Cover image of Simple Life Reboot - Transformational / Healthy / Minimalism / Lifestyle / Edit
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Education

Simple Life Reboot - Transformational / Healthy / Minimalism / Lifestyle / Edit

Updated 5 days ago

Education
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Dave and Sheryl Balthrop are a husband and wife team sharing their transformational journey to a simpler priority-driven life. After raising their children and achieving the “American Dream”, Dave (a mentor to persons with disabilities) and Sheryl (an attorney), discovered they were investing more resources in stuff than people. They decided to change their lives. They put their dream house on the market, edited 85% of their belongings, and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. In this audio version of the couple’s articles posted on http://www.SimpleLifeReboot.com, Dave and Sheryl share their personal successes and failures. In these entertaining recordings, you will discover how to have more time, energy and focus plus less stress and debt in your life. Each episode provides tools and encouragement to make desired changes in your life, including practical tips on simplifying, reducing clutter, changing habits, living intentionally, overcoming obstacles and more.

Read more

Dave and Sheryl Balthrop are a husband and wife team sharing their transformational journey to a simpler priority-driven life. After raising their children and achieving the “American Dream”, Dave (a mentor to persons with disabilities) and Sheryl (an attorney), discovered they were investing more resources in stuff than people. They decided to change their lives. They put their dream house on the market, edited 85% of their belongings, and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. In this audio version of the couple’s articles posted on http://www.SimpleLifeReboot.com, Dave and Sheryl share their personal successes and failures. In these entertaining recordings, you will discover how to have more time, energy and focus plus less stress and debt in your life. Each episode provides tools and encouragement to make desired changes in your life, including practical tips on simplifying, reducing clutter, changing habits, living intentionally, overcoming obstacles and more.

iTunes Ratings

23 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
3
2
0
2

Do NOT listen

By kaylaward015 - Oct 23 2018
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Terrible! This podcast does not need to exist. Waste of my time.

Fresh & practical

By Melkenni - Oct 16 2014
Read more
Appreciate the option of taking in Dave and Sheryl's thoughtful content in an audio format. I gain, most of all, from their key message that minimizing our stuff leads the way for maximizing our personal relationships as well as our time, energy, and finances.

iTunes Ratings

23 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
3
2
0
2

Do NOT listen

By kaylaward015 - Oct 23 2018
Read more
Terrible! This podcast does not need to exist. Waste of my time.

Fresh & practical

By Melkenni - Oct 16 2014
Read more
Appreciate the option of taking in Dave and Sheryl's thoughtful content in an audio format. I gain, most of all, from their key message that minimizing our stuff leads the way for maximizing our personal relationships as well as our time, energy, and finances.
Cover image of Simple Life Reboot - Transformational / Healthy / Minimalism / Lifestyle / Edit

Simple Life Reboot - Transformational / Healthy / Minimalism / Lifestyle / Edit

Updated 5 days ago

Read more

Dave and Sheryl Balthrop are a husband and wife team sharing their transformational journey to a simpler priority-driven life. After raising their children and achieving the “American Dream”, Dave (a mentor to persons with disabilities) and Sheryl (an attorney), discovered they were investing more resources in stuff than people. They decided to change their lives. They put their dream house on the market, edited 85% of their belongings, and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. In this audio version of the couple’s articles posted on http://www.SimpleLifeReboot.com, Dave and Sheryl share their personal successes and failures. In these entertaining recordings, you will discover how to have more time, energy and focus plus less stress and debt in your life. Each episode provides tools and encouragement to make desired changes in your life, including practical tips on simplifying, reducing clutter, changing habits, living intentionally, overcoming obstacles and more.

Rank #1: SLR 070: 3 Things to Stop Spending Time On

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Money is not the prime asset in life. Time is.”  Unknown

Far too often we fail to appreciate the preciousness of time. Unlike other resources,  it is irreplaceable.  Nonetheless,   we tend to operate in default mode, either rushing about or coasting along,  giving very little thought to how spending time doing “X” may well preclude us from ever doing “Y”.

It’s not about time, it’s about choices. How are  you spending your choices?”  Beverly Adamo

In order to make the most of our limited time,  we need to stop and ask ourselves, “What ‘time-wasters’ can I eliminate, or at least reduce, so as to have more time and energy for that which matters most?”    It’s a harder decision than we might realize or be willing to make.  For instance,  I keep pretending that I can do it all in the desperate hope that I won’t have to cut one of my indulgences … but the clock ticks on.

I needed help identifying major time wasting offenses. So,  I turned to the sages.  I found the following quotes,  in no particular order, to be helpful and encouraging:

1.  STOP SPENDING TIME DWELLING ON MISTAKES MADE

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” – Stephen McCranie

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” –  John Wooden

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

2.  STOP SPENDING TIME WORRYING

“If plan ‘A’  fails – remember you have 25 letters left.” – Chris Guillebeau

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

“Worry is a misuse of imagination.” –  Dan Zadra

“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.” – Tony Robbins

“Anxiety is a daily statement to God saying, ‘I don’t think you have my best interest in mind.'” – Tim Keller

3.  STOP SPENDING TIME COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS OR TRYING TO BE THEM

“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks.”  – Marcus Aurelius

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

“Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Wishing you were someone else, kind of defeats God’s purpose of creating you.” – Unknown

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

… and if you have been spending time on the above, remember,

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Aug 28 2014

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Rank #2: SLR 078: Are You “in Control”? Try the Clutter Experiment!

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“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

When Sheryl and I moved from our large colonial home to smaller accommodations next door, we found ourselves faced with the necessity of reducing our possessions.  After a couple of moving sales and multiple trips to charities, we had sold or given away about 85% of our belongings.

What we did not expect from the process was the resulting feeling of self-determination and liberation.  But why?  What was it about the stuff we had accumulated around us, that over time, had begun to hold us captive?

SENSE OF CONTROL?

According to psychologists, excessive clutter can be caused by or can cause flawed thinking.

Clutter can also be a symptom of seeking to control our environment.  Having more stuff sometimes gives us the false sense of having more options so as to have greater control over future events.

If you doubt this,  please consider:  How many of us have hung onto an inconvenient, unused item believing that “I might need this someday,” or “This might be worth something someday?”

