The Blog


There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

   William Shakespeare

When was the last time you stopped and listened to what you tell yourself about you?  Well, your subconscious mind is listening and it takes those messages very seriously, whether they are accurate or not. 

The words you use have emotional impact. Because they reflect what you believe about who you are and what you can do, they significantly affect what you are able to accomplish in life. 

Negative self-talk is extremely destructive. It can cause you to give up trying to do something new before you even get started. Here are a few of the most common self-sabotaging messages - do any of these sound familiar?

·      I can't do this

·      I’m not smart enough

·      I'm no good at technology

·      I'll look stupid

·      I’m too old to learn new skills

·      If only...

·      That's just the way I am - there's nothing I can do

Through your thoughts and words, you are a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have the power to create a happier life by changing the tone of your self-talk. However, you must be willing to accept total responsibility for what you think and say about yourself and your potential.

Positive statements like “If they can do it, I can do it; I'll never know until I try; I choose… I prefer... I will...” can help you recognize opportunities and find creative solutions to your challenges.

Remember that your subconscious mind doesn’t know when you’re kidding or telling the truth.  It simply takes you at your word. Words have power, so be as careful about what you say to yourself as to others.

Life On Your Own Terms

A camel is a horse designed by committee.

~ Sir Alec Issigonis.

This week’s post is somewhat longer than most, but I thought you would enjoy this article by Tom Kerr, who publishes a blog and sustainable living newsletter called Truth and Plenty.  It looks at entrepreneurship and “encore” careers from an interesting angle – and certainly provides food for thought.

Who Dictates How You Live Your Life?

I had a friend named Walker who grew up near Memphis.

"I heard Elvis Presley perform at a little roadside honky-tonk," he told me. "He was still undiscovered, and I was on the prom committee at my high school. So I went back to the committee and they said, 'Yes, we have enough to hire him.'"

"Are you kidding? Elvis played at your high school prom?"

"He would have. But the prom committee overruled my idea. Two years later Elvis was the most famous man in America. I decided right then and there that I would never again let a committee tell me what to do with my life."

Walker was one of the rare ones.  According to the Harvard Business Review, most of us choose careers and lifestyles based almost entirely on the expectations of others. Researchers call it "compliant behavior."

You're taught at a very early age to abide by the rules that groups of others set for you to follow, and to pursue that group-think mentality, instead of your own individual goals, desires, and dreams.

Maybe that "life by committee" system worked for your parents or grandparents, but today it's a dead-end street.

A Harris Poll found that nearly one out of three people who earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year still live paycheck-to-paycheck.  How is that even possible?

The answer is that 70% of them are in debt up to their eyeballs. That makes it hard to see your path forward.

Retirement used to be something you looked forward to. These days it's something you dread, because you're afraid you'll run out of money.  Instead of a time to relax and pursue the things you love, it can be the most stressful phase of your life.

But it does not have to be.

Each of us needs to take another look at what we have, and determine whether we really own it...or if it has started to own us.

Much of what folks think they own is just borrowed from the bank. They charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege of feeling that you're the rightful owner.

Your level of false ownership is even determined by a committee, one that sits around a desk rifling through your confidential credit reports.  You buy a life they say you can afford, and then pay it off in heavy installments until the day you die.

Marjory Wildcraft understands the issue better than most, because she used to run her own investment company.  Now she raises her own food, barters and sells what she doesn't need, and gets paid to teach other people how to do it for themselves. She enjoys more independence and security than ever before, and has great fun leading a wholesome life that gives back to others in sustainable ways.

But you don't have to go whole hog the way Marjory did.  For example, you can launch your own portable career, which only requires one square foot...just enough to hold your laptop. That's what I did when I decided to rightsize my life. Millions of other people have done the same, and it's getting easier by the minute because of breakthroughs in technology and e-commerce.

They say that a camel is really a horse, designed by a committee.

If you don't want your own retirement future to get bent out of shape, take Walker's advice.  The advice is free...but can make your life rich in ways that are not just financial.

~ Tom Kerr

Conquering Clutter – Part 3

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

~ Leonardo Da Vinci.

A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption, invention, or device that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated way. Cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg described his eponymous inventions as a “symbol of man’s capacity for exerting maximum effort to accomplish minimal results.” The devices include a series of indirect, convoluted chain reactions that are both ingenious and absurd.

Over the years, the expression “Rube Goldberg” has come to describe any confusing or complicated system that deliberately slows progress and inhibits transparency. The IRS Tax Code, health insurance, financial services, the legal system and customer service for large corporations are just a few examples where planners seem to have consciously chosen the vice of complexity over the virtue of simplicity. I think you would agree that we all pay dearly for this choice.

Your personal goal should be just the opposite…to accomplish maximum results with minimal effort.  To achieve this you must actively embrace simplicity, and deliberately remove complexity and confusion from your daily routines, from your relationships, from your business and from your thinking.

Here are a few ways to “say goodbye to Rube” and simplify your life:

1.    Work on one thing at a time.  Prioritize your “to-do” list in order of importance (important isn’t always the same thing as urgent), then focus on and complete the tasks one at a time. No matter how many things are on that list, whether it’s three or ten or a hundred, there’s really only one thing - the one thing you’re doing right now. In spite of anything else, the one thing you’re doing right now is the only thing that you can do, so relax and give it your full attention.

2.    Eliminate the too-many-goals problem. When you set unreasonable expectations for the time available, you increase your stress level and simultaneously decrease your productivity.  Try the 1-2-3 approach instead: for the next 30-90 days, choose 1 goal in each of 2 sectors (i.e., one personal and one professional), and commit to 3 action steps for each goal.

3.    Declare a “Do Nothing Day” each month and really do nothing that day. Get over the idea that time off from work is automatically time wasted.  The greatest geniuses created space in their thoughts and actions to make room for inspiration to emerge. Leonardo Da Vinci advised, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer; since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose your power of judgment.”


Conquering Clutter - Part 2

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

~ William Morris

When we pile up things we don’t use or need, we also accumulate stale energy that can quickly transform into stress. Decluttering your living space makes room for new things to enter, which in turn can help you experience more peace and renewed vitality.

I’ve found this three-part strategy for clearing your home environment a highly effective way to get the job done. You may want to give it a try too.

1. Get rid of “stuff” that you don’t love having around or no longer find useful. Donate or discard clothes that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn for 6 months (a year at most). Toss the old makeup, dispose of appliances, gadgets and accessories you don’t need, and bundle up magazines you’ve already read for trash or recycling.

2. Organize. Start going through all drawers and cupboards in your home one at a time. Choose the messiest one first, empty it and re-organize its contents. Group and store similar items together, so they’re easy to find when you need them. Don’t forget your medicine cabinet - check the expiration dates on your medications, and refill drug and cosmetic items where necessary.

3. Repair and maintain the things you intend to keep. Walk around your house and notice what needs fixing. Is there a piece of furniture that could use a touchup of paint? What about changing any burned out light bulbs, or tackling that leaky faucet or slow drain? Is your car due for routine services such as oil change or tire rotation? And how long have you been meaning to replace a missing button on your clothes?  Keep a list of anything that needs repair and regularly schedule a day for only fixing things. If you have a job that takes less than a minute or two, use your random spare moments to do it right away.  Fixing those smalls things you often put off keeps them from turning into major problems later on, and can give you a great sense of accomplishment as well.  

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