Day #172:Simplify

Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least. ~Goethe

One of the conclusions I’ve reached as I’ve grown older and, I hope, wiser is that … less is usually more. In other words, when given the opportunity to simplify your life … take it.

I compare it to pruning a tree. By removing the excess branches the tree has more energy to bear beautiful blossoms and healthy fruit. Your life is no different. When you continually prune the areas not bearing fruit, you will be able to focus your energy on what matters most.

Granted, “simplifying your life” means many things to different people. It can mean more time, less stress, less clutter, fewer bills, and greater peace of mind. Your personal quest for simplicity may include one or all of these attributes. However, I can only share with you what has worked for me, and I hope you can relate. Consider these suggestions:

Say goodbye to “the Joneses” – Chasing symbols of success can be an all-consuming, hollow existence. Your focus on living in a larger house, driving a more luxurious car, joining the right clubs, and updating your wardrobe will bear no fruit when it comes to peace of mind. Before you make your next purchase, ask yourself these simple questions: Is this something I really need? Can I do without it? Will it make a positive difference in my life?

Live by the 80/20 Rule – In business, there’s a rule of thumb that twenty percent of the sales people will generate eighty percent of the business, and that twenty percent of your customers will create eighty percent of your problems. I’ve found both to be true. I’m suggesting that you apply the rule to your personal life. First, identify the twenty percent of problems that create eighty percent of your stress in life. Then, focus on resolving that twenty percent. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel by making progress on these major issues. I also predict you’ll get a boost in attitude from just making the list.

Unload your emotional baggage – Hate, anger, and resentment can lower an invisible ceiling on your future. Repeat to yourself the words of William Ward, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the handcuffs of hate.”
Many books are available on the subject of simplifying your life, and I recommend you get one. But until you do, start your journey with these three suggestions. You and your attitude will thank me for it.

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