According to Dr. Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., a healthy approach to letting go of unneeded items is to substitute the fearful thought with intentional action that might benefit another,  as “Somebody else could use this now, so I will give it away.”

What we discover is that retaining the unused item does not give us control or well-being, but rather hanging on to the item holds us in the grip of burden, regret, shame or fear.  In contrast,  letting go of an item to benefit another gives us a sense of  self-mastery,  greater control over our environment, and improved well-being.

If you want to find out if this is true for you,  please try the following experiment:

Clutter Experiment

1)  Start becoming aware of the things around you that do not add to your life.  These may be items you have not paid attention to or used in the past 3 months.

2)  Start placing these items in a box, one by one, as you become aware of them.

3)  Discover over time how many of the items you retrieve from the box to use.

4)  After some period of time, sell, donate or discard the items in the box you have not retrieved.

5)  Then,  please report what you discover to your loved ones, and/or to us here at Simple Life Reboot.

Note:  Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists) tackled this problem in reverse order.  He placed virtually every item in his apartment in boxes.  When he needed an item, he would retrieve it. Check out the moving TEDx talk to hear the full story.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Oct 23 2014

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Rank #3: Margin Is Not Just For You!

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I want to share with you one of the most essential concepts when it comes to improving your life.  Let’s talk about margin.

First of all, what is margin?

“Margin is the space between our load and our limits,” says author Richard Swenson in his book, Margin.

In simple terms, margin is having room to breathe.  It is what happens when we have sufficient time and resources to maneuver.  With margin we find we have options and can more easily make our desirable choices possible.

Margin is getting a score on a final exam of 110 percent.  It is having money at the end of the month after paying all of the bills.  It is arriving at the next meeting 10 minutes early.  Margin is being able to park in the garage without banging the door against stuff when you exit.

So, if margin is so great, how do we get it?

We either create margin, or we create a lack of margin.  It is all about planning ahead and following through.  Ahh, is that all?  Yes, it is that simple and at times,  that hard.

Planning and completion are two of the hardest skills often never learned in life.  A deficiency in these skills is why so many folks, me included, have struggled with margin for so long.  I am a great one to be writing this post, because I am the one who can tell you first hand about what it feels like NOT to have margin, to almost always have fewer choices, to almost always be a day late and a dollar short.  I still do not have enough margin in my life, but I am working on it, because over the past few years I have come to understand for the first time what it means for me, for my wife, for my family, and for others around me.

MARGIN IS NOT JUST FOR YOU!

Margin is for the people you love.  Creating more margin in your life is the secret to fulfilling our basic human desire to help others, to give our time, our energy, and our resources, to those we love, and to those we wish to help.  Without margin, we always come up short, never quite able to be there for others, unable to offer our thoughtful insight – given our own overloaded circumstances, never quite able to find enough energy to go the final lap, or to offer resources to help someone in need.

So, stop letting circumstances, or the environment, discourage you.  Recognize that you are  in control.  Again, either you have created margin, or you have created lack of margin.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Sep 01 2013

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Rank #4: SLR 079: Unmasking Our Fears About Essentialism and Simplicity

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Fear is deceptive. It often masquerades as something else, fooling us into believing an outright lie or otherwise thwarting our ability to make lasting positive change.

Far too many of us yearn to reboot our lives into ones of greater simplicity, but we are stopped short by fears we cannot bring ourselves to face.

Essentialism calls us to relinquish our armor of possessions and busyness. Unfortunately, such leaves us feeling vulnerable to unacceptable loss.  Bowing to fear, we hang on to the armor and forfeit what would have been a more abundant, joy filled life.

***

The goal of this post is to cut deeply into those noxious hidden emotional pockets. It’s only when we acknowledge our fears and contributing shortcomings,  that we can undergo the necessary surgery to heal and move forward.

Disclaimer and  Explanation

Many of the following articulations may seem overly harsh.  The list is not meant to discourage or condemn,  but rather to expose the full fear spectrum as it might relate in some degree to  us.  Also, this list is for personal reflection and application only. It is not properly imposed on others. Accordingly, the references are in the first person.  Finally, the term “stuff” is used as shorthand to comprehensively describe property, activities and overload of any nature.

So, without further ado…  fears hindering our ability to edit our “stuff”  so as to lead a simpler life include:

1.   Fear of Engagement.  Developing a genuine connection with people is costly and time-consuming. Focusing on my stuff permits me to limit my engagement with people.

2.   Fear of “Oblivion” or Lack of Significance.  Like Augustus Waters, a cancer patient in the novel “A Fault in Our Stars“,  my greatest fear is “oblivion”.  I am afraid of having no significance. My stuff is evidence that I exist and that I have an impact.

3.   Fear of  Missing Out or of Emptiness.  I cannot bear emptiness, empty space, or potentially missing out on anything. Besides, I’m sure the next thing will finally satisfy me and fill that nagging void.

4.   Fear of Being Overlooked or Underappreciated.  I crave recognition. I fear that people will lose interest in me. My stuff demonstrates my accomplishments,  skills, sophistication,  and worth to the world.  How can people appreciate who I am if I have no stuff to display?

5.   Fear of  Settling or Mediocrity.  I do not want to be like the fox in Aesop’s fable “Fox and the Grapes”  -pretending to despise “stuff” when the truth is that I deeply desire the stuff but cannot attain or maintain it.  If I “settle” for just the essentials, it will only prove that I lack ambition, work ethic and the ability to achieve.

6.   Fear of Lack of Control.  I fear letting go.  I need my old stuff to keep a connection to the past.  I need my current stuff to protect me against the uncertainties of the future.  Stated differently,  I must hang on to stuff  “just because” for my past and “just-in-case” for my future.  It’s the only part of life over which I have control.

***

If any of the above apply to you,  please do not  “feel the fear and do it anyway“.   Making major life edits before you have worked through significant fear is reckless.  The important takeaway is to commit to not being held captive by fear.  If you determine that living a life of greater simplicity and margin is best for you,  but are unable to act due to fear,  please consider seeking guidance from clergy or counselor. You are precious. Your life is precious.  The effort is worth it.

***

Do you have any suggestions?   What applicable fears did I omit or mischaracterize?  Please share in the comments section.

***

If you enjoyed this post,  please see  “What Are You Afraid Of ?”   and   “But What Will People Think?”

