scroll through Instagram becomes a scroll through TikTok, which somehow ends up with you binge-watching The Office.
See what I’m getting at?
When you tackle the hardest parts of your to-do list (or life in general), you feel more motivated to accomplish other things rather than putting them off.
Make schedules the night or week before.
Whether this applies to your full-time job, side hustle, or fledgling career aspirations, save yourself some time and headache; make schedules.
There’s nothing that eases my foggy morning brain, like knowing exactly what I need to get done that day.
If you find it hard to start your mornings or don’t know how to organize your days to fit in all your goals, adopt the idea of schedules.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy complicated. I keep mine in the Notes app on my phone.
That way, each morning, you’ll be able to hit the ground running, rather than feel overwhelmed by having everything and nothing to do.
Get more sleep.
When you’re deprived of sleep, you’re in a worse mood, make crappier decisions, and
your memory is impaired.
It’s not a badge of honor to boast that you only slept four hours; it’s shooting yourself in the foot.
Prioritizing my sleep is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.
At the very least, I know that being cranky and exhausted won’t be an issue when I’m enjoying life and working through my goals.
Experts suggest getting an average of 8 hours of sleep per night.
Begin prioritizing your time in bed and watch your overall mood about life begin to change.
Use the Pomodoro Technique.
The fact that humans sit for hours and hours during the time they’re awake is slowly killing us
But I understand to an extent; most of us have to sit to get our work done.
But what you can control is how long you sit.
So I want to introduce to you the Pomodoro Technique.
The method is used to instill a sense of urgency in people to improve productivity, but I want you to implement it to improve your health.
Every 25 minutes, stand up and stretch. If you can walk around your apartment or work desk.
The goal is to break up how long you sit for, rather than being slumped over in a chair for hours of your day.
See a doctor.
You know that ache in your back you’ve been having for months?
Or that mole you’ve been meaning to get checked but are too afraid to? Or the fact you feel dizzy easily when you stand up?
It’s finally time to stop putting it off and see a doctor.
Part of getting your life together is being in your best physical health. But you can’t do that if it’s been years since you last saw a doctor, dentist, etc.
Scheduling an appointment is essentially eating the frog of your over-arching life to-do list.
Once it’s over, you’re going to feel a lot more at ease.
Talk about your feelings more.
There will never come a day when you’ll regret learning how to talk about your feelings with those closest to you.
You’ll strengthen your relationships and move through any resentments that might be lingering.
You’d be surprised how much more fulfilling your relationships are, friends and family included when you can talk about deeper things than what’s been going on with sports lately.
Or the fact you’ve been “fine” whenever someone asks how you’ve been.
So the next time you’re talking with someone, don’t shy away from speaking up about your experiences and how people affect you.
Sure, you might be met with some resistance at first, but it’ll be better for all your relationships in the long run.
Learn better conflict skills.
Everyone argues, plain and simple. In relationships.
But when you learn better conflict skills, you can take a disagreement from a full-out fight to a constructive argument.
Plus, your relationship with that person will sustain less injury from doing so.
This looks like learning how to communicate issues without name-calling, deflecting blame, or belittling someone.
It’s learning to solve problems with a team mindset, rather than pitting yourself against everyone.
Listen with intent.
How good are you at listening to people?
I’m not just talking about hearing what someone says.
I want to know how much you process, understand, and empathize with the people in your life.
Because not many people do this.
Between having our attention span glued to our phones and always wanting to get the next word in, not many people have solid listening skills.
You’ll strengthen the bond with people closest to you when you learn to silence distractions and listen with intent.
When you start implementing these tiny changes into your life, you’ll start to notice a domino effect. Improving your health makes you a better friend. Being a better friend helps your mental
health. Your mental health improves your work-life. And so on.
These might be tiny changes, but they’re powerful. Because, with only one life to live, there’s no better time to get it together in a way that feels authentic to you, then the present.
Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the desires that drain you.
They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.
I don’t think anything could be closer to the truth, and yet all too often we find ways of complicating things for ourselves.
We look for happiness where it does not exist – in shallow goals and desires – in possessions, quick thrills, and impressing the wrong people.
Angel and I were recently reminded of this when we met a family of six staying at a hotel in near our home.
We saw them hanging around outside the lobby, sharing stories and laughing hysterically.
