“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

—Joshua Becker, Founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist

Image from Unsplash by Chuttersnap

Did you know that the self-storage industry generates revenue of 38 billion dollars annually and that almost 10 percent of households use them? Many also have basements and garages full of stored items.

The volume of self-storage units in the United States alone could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothes, skis, and keepsakes more than 26 times.

Beyond the costs, consider the maintenance and generalized stress caused by the clutter and junk most of us would never pay for again if given the chance.

EXERCISE:

What are some strategies to lighten your load to live a simpler and perhaps more minimalist lifestyle? At the same time, what are a few life experiences you wish to collect that may only take up space on your camera or computer hard drive? What actions will you take today to make progress in both areas?

“The man who runs may fight again.”

“The man who runs may fight again.”

—Menander, 2nd Century BC Greek dramatist

Image from Unsplash by Raul Cacho Oses

From an early age, we are repeatedly exposed to messages such as: “Be brave!”, “Never Give Up!”, “Winners never quit and quitters never win!”. There are countless stories, shows, and movies that play off the “feel good” tale of victory and coming out on top.

I’m all for being an optimist on most occasions, however, many times a far more realistic and objective perspective may be the wiser way to go.

What fights and battles are occurring in your professional and personal worlds? Where do you see progress and have a sense of hope that you will prevail? In what situation do you feel and know deep down that it’s time to “fold’em,” like a losing poker hand?

EXERCISE:

How would using your head, heart, and gut help you know when it is time to run versus stand your ground, so that you may fight another day?

“You didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

“You didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

—Mick Kremling, Daily Fitness Motivation

The only thing that stops us is stopping.

Sure, we all have our reasons for calling it quits, be it externally or internally driven.

Where have you stopped along your life journey? To what extend did you make a clear and conscious choice? Or was it some default setting related to discomfort or fear that stopped you from proceeding toward some important goal?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what important objective can you:

  1. Acknowledge how far you’ve come, and
  2. Summon the strength, courage, tenacity, and grit to persist and fulfill far more of your potential for greatness?

Feel free to reply to this post and let me know how far you go.

Tweak the balance between your dance and your march

“Tweak the balance between your dance and your march.”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Founder of BoxofCrayons

Image from Unspash by Sarah X Sharp

What comes to mind when you consider the word dance? For me, it’s playful, fun-loving, and self-expressed.

Now what about the word march? Perhaps thoughts of the military, or simply disciplined work not necessarily of your choice come to mind.

As a young boy in grade school, the though that I could or should not play until all the work was done was prominent.

EXERCISE:

Given that for most of us the work never seems to be done, where would tweaking your own dance/march ratios make the biggest difference?

How might you bring more play to your work, or dance into a more enjoyable and productive life?

Don’t Give Up On What You Want Most

“Don’t give up on what you want most for what you want now.”

—Author Unknown

About eight months ago, I had my annual physical. For the most part, both the doctor and I were pleased with the exam and lab results, with the exception of my blood pressure. It was getting to the point where medication was on the horizon.

Given my past experience in the pharmacological industry and my strong desire to live as healthy a life as possible, I decided to dramatically alter my eating habits and make food my medicine.

What made this particularly difficult was that I started this primarily plant-based diet while on a family vacation. Restaurant food and countless temptations surrounded me! The good news is that I have remained medication free with normal blood pressure, and have shed a few pounds to boot.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently wrestling with yourself regarding what you want in the short term versus what you want most in the long run?

Should you wish to take on a similar health/medication related issue, consider reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s book, Whole.

The Latin Root of the Word Decision

The Latin root of the word “decision” literally means “to cut.”

Where are you currently wrestling with a life decision? How long has this issue been on your mind, and perhaps a cause of sleepless nights?

For most of us, making the right or best decision is of significant importance and can have considerable payoffs or consequences.

What if you used today’s quote as a way of assisting you by simply limiting or cutting off some, most, or the majority of the options you may be considering?

EXERCISE:

Consider looking up the book or the term The Paradox of Choice. See how this concept can assist you in making even better decisions in the future.

Play the Tiles You Get

“Play the tiles you get.”

—Grandma Nelly

Image of a Scrabble tile holder

Image from Flickr by Joe King

In her book, 365 Days of Wonder, R.J. Palacio shares a charming story of her grandparents. Both avid Scrabble players, they played every day for more than 50 years.

Her grandfather, known as being the “intellectual,” almost always lost to his wife, who was primarily a homemaker, not the lawyer who graduated from Columbia.

Grandma Nelly was quite smart in her own right. She loved crossword puzzles. She had a miraculous ability to make the most of the tiles she was given rather than waiting to use the highest value tiles on double or triple word spaces. That was grandpa’s strategy.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of life are you waiting to get better tiles? What would be the value and benefit of learning to play the ones you currently have, and those you receive each day?

When You Run Away

“It’s when you run away that you’re most liable to stumble.”

—Casey Robinson, Screenwriter/Producer

Image from findapsychologist

I’m not completely sure if today’s quote is always true, but watching action films and TV shows, I see the main characters often fall when they run away from their pursuers. Perhaps in film and TV land this is to create more suspense. Invariably, though, they stop, turn around, and summons the courage to take on the bad guys and win the day.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently in retreat mode? What is causing you to stumble? What attitude shift or other resources are required to turn things around so you can move forward professionally or personally?

 

What Seemed Best Each Day

“I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came.”

—Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

image of the ocean with today's quote superimposed

A state of calm centeredness came over me when I read today’s quote. My first thought was “I can do that!”

Many of us experience overwhelm in the enormity of all that must be done in our lives. Far too often we are exhausted by the end of the day, and frustrated by not having achieved what we intended. We then add insult to injury by throwing in our own negative commentary.

Alternatively, being satisfied with our best, which can differ from day to day, grants a peaceful and accepting sense of our humanity, and what Brené Brown would call the “Gifts of Imperfection.”

EXERCISE:

How would taking your life one day at a time, doing your best regardless of what happens, be the source of a happier and more fulfilling life?

Don’t Push the River

“Don’t Push the River: It Flows By Itself.”

—Barry Stevens, author of the book by the same title

image of the Three Gorges Dam

Image from Flickr by Pedro Vasquez Colmenares

The Three Gorges Dam, spanning the Yangtze River in China, is controversial domestically and abroad. It also happens to be the world’s largest power station in terms of its installed capacity of 22,500 megawatts.

Its purpose – besides generating electricity – was to increase the river’s shipping capacity, which reduces the potential for floods, and is a step toward reducing China’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The negative view of its acclaim is due to the displacement of over one million people, numerous ecological changes such as landslides, and the loss of cultural sites and landmarks.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways have you been pushing at your own life rivers, with less than desirable effects?

Where would going with the flow of things be the best decision at this point in your personal or professional life?