Originally posted at http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Oct 30 2014

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Rank #5: SLR 072: The 5 Essentials of Being Nimble

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Nimbleness is the ability to pivot, to adapt to new circumstances and keep moving.  It is achieved, primarily, through the creation of margin in our lives.

In this fast-paced, unpredictable world, our ability to remain calm, constant, and in control is in direct proportion to the resources and options we can muster at any given time.

So, to be nimble, create margin in your life in the following 5 essential areas:

1)    Financial margin

Financial margin occurs when you can pay all of your monthly obligations and still have funds left over to put towards long-term goals, including the all-important emergency fund (a savings account built up as quickly as you can reasonably accomplish – the equivalent of 3 months of income – with the goal being at least 6 months set aside).

Having financial margin is a liberating thing!  But achieving it is not always easy.

Far too many of us have saddled ourselves with homes, possessions and other obligations which are greater than what we need or perhaps, can afford.   While they might seem like a desirable possession, they can become more of a burden than a blessing.

The good news! 

Financial margin is possible!  Getting out of the habit of overspending  is achievable!  It may take some time, but you can begin making progress TODAY.

For information on what options are available, we encourage you check out daveramsey.com.   We like Dave’s philosophy, his approach, and his practical advice.  We get nothing from you going to his site, except the satisfaction that we have steered you to a resource that changes lives.

Addressing the problem of financial margin is a MUST in order to become nimble.  For too many people, a big mortgage or student debt may be the main culprit, but other problem areas can exist,  like eating out too often, or buying items we don’t really need.  These things sap our finances, time and energy.  Many of us spend money on stuff that makes us feel better short-term. It is a temporary salve we apply to the worry, pain, and stress we feel.  It’s not a fun place to be, but we don’t have to accept it as a permanent condition.  Once we recognize the problem, and that there is a clear way out, it is only a matter of time – we WILL muster the willpower to extract ourselves from the overspending prison we’ve constructed for ourselves.

DO IT…for yourself, and for your family!
2.  Time Margin

Simply stated, time margin occurs by limiting obligations and by reducing activities that are not constructive or restorative.

For many of us, debt determines our workload.  Working longer hours may be taken on to pay down debt. Unfortunately, what often happens is that as we earn more, we spend more, defeating the original purpose of working the increased hours.

To achieve time margin, we must have the ability to easily pay our monthly obligations without overworking. 

Lower your monthly obligations until the above-mentioned condition becomes true. Then, you will have more resources for the things that matter most.

3)    Energy margin

Our bodies are biological engines.  Understanding the mechanics of these miraculous machines informs us as to why we might be low on energy, and what we must do to generate more.

If you are like most people, your energy reserves are constantly running down.  Building an energy reserve can be a challenge.  We can create an energy reserve by working on 5 key areas:  sleep, fuel, muscle strength/endurance, core endurance, and metabolism.

Sleep – Far too many people skimp on sleep in order to get in some “play” time.  We seek distraction from the day’s fatigue.  But increasingly, we sacrifice sleep to get our distraction fix.  We then end up even more fatigued and  unable to perform well, often needing to work longer hours to accomplish the same work.  The vicious cycle then repeats.  Staying up late also leads to a more sedentary lifestyle as we become more tired and sleep deprived.  We can also put on weight when we eat a second meal late at night before we finally go to bed, or snack during the day to “prop” us up when feeling short on energy.

Fuel – Many of us fail to eat nourishing food, whether due to fatigue, time pressures, or due to a short-term craving.  In addition, we routinely trade the time it takes to prepare healthy food for a diversionary activity, necessitating the consumption of something “easy”.  Sheryl and I have both struggled with these challenges.  But what we have found is that with a small amount of effort, and a modicum of planning, preparing and eating a good meal is possible.  Our taste buds and habits adapt quicker than one might think.  And when we stop dumping garbage into our engines, we begin to see and feel the results – a contented body happily purring along.  Take the time and effort to put high-quality fuel into your engine, and enjoy new-found energy!

Muscle Strength/Endurance/Core/Metabolism – Our bodies achieve the greatest health and balance doing physical work.  Without regular exercise, our muscles shrink in size, strength and endurance.

I often imagine my body responding like electrons do as they move between levels.  Electrons orbit the nucleus, and only exist in incremental energy states, or levels.  The higher the energy input to the atom, the more levels the electrons jump.  But the electrons can also act rather “resistant” in that they really don’t like to get excited.  After reaching the higher energy state, they soon drop back down to the lower level where they started, unless some additional energy influx occurs.

Muscles reach higher levels of potential in much the same way.  The more energy we put in, the stronger they become.  But muscles are not electrons, and can only strengthen so fast. The energy we apply to them, the load, the reps, the sets, must increase or intensify in small increments over time.  If our muscles never get worked, they remain in their lowest potential state, requiring little input of energy to operate.  But in this lower energy state, they never demonstrate their extraordinary potential.

To achieve energy margin, we must build up our body’s reserves by strengthening our muscle potential.  If we do this, our body is prepared to walk a long distance,  lift a heavy load, or engage in physical work or play, as circumstances arise.

4)    Learning margin

When under stress, whether it be financial, time related, or any number of circumstances we face on a daily basis, we tend to function in survival mode.  Under stress we become careful, reactive, and perhaps fearful.  To be open to learning new things, we must feel safe and secure.  Creating margin in our lives affords us the time, and the safety, that permits us to read, study, and absorb new  knowledge.  With margin, we thrive, and enjoy virtuous cycles of growth, satisfaction and higher capacity to learn.

5)    Emotional margin

When we lack margin in the 4 essential areas listed above,  we experience a loss of personal power.  We might even feel out of control, beset or even desperate.  This state can eventually lead to emotional debilitation and an inability to enjoy relationships and experiences.  We may also become isolated and emotionally numb.

When we create margin in these areas, however, particularly with finances, we can enjoy the moment and envision a better tomorrow. We experience new possibilities and have a greater capacity for generosity and thankfulness.  We feel in control, that we are making progress.  In this environment of having margin, we become nimble.

The Power of Nimble

When we foster the 5 essentials of being nimble, our relationships thrive, because we are safer and more secure.  We are no longer in survival mode, but rather in flourish mode.

