Archive for the ‘Simplicity’ Category

Success leaves clues

October 9, 2014
Success is everywhere ...

Success is everywhere …

Where do you find your insights and motivation?

I find my best insights don’t come from books, seminars or conferences. They come, often unexpectedly, from focusing my attention on something completely different to business or my project of the moment. For me that can be surfing, writing or restoring an old car.

Find something you love to do and work hard to explore, learn and master it. Then take the lessons you learn from it and apply them to other areas of your life. Learning teaches us many things and sets the mind for new input and experiences. There’s great satisfaction in achievement, and success leaves clues that can be applied in all areas of your life.

Best of all, you’ll need very little encouragement or motivation to study something you enjoy. All you need to do is look for the lessons and move them from one part of your life to another.


A man walks into a bar …

August 18, 2014
The Zen of doing what you want ...

The Zen of doing what you want …

A man walks into a bar …

and strikes up a conversation with a Zen monk drinking tea.

The monk asks him what he wants more than anything else in the world.

The man says, ‘I’d like to have a million dollars’.

‘What would you do tomorrow if you had a million dollars’, the monk asks.

The man thinks about it for a moment, and says, ‘I’d go surfing.’

The monk replies: ‘You don’t need a million dollars to go surfing. Just go.’

What do you really want to do? Are you satisfied with the number of hours you work? Are you doing what you really want? How much money do you need? Why aren’t you doing it now?

If you could change your job to 4 days a week and drop 20% of your wage would you do it?

Strangely, it’s often lower income earners who jump at a chance like this, and higher income earners are more uncertain. Perhaps that says a lot about how we create our lives, what’s important to us and our perception of what, or how much, we need to live.

What would you do tomorrow if you had several million dollars today? Do you really need millions of dollars to do it?

Or would you give up a portion of your income for more time to do what you want?

Even if you wouldn’t or couldn’t, can you make some changes to your life to make more room for what you really want to do?

The other side of enough

May 16, 2014
Do you want it all?

Do you want it all?

The more we have, the more we want, right?

Let’s face it, seeing our life as ‘good enough’ doesn’t cut it anymore. Perhaps it should, but it doesn’t.

But, paradoxically, we live in a culture where we’re expected to stifle our desire for more: money, things, achievement, success. Why is wanting more bad?

My mother was fond of saying ‘Enough is enough.’

What is enough? Who defines it? How do we know when we have it? If we have it, can we still want more? Do we really need it, or simply want it? If it’s a want, should we reject it as unnecessary? Or get it anyway?

A key to living with contentment is to realise the difference between needs and wants. If we allow our wants to take over our motivation, we begin to believe that they are indispensible needs. Then we may feel that we ‘need’ to acquire them at any cost: health, family, working crazy hours, dishonesty.

Such ‘needs’ are empty. Unfulfilling. A poison chalice.

If we come to see that wants can be wants and not needs, we can alter our perspective to one that offers more satisfaction with life. We can have what we need, and aspire to what we want, but in a balanced way that makes us happy.

To have something we want without the need to compromise on other important areas of our lives, free to enjoy it for what it is, without the need for self justification.

Perhaps that’s what the other side of ‘enough’ looks like?

What if …

August 12, 2013


Last week I left the cold of the Australian winter to spend a week in the California sunshine; a business trip with an unaccustomed amount of free time.

With a meeting on Thursday and a conference on Monday we had the rare opportunity of three days off to explore and enjoy ourselves. It’s easy to be captivated by LA, an amazing city, and the diversity, contrast and excitement.

We marvelled in the hurricane colour of Venice beach, Hollywood’s glamour and the excitement of Huntington Pier and the final heats of a world pro surfing tour event. As a child I’d seen footage of surfers navigating the pylons of this pier, surfing through and around in a seemingly death defying display of skill and control.

And now I was right here.

It’s times like these that I wonder why I waste so much of my life locked in an office in an endless busyness that often feels of little value. I want to retire and live the bohemian lifestyle of one who is truly free. A life of fulfilment, financially free, living for the moment and experiencing the joy of life without the constraints of time.