As we walked by, Angel and I said hello to them and asked where they were from. “Oh, we’re from here,” the mother said. “Our house burned down to the ground yesterday, but miraculously, all of us
made it out safely. And that makes today a day worth smiling about.”
Talk about a wake-up call.
Some people might say they had lost everything, and yet this family knew better – they knew they had it all.
Because there really is nothing like joyful tears and deep breaths after a long, hard laugh with the people you love – nothing in the whole world like a sore stomach for the right reasons and a
grateful heart to back it up.
That’s a situation where true happiness is surely found.
And there are many other sources of true happiness as well.
But as I’ve said, there are also lots of common traps – goals and desires that we think will bring us happiness, but actually do the exact opposite.
Recognizing these traps is the key. In fact, I believe one of the best feelings comes when you realize that you can be perfectly happy without the things you once thought you needed.
With this in mind, consider the ten goals and desires (traps) below and how they may be holding you back. Each of them is popular in our culture, and thus common in our lives, but rather than
contributing to our happiness, they rob us of it.
So say it out loud with me:
“To be happier, I do NOT need…”
To please everyone – Be careful not to give so much of yourself to others that you end up completely losing yourself. When you go around
pleasing everyone but yourself, you are the one that gets hurt in the end. The late and great Herbert Bayard Swope said it like this: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is
trying to please everybody.” That is spot on advice if you ask me. Because truthfully, you are never going to please everyone anyway. At some point you will hold an unpopular opinion – one that gives
you meaning and makes you feel alive. And when you do, you ought to hold on tight, tune out the noise, and make it count.
Everything to be easy – You have to do hard things to be happy in life. The things no one else is doing. The things that frighten you. The
things others can’t do for you. The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward. Because those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the
difference between existing and living – between knowing the path and walking the path – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.
Certainty and guarantees – Some people build too many walls in their lives and not enough bridges. It sounds crazy, but they would rather be
certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy. Don’t be one of them. Open yourself up. Take chances. Run free. To accomplish amazing things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan,
but also believe. Be a dreamer, a believer, and a courageous and cheerful thinker. Be a positive motivator, a productive doer, and a go-getter who keeps her head in the clouds and her feet on the
ground. Let the spirit of passion and possibility ignite a fire within you to do something worthwhile today and every day, and don’t forget to spread your enthusiasm to those around you. (Read
To be better than others – The size of our universe shrinks dramatically when we place ourselves at the center – when we think everyone is our
competition – when we think we have to be richer, smarter, and more attractive than the person sitting next to us. Such a goal just keeps a person alienated and tirelessly running in place. Now, on
the flip-side, take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or smarter, or more attractive, who has not the slightest interest even in being better than anyone else: she’s
free. Bottom line: Compete with yourself only.
More control over everything and everyone – Sometimes we put too much interest into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives. Learn to
relax and ride the path that life takes you sometimes. Incredible change will happen in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what
you do not. Freeing yourself from trying to control the insignificant and uncontrollable things lets you experience more of the goodness around you. In fact, the greatest joys are often the
unexpected surprises that arrive when you are flexible and open to life’s twists and turns.
Immense moments of glory – Graduations, wedding days, lavish vacations – these times are often fun-filled and deeply celebrated, but these
times pass, because time passes. This is something we rarely grasp at first. True, lasting happiness is found in the appreciation of all the small things. For me, there are random moments – tossing a
salad, coming up the driveway to our home, ironing the seams flat on a dress shirt, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the sun rising over the Austin skyline, hearing a giggle from my
son who’s playing in the other room – when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. This is my true happiness: arbitrary moments of sudden, throbbing appreciation for a life I feel privileged to lead.
(Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Simplicity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
Other people to constantly validate me – Relationships are essential, but happiness originates from within. It is not exclusively dependent on
external validation or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend entirely on the behavior and actions of others. Keep this in
mind. Never give all your power to anyone else. Until you make complete peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have or who you’re with. Learn to love and respect yourself
first, before loving the idea of other people loving and respecting you.
Perfect harmony in all relationships at all times – Harmony in relationships is nice when it’s sincere, but too often we try to fake it.
Effective communication is king. You have to talk it out sometimes. After all, the only way to be happy in life is to live with integrity. This means: Not settling for less than what you know you
deserve in your relationships. Being clear and asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create occasional tension. Behaving in ways that are in
agreement with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not just what others believe. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Boundaries & Expectations”
chapter of our BRAND NEW BOOK, 1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships.)