Now, that’s true power…the ability to meet the challenges of life and make a positive difference in the lives of those we love.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Sep 11 2014

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Rank #6: The Secret to Overcoming Obstacles

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We’ve all been there.  We encounter an obstacle which separates us from what we want or need.  How do we respond?  Do we become discouraged and give up?  Do we become frustrated and rail against the obstacle?  Or do we do something else?   What is the best approach when faced with an obstacle? Leo Babauta in his Zen Habits post “The Obstacle is the Path” shares the Zen proverb that “The Obstacle is the way.”  Let’s explore this a bit  with common obstacles many of us face.  The secret to overcoming each obstacle is the same.

  • You have been unable to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight.  Instead of pretending to ignore your weight and the associated embarrassment and frustration, acknowledge it fully to a trusted friend or loved one.  Confront the obstacle. What needs to change permanently?   Run toward rather than away from the obstacle. Obtain qualified help.  If at all financially possible, work with a nutritionist and a trainer for an extended period of time.  Commit to the long term. Your health is worth it.
  • You are burdened by debt. Again, the secret is to confront the obstacle rather than avoid it.  Do not let shame prevent you from seeking the help you need. Work with a qualified financial adviser.  Immerse yourself in good personal finance resources such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and Clark Howard’s podcast. Recognize that being burdened by debt, though common, is not the way to fully live.  Reduce expenses and begin the journey to recovery.
  • You struggle with implementing needed life changes.  Embrace the discomfort of change. If your objective is worthy, the discomfort is merely confirmation that you are on the right path.  Redefine your success as your daily re-commitment to and execution of that day’s incremental steps towards your goal.  If you back-track one day, re-start the next day.  Do not give up.  Celebrate your growing skill of confronting and overcoming obstacles.  Who knows,  at some point, you might even look forward to tackling the next obstacle!

[If you enjoyed this article,  please consider reading The Secret to Growth and How to Harness the Power of Stress.]

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Sep 01 2013

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Rank #7: SLR 069: Removing Roadblocks to Compassion

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I wanted to edit it out.  In our 67th episode, Interview with Mom, we asked if she had learned anything from observing our Simple Life Reboot journey.  I hoped to hear how inspired she was, or perhaps how we were making a difference.   Instead, she paused, and said:

“Well, I’ve learned that you’re much more compassionate than I realized.”

What?!!  I’m compassionate!!  In fact, I’m super compassionate!!  I wanted to shout and hop up and down and defend my tender, caring, empathetic nature…. but, the interview was being recorded… so, after  a few awkward chuckles, the conversation simply continued.

Later, after much fussing and pondering, I realized the insightfulness of Mom’s answer. People assess our character based on our actions, not our intentions.  My desire to be compassionate had become obscured.  Hoping I wasn’t the only one with this problem, I did some research.

Princeton Seminary Study (Darley & Batson)

One of the more fascinating studies exploring the impact of situational stress on behavior occurred in 1973.  In this study, researchers recruited 67 students from Princeton Theological Seminary.  Students were told the study pertained to religious education and vocations.

Students each completed a personality questionnaire.  Then, researchers instructed the students to travel to another location on campus to deliver a brief talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan. As the students were leaving,  each was given a map and one of the following three instructions:

  1. “Oh, you’re late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago. We’d better get moving…”
  2. “The assistant is ready for you, so please go right over.”
  3. “…It’ll be a few minutes before they’re ready for you, but you might as well head on over…”

Each student would then travel to the designated location and encounter an actor in the entryway of the building in which the student was to present.  No one else would be present.  The actor would not engage the student but would be doubled over as if in severe pain, eyes closed and coughing.  Researchers studied the extent to which the students sought to assist the actor.

As you might expect,  assistance decreased with increased time pressure. However,  what might surprise you is that there was little difference between the medium and high time pressured scenarios.  What might surprise you even more is how having additional time was consistently reliable in prompting assistance even in students scoring the lowest on compassion indicators in the personality test.

Impact on the Exercise of Compassion

We must ask ourselves what impact time, financial and congested space pressures have upon us and our children.  If mature individuals training to be clergy, reflecting upon rendering service to others,  allow situational time pressure to trump such service,  we must recognize our collective weakness in this area.

We must also recognize the burden carried by those called upon to provide compassionate care such as nurses, clergy, counselors and care providers.  As situational pressures increase, such individuals’ struggles with burnout and compassion-fatigue also increase.  Those upon whom we most rely to be compassionate,  are struggling to do so.

So, What Can We Do?

We need to respect that circumstances can compromise noble intent.  We need to re-commit to the basic safeguards which allow for rejuvenation such as community, reflection, rest and exercise.  However, for the safeguards to exist, we need to incorporate that breathing room known as margin into our lives.  Without it, there can be no sustained practice of compassion.

Please seek out and support those providing compassionate care to others.  If you are so inclined, please join me in praying for such individuals.  And, as a special shout-out, I would like to commend my friend, Melissa AuClair, who is doing groundbreaking work to serve such individuals at Unstuck Nurse.

Let’s restore the habits and practices which foster compassion today.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Aug 21 2014

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Rank #8: SLR 067: An Interview with Mom

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Far too often the journey to simplicity focuses on our own needs and desires. In an effort to share another perspective, Dave and I sat down for a candid talk with my mother, Carolyn.

Mom has had a front row seat on this roller coaster ride to greater margin.  Though not a “fan” of reducing possessions, she stood by us as we let go of 85% of our belongings. She not only opened her home,  she cheered us through some rough patches.

In this podcast,  Carolyn shares how our journey has affected our family.  She is our hero … and we wanted you to hear her words of wisdom.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Aug 07 2014

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Rank #9: SLR 081: Inspiring Snapshots of Simplicity

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“Tell your story.” – Joshua Becker,  Becoming Minimalist, speaking at  SimpleREV 2014

There is something beautiful about hearing a person’s story that allows us to connect with both the individual and his or her experience.

Whether a person’s circumstances are dramatic or cumulative, the sharing of a struggle to overcome challenges has the extraordinary power to instruct and inspire.

Courtney Carver of  “Be More With Less” is a beautiful example.  In 2006, Courtney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  When she learned that stress could complicate her symptoms, she began exploring ways to simplify.  In five short years,  she transformed her life.  Her inspiring story can be read in the March 2014 issue of “O” (Oprah Winfrey’s magazine).