In LA, I walked along the ocean-front apartments daydreaming … picturing myself tanned and lean, relaxed and happy as I returned from a morning surf to breakfast on fresh tropical fruit and roasted coffee before spending a few hours writing … in the early afternoons I’d a stroll down to a cafe for lunch and some banter with the local vendors while enjoying the warm day and the tropical breeze. Time is only defined by light and dark, a beautiful sunset heralding the end of the day …

But then it’s back to reality and the worry that it’s a nice dream but that’s all it ever will be. Then I ask myself: what if … ?

Listening to intuition

July 2, 2013
Why this picture? Just felt right!

Why this picture? Just felt right!

What’s happened to intuition?

I trust the value of ‘gut instinct’ and when I go against my intuition I often regret it. For me it’s a combination of a connection to the flow of life and a moral, social and psychological awareness built on life experience.

When my kids ask ‘How do you know that dad?’ my answer is either ‘I don’t know, just do’ or ‘I’ve been around a while’. Both acknowledge intuition. But if intuition it so natural, why do we need to worry about it?

My belief is that we have lost our ability to connect because we’ve developed a bias towards rationality; if we can’t explain or prove an event or experience we dismiss it. Many children are very intuitive; they’re open to everything and are unaware of where they end and the rest of the world begins. They don’t question, they just accept.

As they get older and move into school they see the value that society places on the rational, proven and tangible and learn to dismiss intuition as just a coincidence.

We can learn a lot from the natural cues we receive. Weigh up the rational, consider the facts, learn from your experience but also listen to how you feel.

Does it feel right to you?

Expecting the best

April 22, 2013
Where do you find your best?

Where do you find your best?

In our last post we discussed the way that our relative perception of what’s happening can actually affect what does happen. We see this with athletes who practice or visualise their performance in their mind, which greatly enhances their results because their body knows what to do.

This is called expectancy theory, where our expectations create brain patterns that are just as real as those created by the events themselves.

When we expect things to go a certain way and they’re in our control, they usually will. That’s because we’re following the patterns we’ve previously created and will drive our actions towards that end.

The most successful people adopt a mindset of positive achievement and view their working hours as opportunity for learning and achievement.

That provides a significant advantage over those who consider work boring and waiting for the hours to pass. Successful people take the same block of time given to everyone but use their mindset to be more productive and to get something out of the process, which leads to greater happiness and success.

Just as your mindset about your work affects your performance, so too does your belief about your ability. The more you believe in your ability to succeed, the more likely it is that you will. Believing that we can influence positive change in our lives increases motivation and job performance so that success becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This is not new. The entire self-help industry has been built on visualisation, positive mental attitude and belief and how that leads to massive action where small failures are merely speed bumps on the journey to success. For others, without a positive framework of expectations, such speed bumps may be roadblocks that stop action dead in its tracks.

Bringing these ideas to their logical conclusion shows a positive mental attitude and belief in your ability to get the job done well will put you at a significant advantage over others who are just going through the motions.

Why we put things off

May 24, 2012

Why don’t we?

This post, the next in the series on beating procrastination, explores why we put things off when we know we shouldn’t.

It’s easy to postpone the things you should be doing and fill your time with easier and less important activities. And it’s often a difficult task that you know is there but can’t quite get to it.

Procrastination causes stress – it’s that line on your to do list that never gets crossed. It nags away at you causing tension, anxiety and fatigue. It can also keep you from reaching your goals, the ones you say you’d do anything to achieve. It stifles personal growth and can keep you from living a happy, healthy and prosperous life.

So why do we do it? There are lots of reasons. You can be afraid of failure or success, feel insecure, feel unable to cope with things that are difficult or simply be put off by effort and concentration that you can’t or won’t apply now.  Sometimes the dream is better than the reality, and if you never try you can’t fail.

When it comes down to it, there is a cost for everything; time to write a book, application to gain a qualification, pain and exertion to lose weight and money to start investing. Often the cost of doing something is perceived to be higher than the benefit. I really want to lose weight but I just love food so much and I’m too tired to exercise. Then sometimes the rules of the game change. You have a mild heart attack and suddenly eating those foods and not exercising has a much higher cost.

Then the benefit, living, is more important than the cost and you find the time to make the changes in your life. Deadlines can do the same thing. You can put things off until the price of not doing it – failing or being reprimanded – is higher than the pain of doing it – so it gets done at the last possible moment. Unfortunately that is rarely a recipe for the best possible outcome.