A superior time and place – The reason many people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the
present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. The key, of course, is to do the opposite. Appreciate your past without reliving it, handle your present with confidence, and
face your future without fear. Life is simply too short to spend at war with yourself. Letting go of the past and future is your first step to happiness and peace in the present. Realize that you are
today where your thoughts and actions have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts and actions today take you. Bottom line: You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The
only way to live is to press play, and dance.
Happiness 24/7 – Absolutely no one is happy all of the time. Because you simply can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes. This is a
harsh truth, I know. Just keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to experience considerable fluctuations in your level of happiness from day to day, month to month, and even year to year. Believing
and expecting otherwise will only lead to disillusionment. But even when life is less than blissful, you are still in charge of how you respond. Choose positivity, always. The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face the day, with a smile.
And let me leave you with this to think about: According to a recent scientific study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, overall levels of happiness decline from one’s
teens until one’s 40s and then pick up again until they peak in one’s early 70s.
So the chances are that your happiest days are yet to come.
Hopefully that gives you something to smile about today.
Just keep doing your best by taking life moment by moment, complaining very little, and being grateful for the little things that mean a lot.
Darker days are just as much a part of life as are the days graced with sunshine.
When we refer to a "beautiful day," we are often describing a day that is sunny, clear, and without a cloud in sight to mar a sky that is a brilliantly perfect
We find ourselves bouncing along, light in spirit, free from worries, and enjoying the moment.
That is until the clouds begin to form.
The sky may turn grey, and fog may roll in. Puffs of white take on whimsical, darker shades, and our beautiful day disappears along with the sunshine... or so it
A clear blue sky often inspires in us good cheer, bringing on a lighter, more carefree day.
We may find ourselves spending time outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and basking in the warmth of the sun.
Yet should clouds appear to wash the sky with shadows, we may let this change of weather decrease our energy and enthusiasm, pulling us into our own cloudy
Darker days are just as much a part of life as are the days graced with sunshine.
They show us a different perspective of our world while helping us appreciate the moments of illumination that inevitably follow.
A rainy day with clouds helps to clear the air, washing away stagnation.
Still, it's hard not to feel gloomy or think that the day has been ruined when there are clouds hanging over us.
Yet if you can remember that these shades of grey won't last forever and that hidden behind the clouds is the blue sky, you will find that the beauty of your day is
merely playing a game of peek-a-boo with you.
Like the mishaps and interruptions that occasionally block the brilliance that is our own lives from shining through, clouds eventually
clear away so we can open up to a brighter horizon.
The next time you wake up to a cloudy day, remember that these shades of grey in life are there just for the moment. And that no matter how hard the rain falls or how chilly the fog is, the clouds
will go away, the sun will break through, and you will be able to see the sky that has always and forever been a beautiful and brilliant blue.
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.
Many people are very different from ourselves and coming to a place of acceptance can make the road easier
All people have their own way of being in the world.
It is easiest to comprehend this basic yet profound fact when we consider that every human being on the planet occupies a distinct role in the universe. We grow up in different environments,
affected by a unique range of influences.
The preferences, values, and beliefs we embrace are frequently related intimately to our origins.
And the need to individualize our experiences is instinctive, as doing so enables us to cope when we must face challenges on our own. Consequently, each of us has developed a perspective that is
Interacting peacefully and constructively with people from all walks of life is a matter of first understanding where they are coming from.
Then we can adjust our expectations so that we avoid making undue assumptions about what they are about.
In the face of emerging interpersonal conflict, it is easy to assume that others are being difficult, unreasonable, or stubborn.
We are apt to grow frustrated when someone in our environment does not share our opinions or feel compelled to support us in our endeavors.
It is likely that the individual or individuals before us may simply possess differing notions with regard to what is and what is not important in this life.
We can ease the tension that exists between us by reaffirming our belief in the fundamental right of all beings to determine their own destinies.
To foster a harmonious relationship, we need to do our best to relate to the unique universes they inhabit.
And as we discover what makes them tick, our ability to find a mode of interaction that is pleasing to both of us is enhanced.
When there are barriers keeping you from connecting with someone else, think of questions you can ask them to gain a more thorough understanding of their point of view.