For an account of hope and determination, Tico and Tina’s unflinching  “Messy Beginnings” is a must read.  Their ongoing 10+ year journey from drudgery to lives of purpose and passion is shared on their website “Make Room for Greatness” . Tico and Tina lay bare the challenges of supporting a young family while providing practical guidance on transitioning to creative and missional work. Their desire to help others is palpable.

Equally impactful is the story of Brooke McAlary of “Slow Your Home“.  Brooke was a high-strung perfectionist with clear expectations of what life should be. Her world was turned upside down when she and her husband were assaulted in separate incidents. Not long after the assaults,  she was overwhelmed by post-natal depression and anxiety.  Unable to function well,  she was forced to pare her life down to the essentials. As she recovered,  Brooke discovered a new way to live.  She now shares the joy of a simpler, slower life with the world.

A powerful example of intentionality is Christy King of “The Simple White Rabbit”.  Christy,  an accomplished attorney, author and life-long learner, had been intrigued by minimalism for years.  Until recently,  she believed she needed to defer desired changes until the children were grown or she retired.  A few years  ago,  she decided to begin making modest, incremental changes.  She discovered that even small changes produced significant gains.  She discovered more time and energy for family and friends, enjoyed healthier living and found new interests in additional activities.

This is just a handful of stories of the life-changing impact of simplicity and minimalism.  What is yours?

As Joshua Becker urged us all to do,  please tell your story.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Nov 13 2014

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Rank #10: SLR 066: The Designed Life of Michael Hyatt

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Armosa Studios / WDS 2014

Sheryl and I have been influenced by a number of extraordinary thinkers on the subject of simplifying your life

to focus on what is important.  One person who has inspired us is Michael Hyatt , author of “Platform”, and online entrepreneur, who spoke recently at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

Default Approaches

Michael’s talk entitled, “The Designed Life”, described three ways people often approach life.  There is the person who wanders along, letting life happen to him, the Drifting Life.  Then, there is the individual who prides himself on his ability to work harder, the Driven Life, often sacrificing relationships and other priorities.  The Driven Life status symbol is exhaustion.

Unfortunately, both of these approaches are more reactionary than intentional. Michael Hyatt went on to explain that living the “drifting” or “driven” life amounts to living life by default, letting circumstances dictate the result, limiting us and our legacy.

Designed Life

Michael went on to describe a better approach that he called, “The Designed Life”.  He described how critical it is that we be intentional about our life choices. This theme is fleshed out in Michael’s free e-book Creating Your Personal Life Plan, in which he states:

“…most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than they spend planning their life”.

Legacy

We are all so caught up in appearances, the kind of car we drive, how large of a house we live in, that we lose sight of the big picture.  According to Michael, what we should be asking ourselves is

  • “How will I be remembered?”
  • “What is really important to me?”
  •  “What single brave decision do I need to make today?”

These are questions that if asked, lead us to ponder what our impact is upon others, and in the pondering, to begin to act with more intention.

“The Designed Life” is a life that is not wasted, not hurried, and not selfish.  It is the life we were put here to live out.

At the end of his talk, Michael asked the audience, “How are you doing with what you have been given?

It’s one of those questions each of us already knows the answer to, almost without thinking.  The answer is different for each of us, and no one can answer for another.

Michael Hyatt was a joy to listen to.  He left the audience in Irene Schnitzer auditorium with two final thoughts.

“Life is a gift.”   &   “Do what matters!”

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Jul 31 2014

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Rank #11: SLR 071: The Value of Nimble

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The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
–H.P. Lovecraft

Change is something people have always resisted. It’s something we fear and try to avoid, even knowing it is inevitable, part of life, itself.

Today, change is occurring at a pace never before seen in history, making it virtually impossible to predict the future. Whether it’s the work we do, the products we buy or produce, or the laws we rely upon, the life we lead increasingly resembles a Picasso painting rather than a paint-by-numbers.

It seems we have created a world of disruptive innovation, a term coined by Clayton M. Christensen, in his book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.

Disruptive Innovation:  A process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.

And while such an economy is dynamic and exciting, it seems no sector is safe, not lawyers, doctors, accountants, or taxi drivers. While change has always been part of our economy, creating new products, new companies being formed, the difference, now, is that the speed at which products, companies, and even whole sectors, are displaced, is outstripping our capacity to react and to cope.

So, what is the solution?

Our ability to adapt, to pivot quickly when circumstances dictate, has never been more needed than it is today.

Consider what mind scientist John Medina says about human history and our ability to adapt:

“How, then, did we go from such a wobbly, fragile minority population to a staggering tide of humanity 7 billion strong and growing? There is only one way. You give up on stability. You don’t try to beat back the changes. You begin not to care about consistency within a given habitat, because such consistency isn’t an option. You adapt to variation itself.”

Being Nimble

We believe that personal and financial nimbleness is a key factor in determining to what degree we retain control over our circumstances, and still maintain the level of safety and security we desire.

Nimbleness occurs when we have fewer physical, emotional, and financial obligations, weighing us down, when we are able to pivot and keep moving without losing momentum and power. When we have the time and inclination to learn, to think, and to grow.

As a practical matter, being nimble looks like this.

The 10 Qualities of Being Nimble

1)    Financial margin
2)    Time margin
3)    Energy margin
4)    Learning margin
5)    Career margin
6)    Family margin
7)    Living-Space margin
8)    Physical margin
9)    Emotional margin
10) Vocational margin

In our list, financial margin comes first, because without it, the other goals become more difficult to achieve. With financial margin, however, the other qualities become easier to reach.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by life, by debt, by the sheer speed at which the world is changing, you are not alone. We believe the steps we can take to become happier and more adaptable in this environment, includes understanding and adopting the 10 qualities of being nimble.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Sep 04 2014

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Rank #12: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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In modern American culture, being a big consumer has almost become a badge of honor.

We enjoy acquiring and displaying material wealth.  Our approach of spend now – pay later, is based on the faulty premise that happiness can be purchased with  the acquisition, collection and consumption of things.

Truly, to live is to consume. However, when we make consumption our primary objective,  rather than a limited necessity,  we abuse  the very framework that made the objects of our desire possible.

