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How to Simplify Your Life

By Ryan Murdoch

In order to bring new things into your life, you must first let other things go.

But why is it so many of us focus on adding more or doing more when we’re trying to reach a new goal?

We want it all at once, but instead of progress we end up with a mess of results that mirrors the random plan we’ve concocted. I’ll give you an example from my own life.

Back in my martial art days I felt I had to maintain every skill set I’d ever learned – simultaneously. My teacher might be working with me on a few specific throws, but at home I’d be practicing those throws AND some striking work AND some stick work AND some knife work… AND let’s not forget falls. Oh, AND conditioning. AND more. Yeah, I actually tried to do all that each and every day.

Know what happened? Nothing much.

But when I stopped to focus on the lesson at hand, I discovered that the next time stick training came around, I had actually gotten better. Not just a little better, either. Things I’d struggled with were no longer obstacles. And the throwing work gave me new insights that I could apply to the stick.

There was a limit to how fast I could move – but there was no limit to how much I could shave away. I got faster not by building speed, but by shaving away those tiny movements that had nothing to do with my goal. I got faster by removing things rather than adding.

And the same lesson applies to the rest of our lives.

If you’re familiar with business books you’ve probably read that 80 percent of your achievements come from 20 percent of your efforts. What if you started focusing nearly all your efforts on those specific things? Could you imagine the results?

In order to do that you must first simplify your life.

Do you want to bring abundance into your life? You first have to let go. That means throwing out the junk that’s cluttering up your closets, your garage, your office or spare room. All those things you haven’t looked at for years. They weigh you down. Give them away or donate them to the Goodwill, where those same items might enrich someone else’s life. You don’t need them anymore.

Do you want to bring vibrant new relationships into your life? You first have to let go of those relationships that are no longer serving you. Those people whose phone calls you dodge because you really don’t enjoy talking to them. Those relationships that are entirely one way – the energy vampires who monopolize your time and drain you. Think about all those people you spend time with out of a sheer sense of obligation or guilt. Don’t judge them. Just let them go and move on.

There’s nothing callous in this. You’ve simply grown in different directions, and you honor that person by allowing them to move on. Spend time instead with people who excite you and who encourage you to grow in new directions. If your life is too crowded, you’ll never have a chance to let new people in.

Do you want to replace unhealthy habits with practices that promote your life? Don’t just slap a bunch of new ideas onto what you’re currently doing. Let those old habits go. That often means taking the time to closely examine your beliefs and decide why you started doing those things in the first place. It isn’t easy, but it works.

Do you want to reach new heights in your job or profession? Let go of all those tasks you do only because you feel you have to. Delegate them to someone else. Let go of all those tasks you absolutely hate – you’re probably not very good at them anyway. Release those things so you can focus on the tasks you are truly great at. THAT is where you bring something unique to the world.

Clean the clutter out of your life, remove the superfluous, and like a sculptor carve away absolutely everything that doesn’t match the ideal vision in your head. When you do, new opportunities you never imagined will rush in to fill that space.

Make some quiet time this evening and take out a notebook and pen. I want you to write half a page on the following questions: What is the ideal simple, good life for you? How would your life be simpler? How would your ideal simple life be different from the life you have now?

Examine each aspect of your life, consciously and deliberately. And begin removing those non-essential elements so you can focus on the things that truly matter to you.

[Ed. Note: Ryan Murdock is coauthor of the Shapeshifter Body Redesign program. When not helping people rediscover the body of their “glory years,“ Ryan travels the world’s marginal places as Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost magazine. Ryan’s work has also appeared in Alo Magazine, the anthologies Traveler’s Tales Central America and Traveler’s Tales China, and Toronto’s Eye Weekly. His Outpost feature “Taklamakan: The Worst Desert in the World” was nominated for a National Magazine Award in Canada.]

Simplify Your Life with Your Own Personal Philosophy

By Craig Ballantyne

The one thing I admire about people who have strong nutrition beliefs is their dogmatic behavior.

For example, a vegetarian, under no circumstances, will ever eat meat. There is no, “well, everyone else is having a burger, so just this once, I will too.“ That’s not how it works. Not when a vegetarian has a strong personal philosophy that they never, ever, ever eat meat.

And that strong personal philosophy guides them to guilt-free behavior that is congruent with their goals.

I’ve also taught my fat loss clients to develop their own personal philosophy, essentially a set of rules that dictate decisions, and I’ve also created my own rules that determine how I live my life so that I reduce guilt, stress, and wasted emotional energy.

A strong personal philosophy will guide you to a simpler life and guilt-free behavior that is congruent with your goals.

Please read the 12 rules I live by here…

This is my most popular article on ETR with over 265 Facebook “Likes“ and over 105 comments.

Let me know what you think,

Craig Ballantyne

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COMMENTS

  • http://www.HeatherBartunek.com Heather

    Great article. I’ve believed in reducing clutter for a long time, even preached it to a sister but I still have more clutter than I should (distractions; less flexibility; etc) Since my current boyfriend & I got back together he has been preaching very similar beliefs. Although I understand & agree it has been difficult to take get comfortable with some of his philosophies because he has made some bad choices in life. However, the truth still remains I must overcome my belief I can do everything & learn to focus with confidence on fewer subject matters. I’ve known this for a while but my brain has had great difficult with the new mental habit. Another large element is my desperate mind set. I’ve spent huge amounts of time & spare income on fixing many health issues that also creates emotional distress. Sometimes I wonder if I should allow this reality to justify my doing what I want rather than always doing what I think I should.