Anything that reveals why people do what they do, or what moves us to act or not, fascinates me. That’s why reading or listening to motivational or success authors and/or speakers is something I’ve done most of my adult life. Sure some resources are better than others, but I always manage to learn at least one new thing that benefits my thinking, my perceptions, and hopefully my life. That’s why when I was offered a review copy of a new book by longtime author and speaker Brian Tracy, I said yes. Without a doubt the title intrigued me: Find Your Balance Point—Clarify Your Priorities, Simplify Your Life, and Achieve More. Doesn’t that sound SMART to you, too? [Read more…]
A friend of mine is currently in the midst of selling her long-time family home and moving. Yet while I believe she “gets” the many benefits of rightsizing, I can tell after talking with her that several issues keep popping up that make her hesitant. That’s completely normal, because in many ways, rightsizing is contrary to what most of us have been taught. The good news is that once you know what to keep in mind, rightsizing not only becomes the easiest choice, it is also the one that leads to the greatest benefits.
What do we need to remember when it’s time to make a move? [Read more…]
“If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.” ~Confucius
A good friend of mine plans to retire in the next couple of months. She’s earned it. After working at a challenging job for over 25 years, she’s more than ready to move on to something new. But underlying that excitement I detected a bit of worry about the uncertainty before her. That mixed message of elation and concern got me thinking about how Thom and I are approaching our future. What I realized was that in our quest to rightsize our lives, Thom and I have gradually slipped into what we are calling semi-retirement in a natural and stress-free way. While so many people our age are asking an all-or-nothing question about retirement, rightsizing right now might be the best solution of all.
I keenly remember my mom working a garden in several of the homes she lived in later in her life. One was little more than rock and gravel patch of dirt, yet she managed to harvest a few tomatoes and zucchini in spite of the inhospitable ground. And while I always enjoyed the taste if she had any extras, my life was far too important and fast paced to even imagine having the time or interest. Now here I am so many years later, spending time nearly every day nurturing tiny green plants in my care. Though it’s taken a while, I’ve gradually come to realize that many of the hidden benefits my mother harvested from her garden went far beyond the obvious. In fact, after reading up on the benefits of gardening I’ve come to realize that this simple action might be a cure for what ails many people, as well as the planet herself. [Read more…]
The Internet is full of posts, articles and photos of people who are embracing a more minimal lifestyle and promoting the Small House Movement. Just Google if you’re curious. One guy has remodeled a trash dumpster and now calls that home. Others are living in RV like structures with only 200 to 300 sq. feet. Even though some of these homes are adorable and decorated to make the most of small spaces, there is only a minority of us in the U.S. that will ever embrace that lifestyle for any length of time. But that doesn’t mean that the focus on a small (er) home isn’t worth promoting. In fact, my experience has convinced me that it was one of the best moves we ever made. [Read more…]
There is nothing like traveling to another country to help you appreciate what you have back at home. It’s also easy here in the U.S. to take so much of what we have, and routinely do, for granted. So even though I told you I was done with writing about our recent trip, here is what I immediately learned to appreciate the minute we crossed the border. Of course it is only SMART to remember these each and every day. [Read more…]
We woke up early on our final morning in Oaxaca MX and came up with five remaining SMART Tips we can all use for both travel and the journey of life. Overall our vacation in Mexico has introduced us to captivating and interesting sites and experiences. Everywhere we’ve gone we’ve met friendly, kind and generous people. The variety, quality and presentation of the food and beverages have been asombroso (amazing). And like the very best of travel, we have learned more about ourselves and discovered that people everywhere mainly strive for the same things—love, meaning, peace and a sense of purpose. How SMART is that? [Read more…]
According to the online publication Business Insider, the average person works over 1,800 hours per year and almost 90,000 total hours during their lifetime. That might be low because if you figure 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, it comes to 2,000 hours without even counting commuting time. An even more depressing bit of information is that nearly 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. So if we spend over a third of our life working and another third of our life sleeping, that leaves only one third to do everything else. Is that enough for a happy, purposeful and rewarding life? Maybe. If not, perhaps there is a better way to live by right-sizing your work in ways that help to create a SMART life 365. [Read more…]
A few days ago while having dinner with friends I asked about their plans for the weekend. In an ever-perpetual dancing mood, I mentioned that I had noticed on Facebook that a new band was scheduled to play at a local hangout. But I was torn because I had also read in the local paper that a new exciting restaurant had just opened offering incredible free tapas for any who came by. Even then, I was curious if my friends had heard of something else that might be more fun or interesting. That’s when they all looked at me and simultaneously shouted, “STOP!” Then my dear friend Larry turned to me, put his hand on mine, and said with concern, “It sounds like you’ve got a bad case of FOMO—Fear of Missing Out!” Immediately, I knew that the best, and maybe the only cure, was to return to the mindful practice of simple living.
I’ve been writing about the value of sustainability, simplicity and minimalism for over six years. Because it’s a big part of living SMART, I’m always on the lookout for ways to introduce new people to the idea and explain the value and incredible advantages that such a perspective offers. Maybe that is why I synchronistically stumbled across the word “essentialism” during a recent Internet surf about how to create more meaning and purpose in a person’s life. Author Greg McKeown uses it frequently in his best selling book, Essentialism—The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. And after reading the book, it’s possible that Essentialism just might be a new and better way of describing what so many of us seek when pursuing minimalism or a simple life. [Read more…]