The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

How do we, as responsible consumers, know when we are making wise purchasing decisions and are avoiding the cultural trap of excess consumption?

Where can we find the ultimate buyer’s guide?

Three Questions

Before purchasing any item, ask yourself three questions:

1)  Do I need it NOW? (as opposed to want it)

2)  How often will I use it?

3)  Would it make more sense to rent or borrow it rather than buy it?

The ultimate buyer’s guide is you.  Only you can know what level of consumption is appropriate for you.

We need to recognize that our relationships, experiences together, the help we give, our love, and our encouragement to one another are the elements that result in happiness. They cannot be purchased.  They can be more fully realized, however, by purchasing less.  Knowing this may prove the ultimate guide – the ultimate living guide.

The Ultimate Living Guide

What are 4 ways we can experience deeper, more satisfying relationships, through intentionally limited consumption?

1)  More margin – more ability to be nimble as we have more resources, time and energy, at our disposal.

2)  The inclination to be more generous with resources – less focused on self

3)  Less manipulation by popular culture

4)  More awareness of things beyond our material desires

That Which Matters Most

Stepping off the treadmill of over-consumption forces us to look beyond the latest baubles and toys, and  toward the greater purpose for our lives.  If we slow down on consumption,  we will realize that we are “filled-up”  by relationships with people.

Buying less stuff allows us to focus on that which matters most – each other.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Jun 05 2014

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Rank #13: SLR 080: Create A Living Masterpiece With Intention

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“A great artist can paint a great picture on a small canvas.” – Charles Dudley Warner

What does your life canvas look like?

Are you filling up your canvas quickly, with an array of colors assembled as an afterthought, or are you painting with intention?

When we act with intention, we exhibit a higher purpose, but does this mean we automatically produce a beautiful canvas, a beautiful life?

The beauty of your life is not for me, or anyone else, to define. You are a beautiful creation just as you are, right now.  No addition or subtraction can make you any less remarkable.  But…

The Life You Create Is Up To You

By taking certain actions, we determine certain outcomes.

The part of our lives that creates the beautiful brush strokes comes about every day through the deep love and caring we exhibit for one another.

By listening, spending time with, and caring for others, about their loves, their concerns, their hopes, their fears, and their dreams, we carefully and lovingly apply the paint across our canvas, and encourage others in creating a beautiful canvas of their own.

“The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.” – Edward Munch

Make It A Beautiful Life

Place the colors lovingly on your canvas, with intention, and your painting will flourish before the eye in brilliant splendor.

Love and care for others, with intention, and in the end you will produce a masterpiece, unique and unparalleled in history.

“My philosophy is that I’m an artist.  I perform an art not with a paint brush or a camera.  I perform with bodily movement.  Instead of exhibiting my art in a museum or a book or on a canvas, I exhibit my art in front of the multitudes.” – Steve Prefontaine

If you enjoyed this post,  please see Beautiful By Design and Your Life Depends on Your Creativity.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Nov 06 2014

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Rank #14: 3 Surprising and Valuable Benefits of Digitizing Family Photo Albums

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The genesis of the project was practical and uninspired – but the outcome was akin to finding hidden treasure.

No Room For Albums

When we moved into our smaller space,  we simply did not have room for the family photo albums we had lovingly assembled over the years. We had no choice but to box them up and put them in an unfinished attic.

Concern About Loss

Although we had not looked at most of the albums for decades, it still felt wrong to put them in an inconvenient and somewhat unprotected space. Family photographs comprised the few sentimental items remaining after our mega-edit of over 80% of our possessions. Making the memory books inaccessible undercut the purpose for retaining them.

Resolve to Not  Get Used  to It

When I worked as a house cleaner, I was consistently surprised at how quickly people could tune-out glaring upkeep issues.  Needed work  became “invisible” if  it was left unattended for a certain period of time.

As we approached our first attic storage anniversary,  I knew we needed to take action or our albums and the need to protect them would be largely forgotten.

Process Easier Than Anticipated

Once started, the process of digitizing our family albums was much easier than anticipated.  While there are many wonderful tools and protocols,  we simply removed photos from albums and sorted them into batches such as “1980 Ranch”,  “2006 Graduation”,  “2009 Hawaii”, etc.   Placing the year in front of the batch description created an easy to follow chronology.  We then ran the batches through our ScanSnap scanner and uploaded the images to DropBox.  Such made the images accessible on all our devices and easy to share.  It was also a great comfort to have the images backed-up and significantly safer from loss.

First Surprise Benefit – Discovery of Hidden Love Letters
As I mentioned,  we had not opened most of the albums for decades. I had forgotten the numerous postcards we had included in the albums due to our family practice of purchasing extra postcards to supplement our rather deficient photographic skills.

As I began removing postcards from the magnetic pages, I discovered most were not blank.  Rather,  much to my delight, we had  a huge cache of  long forgotten messages sent by beloved family members who have since passed.  These beautiful  messages shared tales of adventure and love.

Second Surprise Benefit-  Easy “Then-and-Now” Photos

With family images easily accessible on my iPhone,  we could now take time-lapse pictures with family members re-creating a scene from a photograph taken years earlier.  What fun!!

Third Surprise Benefit – Opportunity to Reach Out

As we assembled our new digital database of  family images, we came across images we knew others would want to see.   With a few clicks,  we were able to forward images that opened new lines of communication and allowed us to reconnect with loved ones.  In so doing,  we rediscovered why the images were so precious to us in the first place.  They preserved memories and created new opportunities to connect with our loved ones.  It was a legacy worth preserving,  cherishing… and sharing.

* * *

We would love to hear how you save and share family images. Please let us know in the comments below.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

May 29 2014

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Rank #15: SLR 077: 7 Steps to Help a Loved One Embrace Change

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One of the most difficult questions we get is:

“What do I do when I want to make changes,  but my loved one does not?”

Whether the desired change is to rightsize, de-clutter, reduce activity  or financial overload or otherwise,  we generally encourage the inquiring party to make individual changes, and then wait patiently in the hope that demonstrated benefit will persuade the reluctant party to embrace mutual change at some point.

While we continue to recommend this approach,  we recognize that additional advice might be helpful, particularly when the “just-be-an-example” approach appears to be failing.

