Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Benefits & Bliss of Simplicity

Growing up, I knew a fellow who was very ambitious, but was also disorganized and scatterbrained. Rather than focusing on ONE main thing, or even a few important things, this fellow seemed to be everywhere at once. As a result, he accumulated a large amount of material possessions and often got himself into situations that unnecessarily stressed him out. The excess anxiety, in-turn, often wore him out and—ironically—ended up inhibiting both his ambition and productivity. 

This person and his spouse were once visiting with a spiritual leader who, although a man of few words, was very wise. True to form and personality, this wise leader of few words gave the man and his wife some valuable advice summed up in a single word: SIMPLIFY.

SIMPLIFY

Simplifying your life is the topic of today's article. 

Sadly, my friend chose not to heed the advice of his wise spiritual counselor. As a result, he continued to make decisions that caused him a great deal of stress and grief in his life, career, and relationships, thus hindering his success and happiness in a variety of ways.  

Fortunately, however, I was blessed to hear the story of this wise one-word piece of advice when I was still just a young person in my teens. For whatever reasons, this counsel—although intended for someone else—gradually sank deep into my own mind and heart. It has particularly resonated with me in more recent years, causing me to make the word SIMPLIFY a soul-penetrating slogan whose import is nearly on par with another of my life's core mantras: "No regrets!"

Simplify... it sounds simple enough; but how do you actually accomplish it?    

Simplifying your life begins with identifying, clarifying, and prioritizing your values. Once you are crystal clear on what really matters most to you in your life, career, and relationships, you can begin to establish your personal and professional vision, mission, goals, standards, etc. In other words, you can begin drafting your own Self-Declaration of Independence (S-DoI) and Self-Constitution (S-C)—a key component of the Self-Action Leadership Model.

Click HERE to buy the SAL Textbook Volume II, where you can learn how to draft a Self-DoI and S-C.

A personal goal and career focus of mine the past FOUR (4) years has been to simplify my life and career. Perhaps the single most important decision I made in this process was to DELETE my personal FACEBOOK account.

I had been on Facebook for the previous eight or nine years, during which time I had connected with approximately 1,000 family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Along the way, I engaged in many meaningful connections and communications.

This was a good thing.

Over time, however, it began to become a distraction from things that were more important to me. Then, one day in January 2017—almost exactly four (4) years ago—I foolishly allowed myself to become entangled in an online argument with one of my connections. However important the subject matter (over which we were arguing) may have been in and of itself, arguing about it accomplished what arguing about anything usually accomplishes—NOTHING except elevated blood pressure and negative feelings.

This experience became a trigger for me to delete my personal Facebook account once and for good.

And I have never looked back.   

The past four years have been wonderfully simpler years, and argument free—at least on social media platforms (SMILE). I also took advantage of an opportunity to clear the air and make peace with my connection I had been bickering with online. It felt good to do that. We still don't see eye-to-eye on the subject we were debating, and the two of us may never be "kindred spirits," but that is okay; both of our lives are better for being friends rather than frenemies. 

Now... at this point in the article it is essential to make something clear. I am NOT suggesting that you delete your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media account. Just because that particular action was right for me doesn't necessarily mean it will be right for you.

I still have professional Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and I proactively and productively use all of these social media platforms on a regular basis for my work. Moreover, my wife still has a facebook account and I am glad she does because it provides me with hundreds of connections to friends and family that come in handy from time-to-time. In fact, she may even share this article on her facebook page! 

My purpose in sharing this personal story, experience, and decision is not to suggest that you follow in my footsteps and do the same thing. My goal is merely to provide a tangible example as food for thought.

I do not know what YOU need to do to simplify your life. I merely know what I needed to do to simplify my own life. As I carefully pondered the unique circumstances surrounding my own personal situation, I then acted honestly based on my conscience-imbued, authentic instincts. As a result, I came to an independent conclusion and made a personal decision that has both simplified and blessed my life.

Deleting my facebook account is just ONE prominent example of what I have done in recent years to simplify my life. I have taken a variety of other, more personal decisions and actions over those same four years that have truly changed my life for the better.

That is the power of simplifying your life.

Despite my many responsibilities as a husband, father, and business owner-leader, I can say with satisfaction that my life is about as simple as it has ever been as an adult. And insofar as possible—within a framework of my life's core duties—I aim to always keep it that way moving forward forever into the future.    

As you consider what you might do in 2021 to simplify your own life, remember that simplifying should NOT be confused with underachievement or the dilution of life quality. The goal of simplification is NOT to lower your standards, lessen your aim, or weaken your resolve for achievement. Rather, it is to eliminate any distractions that may impede your capacity for both resolve and achievement. In other words, actions aimed to simplify should actually enhance your performance, improve your results, and increase your quality of life—not the other way around. Self-action leaders simplify not merely to make life easier and less stressful; we also simplify in order to magnify our efforts and maximize our achievements and contributions.  

Thus, simplification is, in a very real sense, a key to our highest aspirations and our greatest accomplishments.    

Tune in NEXT Wednesday to learn how to live a life that is "Not in Vain."  

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