You may discover that in addition to the differences in perspective dividing you, they are subject to insecurities and other personal issues that influence their way of seeing the world.
It is likely that you will never fully grasp the myriad complexities embodied by humanity, but you can go a long way toward encouraging mutually satisfying relations by reaching out to others in
the spirit of sympathetic comprehension.
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 for 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
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
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
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.
“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
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 will 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 than you
could previously perceive.
From this level of joy and purpose, you’ll be empowered to consciously create a future you are worthy of.
When we are satisfied with our life, we do not look for experiences of winning and losing to define our self-worth.
The urges that drive us to compete with others tend to be straightforward. Years of both evolution and societal influences have shaped us to pit ourselves against our peers. The needs and desires
that inspire us to compete with ourselves, however, are entirely personal and thus far more complex. A need to outdo our earlier efforts--to confirm that we have grown as individuals--can motivate us
to reach new heights of accomplishment. We are capable of using our past achievements as a foundation from which we venture confidently into the unknown. Yet if this drive to compete with our former
selves is the result of low self-worth or a need to prove ourselves to others, even glowing successes can feel disheartening. Examining why we compete with ourselves enables us to positively identify
those contests that will enrich our existence.
There are many reasons we strive to outdo ourselves. When we are ambitious in our quest for growth, we are driven to set and meet our own expectations. We do not look to external experiences of
winning and losing to define our sense of self-worth. Rather, we are our own judges and coaches, monitoring our progress and gauging how successful we have become. Though we seek the thrill of
accomplishment tirelessly, we do so out of a legitimate need to improve the world or to pave the way for those who will follow in our footsteps. Be careful, though, that your competitiveness is not
the result of an unconscious need to show others that you are capable of meeting and then exceeding their standards.
Consider, too, that successful efforts that would be deemed more than good enough when evaluated from an external perspective may not satisfy our inner judge, who can drive us ruthlessly. In order to
attain balance, we have to learn the art of patience even as we strive to achieve our highest vision of who we are. When we feel drained, tense, or unhappy as we pursue our goals, it may be that we
are pushing ourselves for the wrong reasons. Our enthusiasm for our endeavors will return as soon as we recall that authentic evolution is a matter not of winning but of taking pride in our progress
at any pace.
We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together.
Seeing an image of the planet Earth taken from space inspires awe in many of us, since we can clearly see the connectedness of all of us who live upon this planet.
We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together, breathing the same air, drinking from the same water,
eating food grown from the same earth.
We share everything on this planet, whether we are conscious of it or not, with other people, and those people are our brothers and sisters.
Keeping a photograph or painting of the planet Earth in a prominent place in our homes can be a positive way to remember our interconnectedness.
Meditating on the fact that any sense of separation we have from one another is truly an illusion, we will naturally begin to make more conscious choices in our daily lives.
The simple act of preparing food, or determining how to dispose of our refuse, can be done with the consciousness that whatever we do will affect all our brothers and sisters, no matter how far
away they live, as well as the planet herself.
When we foster this kind of awareness in ourselves out of a feeling of awe, it becomes easier to be conscious than to fall back into old habits of thinking of
ourselves as separate.
When we contemplate the earth in her wholeness, we attune ourselves to the truth of the bigger picture, which is the Earth, and all of us, every one of us, living on her body. We are connected to one
another in the most intimate way, because we literally share our living space. As more people become aware of the reality of our interdependency, things will shift in a positive direction, and much
of the discord that we see now will give way to a more cooperative, loving conscious. This is happening already, so as our consciousness grows, we can join with the many other minds working to live
in the spirit of togetherness.
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 toocomplicated?
Do you find yourself longing for a simpler time?
Wikipedia says,"Simplicity is the property, condition or qualityof 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
We are overloaded with decisions that have to be made.
Even ifyou're an info junkie or someone who thrives on options, there isbenefit in slowing down and simplifying your life,
even if onlyoccasionally. Simplifying your life - internally and externally -can free up space and time for you and can lead to more joy andmore
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 moresimplicity?
Today will bring you a new awareness, a lesson or a manifestationthat you are making progress - IF YOU LOOK FOR IT! No matter
howlarge or small, please record it in your Evidence Journal. It willonly take a few moments and will AUTOMATICALLY put you in the Flow.
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.
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
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.
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.
It is important when pain comes our way to honor the experience, as it is usually a great
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.