We have boiled our recommendations down to the following 7 points:

1. Maintain the relationship as the priority.  As a starting point, resolve that if a choice must be made,  your relationship with your loved one will always trump your desired life edits.  The greater purpose for the desired change should be to benefit the relationship.

2. Identify loved one’s pain.  Many of us become so accustomed to bearing a burden that we fail to recognize that such even exists.  Be sure to identify what pain your loved one is experiencing that your desired changes will relieve.  Resistance may be lessened if changes are understood to be a mutual solution,  as opposed to a life change that is simply your personal preference.

3. Do NOT pressure loved one.  Resist the urge to pressure (or nag) your loved one into making changes s/he is not ready to make. Making significant life changes and edits is complex and often involves deeper issues of security and identity.  Attempting to coerce or shame a loved one into letting go of cherished items and/or activities will be counterproductive at best.

4. Maximize individual changes. Implement as many individually-impactful changes as possible. Such increases the likelihood that there will be measurable,  persuasive benefits that can be observed over a period of time by the reluctant party.

5. Use “Season in Life” as context for change.  Provide a new perspective on desired edits.  Change might be easier if it is understood as a natural transition or transfer as opposed to  “loss” or “letting go”  of something.   Examples might include donating outgrown baby clothes or selling an oversized empty-nesters’ house to a growing family so that such property can again be used and enjoyed as intended.

6.  Propose a trial period or game approach. Consider proposing a limited, no-commitment trial period.  An example would be Courtney Carver’s 3 month fashion challenge, Project 333.  Other approaches include permanently editing items such as playing the Minimalist’s game for a month,  or trying Simple Life Together’s year long “Edit and Forget It” challenge.

7. Inspire and encourage.  Keep two words in mind when trying to help a loved one with change.  To “inspire” is  to breathe life into someone.  To “encourage”  is to imbue with courage.  Recognize and celebrate how momentous even small changes can be in you and your loved one’s life.  Commit to serve, inspire, encourage and be a source of hope for a better future.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Oct 16 2014

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Rank #16: Defining a Simple Lifestyle in 10 Words or Less

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What is a simple lifestyle?

Time and again I have seen how a thoughtful, concise explanation of values and objectives permits even very different people to understand and relate to one another.

As an attorney, I make my living with words. You can imagine my consternation on the occasions when I have been unable to come up with a meaningful definition  of the journey to a simpler lifestyle.

I resolved to find a definition.

One of the primary challenges in defining the journey is that it is different for each of us.  Fellow travelers include pastors,  young families,  solo world travelers, students, tiny home dwellers, entrepreneurs and retirees.  Fellow travelers’ world views are varied and include a broad spectrum of  faith traditions and theoretical concepts such as intentional living, life design, life editing, simplicity, minimalism, and margin.

Nonetheless, in spite of the spectrum, there are unifying concepts.  Therefore, I continued my quest for a functional definition in the manner of most attorneys,  by reviewing quotes from authorities:

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist described the journey this way:  “… the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”

The “Mins“, as they are affectionately known, Joshua Field Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus of  The Minimalists defined it this way: “… a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution.”

Richard Swenson, M.D. explained that creating margin was the objective of the journey and stated, “Margin is the space between our load and our limits and is related to our reserves and resilience. It is a buffer, a leeway, a gap; the place we go to heal, to relate, to reflect, to recharge our batteries, to focus on the things which matter most.

Antoine de Saint Exupery defined the objective this way: “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”

***

Now,  a wise author would end this post with St. Exupery’s quote – but I promised a definition in 10 words or less, so I must continue.

In our quest to develop a working definition, it has become clear that the travelers are  a  “work in progress”.  The journey is not to attain a status or condition, or to arrive at a destination.  Rather, fellow travelers are intentionally pursuing a life lived in greater conformance with faith and priorities.

And while it does not remotely capture the complexity and beauty of the intentional-simple-minimal-margin lifestyle,  our working definition of our Simple Life Reboot journey is:

Making Room for That Which Matters Most

***

 If you enjoyed this post and would like a more comprehensive description,  please see our “3 Key Principles of Simple Life Reboot“.   Also, please let us know how you would define the journey in the comments section below.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Feb 19 2014

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Rank #17: 3 Pieces of Advice for My Younger Self

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If you are reading this and are over the age of 40, please stop.  Wait, on second thought, nix that. Whatever your age, please keep reading… but only for the purpose of ultimately sharing or implementing the simple lessons it has taken me nearly five decades to learn.

Now, as a disclaimer, this article is not about regrets or wistful “what-if’s”.  Rather, it is a candid sharing of some missteps made and opportunities missed. While I recognize these experiences have taught me precious lessons, they also made my journey, and that of those around me, a bit rougher than needed at times.  So, without further ado, 3 pieces of advice I would have liked to have shared with my younger self:

1.   Love People – Not Status or Things.  Spend more of your time and money on people than on entertainment, stuff and status.  For decades I considered myself too busy pursuing professional objectives to have appreciable time for family and friends. This resulted in casual acquaintances receiving more attention than friends, and networking trumping family time.  Growth in this area is ongoing.

2.   Admit It When You Don’t Know. Pride is crippling. Far too many times I pretended to understand, only to suffer the consequences later.  As an exchange student learning French, I pretended to understand directions.  As a result,  I ended up lost and afraid in a rural area.  I have also broken more things than I care to recall given my refusal to read the directions.

I have learned it is both humbling and liberating to confess lack of knowledge.  Now, however, instead of pretending, I  am happily learning new programs from 7 year olds on YouTube.  It’s amazing what we can learn if we simply admit we need help.

3.   Celebrate Modest Beginnings.  I have gone through numerous periods of embarrassment when learning something new.   Whether it was running,  my first trial or becoming a step-mom to four children,  I was so anxious to get to the next “level”  that I missed being able to appreciate the joy of new beginnings,  the encouragement of progress,  and the opportunity to not take myself so seriously.  All good and worthy things start modestly and should be celebrated.

Well,  this is the advice I would have given to my younger self.   I wonder if I would have listened….

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

May 01 2014

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Rank #18: SLR 062: Cultivate Your Passion…With Margin!

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You hear a lot of people talking these days about following your passion.  Too often this advice includes dropping everything to go after that one thing in life that “fulfills” you.  But what effect does “dropping everything”  have on the people who depend on you?

