economize or agonize

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”

—Confucius, ancient Chinese Philosopher

Image of rocks balanced on a plane

Image from LinkedIn

Over many years of coaching, I’ve noticed several interesting trends.

In general, my clients in their twenties, thirties, and forties are most often on a highly intentional growth trajectory. They want to build wealth, pursue success, and increase their standard of living. This almost always involves accumulating possessions, and often increases the demands and complexity of their lives.

As they reach their fifties, sixties, and seventies, they seem to be more focused on scaling back, simplification, and greater balance. It is often because their many years of living in the fast lane, carrying too much stuff and stress, has become more of a burden than they care to shoulder going forward.

EXERCISE:

Where would a “less is more” strategy, regardless of your stage of life, provide you the added freedom and peace of mind you desire?

If You Want to Be Free

“If you want to be free, learn to live simply.”

—John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

Image of a bird on a wire, with today's quote

In the last few months, I have posted several times regarding minimalism and essentialism, which point to the value and freedom associated with a simple life.

What areas of your world would benefit most by slowing down, paring back, downsizing, or even eliminating completely? Explore this list as possible places to start:

Relationships Career Media Consumption Diet
Wardrobe Living/Working Environments Schedule Health & Spiritual Practice

EXERCISE:

What one action can and will you take (or stop taking) to gain a bit more freedom in your life?

Consider making this exercise a daily practice and let me know what you discover.

“Liberate yourself from the need to be right.”

“Liberate yourself from the need to be right.”

-Seth Godin, in “Unleashing the Ideavirus”

Photo from Flickr by Jamison Wieser

Photo from Flickr by Jamison Wieser

Have you ever been in a prison? I hope not. Freedom, and the desire for it, is a fundamental value shared by people throughout the world. Unfortunately, many of us are trapped to some degree in self-generated prisons.

In today’s quote, Seth Godin says the need to be right, and thus making others wrong, imprisons us in a world of judgement and dysfunctional relationships at work, at home, and within our communities. You’ve probably heard the phrases, “Dead Right,” or “Dead Wrong” applied to people in your world. Just watch the evening news to see how this thinking has generated some of the domestic and global issues facing us today.

What I observe personally and professionally is that these behaviors exact a very high price in our relationships and our organizations.

EXERCISE:

Consider the following questions as you go through your day, with the intent of liberating yourself from the insatiable need to be “right”:

  1. What is my inner voice saying about the situation I’m facing?
  2. Are my thoughts supportive or critical?
  3. How open and receptive am I to what others are saying?
  4. What value or goodness can I find in their words?

By diligently applying this exercise, and agreeing to bring these practices to others in your world, you can virtually guarantee yourself a new level of life satisfaction.