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.
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
Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along. Waste not a minute on outcomes you can’t control.
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Your honest word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions.
Promises are easily made. Keeping them often proves more difficult because when we are pressured to strive always for perfection, we find it simpler to agree to undertake impossible tasks than to
say no. Likewise, there is an infinite array of circumstances that conspire to goad us into telling falsehoods, even when we hold a great reverence for truth. When you endeavor to consistently keep
your word, however, you protect your reputation and promote yourself as someone who can be trusted to be unfailingly truthful. Though your honesty may not always endear you to others--for there will
always be those who fear the truth--you can nonetheless be certain that your integrity is never tarnished by the patina of deceit. Since frankness and sincerity form the basis of all life-enriching
relationships, your word is one of your most precious and powerful possessions.
When we promise more than we can deliver, hide from the consequences of our actions through falsehoods, or deny our true selves to others, we hurt those who were counting on us by proving that their
faith was wrongly given. We are also hurt by the lies we tell and the promises we break. Integrity is the foundation of civilization, allowing people to live, work, and play side by side without fear
or apprehension. As you cultivate honesty within yourself, you will find that your honor and reliability put people at ease. Others will feel comfortable seeking out your friendship and collaborating
with you on projects of great importance, certain that their positive expectations will be met. If you do catch yourself in a lie, ask yourself what you wanted to hide and why you felt you couldn't
be truthful. And if life's surprises prevent you from keeping your word, simply admit your error apologetically and make amends quickly.
Since the path of truth frequently represents the more difficult journey, embarking upon it builds character. You can harness the power of your word when you do your best to live a life of honesty
and understand what motivates dishonesty. In keeping your agreements and embodying sincerity, you prove that you are worthy of trust and perceive values as something to be incorporated into your
THINK BETTER about yourself and your present opportunities
It’s January 2020 after all—the beginning of a beautiful journey! So, here’s a positive TO-DO list for the year ahead—seven key things to start doing for yourself:
1. Start embracing your humanness and giving yourself more credit. – “Human” is the only real label we are
born with, yet we forget so easily. To become attached to an opinionated label of depressed, divorced, diseased, rejected, or poor, is to be like the rain, that doesn’t know it is also the clouds… or
the ice, that forgets it is water. For we are far more than the shape we’re currently in. And we, like the wind, water, and sky, will change forms many times in our lives, while forever remaining
2. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter. If you don’t value yourself, look out for
yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself. Remember, it is absolutely possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. And once your
needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those you love who need you most.
4. Start putting your heart and soul into the things you do. – There’s a big difference between empty fatigue
and gratifying exhaustion. Life is short. Invest daily in meaningful activities.
5. Start taking more deep breaths, so you can mindfully collect more lessons for the long run. – It’s
incredibly easy to overestimate the significance of a single decision, outcome, or event in the heat of the moment. But you must remind yourself to take a deep breath when things don’t go your way.
Your results in the long run—good or bad—are always the byproduct of many small decisions, outcomes, and events over time. The truth is we all fail sometimes. The greater truth is that no single
failure ever defines us.
6. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest
people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect—people who reciprocate your kindness and
commitment. And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
7. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others. And while
the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go. Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing
the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
Today really is the beginning. Let there be no excuses, no explanations, and no regrets in 2020. You can make adjustments starting NOW that will help you feel better, think more clearly, and live a
year free of needless headaches and heartache.
Truly, when you THINK BETTER about yourself and your present opportunities, you LIVE BETTER despite the challenges you face.
Don't wait for time. Make it.
Don't wait for love. Feel it.
Don't wait for money. Provide value and earn it.
Don't wait for the path. Find it.
Don't wait for opportunity. Create it.
Don't go for less. Get the best.
Don't compare. Be unique.
Don't fight your misfortune. Transform it.
Don't avoid failure. Use it.
Don't dwell on mistake. Learn from it.
Don't back down. Go around.
Don't close your eyes. Open your mind.
Don't run for life. Embrace it.
Click on these links for awesome insight for
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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.
20 Tiny Changes You Can Make in Your Home to Make Life Simpler
“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
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.
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.
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.
Our gratitude deepens when we begin to be thankful for being alive and living the life we are living.
Often when we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to
be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, and when we feel it, we feel it regardless of our
circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with
this great mystery that is life.
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.
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
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
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.