Following your passion is not something we advocate here at Simple Life Reboot.  We do, however, encourage you to adopt habits and principles that make it more likely you will cultivate your passion.  It’s why we talk so much about margin, …  but more about that in a moment.

What exactly does follow your passion mean?  Think about it, to follow something is to let it be in control.  It leads you.

In a recent exchange between Joshua Fields Millburn, of  The Minimalists, and Cal Newport, whose popular blog, Study Hacks, looks at the habits of people who lead successful, meaningful lives, Cal put it this way, “‘Follow’ implies that you discover the passion in advance then go match it to a job.  At which point, you’re done.”

Indeed, the whole concept of follow is tempting, drawing us in by suggesting we can throw caution to the wind, and listen to our muse, the internal voice that all “true artists” give themselves over to…..or do they?

I think a “true artist” becomes aware of the bigger framework within which all art is expressed, that life, itself, is the beautiful creation, and that every possible human expression contained within it is but a shallow reflection of the original vision.  Give credit where credit is due.  God made it possible for us to love before we were capable of other expression.

Cultivate… Don’t Follow

When you cultivate, rather than follow your passion, you control the machinery.  You manage the challenge before you.  Then, it becomes a process as you go about acquiring and developing the skills and qualities necessary to fulfill the potential.  You maintain control over how much the cultivation of your passion interferes with the rest of your life… and the rest of your life involves quite a bit of stuff.  Things like people, events, the work you do to sustain yourself and those around you.

So, this concept of cultivating your passion is a completely different approach than following your passion.   We must take ownership of our personal responsibilities first.

3 Ways Margin Allows Us To Cultivate Our Passion

Another important difference between following and cultivating our passion, is that one is a little desperate and unpredictable, offering a do-or-die kind of scenario, while the other can be conducted with a sense of peace and security, where life does not have to spiral out of control in the process.

Now, let’s take a look at margin as it relates to cultivating our passion.

Declining to live on the edge financially gives us an immense logistical and psychological power to achieve our long-term goals.

With Margin we can:

1)  Act with intention

2)  Monitor our progress

3)  Have the assurance that with time we will be successful – that time won’t run out because our resources do

So, if your monthly obligations are less than your monthly income, you are already one step closer to having the ability to cultivate your passion without ignoring the larger, more important framework within which everything else is expressed.

After all, the love and caring we have for each other is the truest and most beautiful artistic vision we can express, one that cannot be contained on a canvas or computer screen.

***************************************************************************

For more information about how to get out of debt and enjoy the benefits of margin, we recommend daveramsey.com.  Start by checking out The Seven Baby Steps.  If you like what you see, consider signing up for a basic course through Financial Peace University.

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Jul 03 2014

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Rank #19: How to Beat the Death Clock

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We live in a death denying culture.  We prefer to ignore the reality that absent divine intervention, we will all die someday.  We pretend that with new medical advances and improved environmental factors, our lives can be extended indefinitely.  We try to shield ourselves from the reality of death.  We prefer that the dying be hidden behind the walls of a facility and that our food arrive in neat plastic wrapped containers.

Many of us are unfamiliar with death.  We fail to appreciate the extraordinary preciousness of the days of life we have.  While we can replace stuff, money and labor,  we cannot replace time.  Time is our most precious resource. Yet we,  Dave and I included,  squander far too much time on unimportant activities.

In order to personally confront this issue,  I used the calculator on deathclock.com to generate my estimated date of death based on actuarial data and biographical factors.  If I subtract out the time I expect to spend at the office and asleep,  I have an estimated 9.5 years left. Wow! Talk about a wake-up call!

Am I going to use that time wisely by spending it with family, serving others and growing…. or will I squander it on amassing and managing property, engaging in nonproductive activities, and numbing myself with vacuous diversions?   You and I each make this choice on a  minute-by-minute basis.   Let’s choose wisely!

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Sep 01 2013

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Rank #20: The Challenge to Change

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“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.  But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.  There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”  – Alan Cohen

When was the last time you avoided making a change in your life?

This might be a harder question to answer than you think, as we tend to retain memories or regrets of the directions we did take, rather than ponder the ones we did not.

We all have ingenious ways of talking ourselves out of change, sometimes without even knowing we are doing it.  Sometimes this resistance to change can be a safety mechanism, but far too often it can cause us to stall, resulting in opportunities missed, and possibilities unrealized.

In the Spring of 2013, when Sheryl and I decided to simplify, downsize, and create more margin in our lives, we made the decision to change because we imagined a better way to live.  Looking back, it seems we came to the decision quickly, deliberately.  But as I think deeper on it, the need to change had been present for several years, stubbornly ignored and rejected by both of us for a variety of reasons.  The speed and deliberateness of our actions was due more to a tipping point having been reached, as we finally recognized how circumstances around us had changed.

Dr. Edward Miller, dean of the medical school and CEO of the hospital at Johns Hopkins University, reports that even when heart patients are told by their doctors they will die if they do not change their habits, only 1 in 10 patients actually change their lifestyle.  It seems that for a vast majority of us, even when we are given information we can believe, from credible sources, we resist change.

John Kotter, Harvard Business School professor, upon studying dozens of organizations in the midst of the economic upheavals over the past few years, makes the observation that “behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people’s feelings.”

According to Kotter, even with people who pride themselves on being disciplined,  rational analytical thinkers like engineers, scientists, doctors, and lawyers, the most successful change occurs when problems or solutions are seen in ways that impact emotions, not just reason.

MOTIVATION TO CHANGE

“Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch

Dr. Dean Ornish, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, says that change depends on people seeing beyond the facts and beyond their fears.  According to Ornish, “…information is important but not always sufficient.  We also need to bring in the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions that are so often ignored.”

If we have nothing better with which to replace the status quo, we eventually lose momentum and slide back into the comfortable habits of old.

Real change does not take root until we can tap into the emotional vision of a brighter future.  Envisioning the magnificent possibilities – that is what empowers us, the thing that sets in motion our reason to embrace change.

What is holding you back from envisioning a brighter future and making the changes that need to occur in your life that will allow you to focus on the things that matter?

“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.” – Francis Bacon

***

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

Feb 13 2014

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