Clearing your inbox of 30 urgent but not important messages may provide a sense of satisfaction but it doesn’t achieve anything meaningful. Tackling the difficult task is more difficult, requires sustained activity and has consequences if not done properly. So we stick to the easy, the quick and the unimportant in the illusion of productivity.

But no one thanks you for that. And you aren’t getting closer to achieving your goals. So you’re stuck in a rut feeling bad about yourself. What’s your priority for the rest of today? Will you waste the day on irrelevancies?

It’s random

February 7, 2012

My daughter’s favourite word at the moment is ‘random’. In her world, everything and everyone appears to be a ‘random’. So here are 10 random ideas of my own:

  1. Prosperity comes with a clear vision of your direction.
  2. You know the cliché ‘when one door closes, another opens’; but I think we often look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one that has opened for us.
  3. Even a happy life can’t be without a measure of darkness, and success would lose its meaning if it weren’t balanced by the occasional failure. So take all things as they come along, with patience and composure.
  4. Stop comparing what others do, where they live and how they live, how much they earn, or what job they have.
  5. If you want to feel successful, decide whose life you want to live and start creating goals you want to achieve. Don’t live to only please others.
  6. Write down what you really hate about yourself in big black letters on a piece of paper. Hold it up and look at it in the mirror. Now tear it in half, throw it on the floor and jump on it. Take it outside and set fire to it. Watch it burn and see the embers fly away.  Now it’s gone.
  7. If we want change, we can’t stay the same. Yet often we say we want to change, but we don’t. Why?
  8. Before you can change your life you need to change what’s inside you. If you focus on what’s wrong you’ll get more of that again. To make positive changes you need to think differently and feel differently. Ever notice that when you feel good everything seems to go well for you?
  9. Why does ‘fine’ never actually mean fine? Why do we say we don’t care when we do? Why do we say it doesn’t matter when it does?
  10. If yesterday was better than today, what’s in store tomorrow? Make today and every day the best you can make it.

So there’s 10 random thoughts.

What is the great order of life?

September 5, 2011

How do you see life?

There are so many pressures in life. There is pressure to succeed, to conform, and to live life by what is ‘expected’. But expected by whom; society, church, parents, peers?

Soon after we’re born we are slotted into the system like carriages on a railroad, all rumbling along the same line, in the same direction without really knowing where we are going: school, work, marriage, mortgage, kids, retirement and death. A cycle repeated over and over, largely ignoring the individuality of the participants in life’s game.

This process largely dictates that we defer happiness until some undefined future when the time is ‘right’. But it is ever? There’s always something about to happen, that’s the nature of life! We have the opportunity to embrace change and enjoy the journey.

So much of what we do has been subconsciously programmed from birth.

Our behaviour can be reactionary, unresponsive and often not responsible. We’re constantly reacting to what is imposed upon us from outside, rather than just being able to take the necessary action for what is most essential for ourselves and our well-being.

But when dependency on outside forces is diminished it becomes easier to adapt and grow. Taking responsibility for ourselves also makes it easier to change.

So take the time to question, assess, and evaluate your core beliefs and start enjoying every uncertain day.

Defining your life balance

August 30, 2011

Can you find your balance point?

Having just returned from a holiday I find myself thinking about life balance and how our definition of balance can change depending on our circumstances. For some people life balance simply means personal happiness, for others it will be linked to financial success. For many feeling happy and loved is enough. For most it’s a complex list of factors that shift with experiences and life stages.

Life balance can be expressed in many different ways:

– Work-Life balance

– Personal and emotional fulfilment

– Health and well-being

– Happiness and feeling good about life

– Successful with a certain feeling of achievement

– Contentment and inner peace

– Good relationships with family and friends

– Spiritual peace

How would you define your life balance; what factors are important to you? The dictionary defines balance as both sides being weighted equally, and balance is often discussed in the context of the interplay between a person’s work and home/leisure pursuits. It also applies to the balance between doing things you must do and thinks you like to do, things you do for others and for yourself, and physical and mental equilibrium.

People may feel satisfied with their career and financial status but very unhappy about being overweight, unfit and rarely home. Others may be happy about health and spiritual growth but unhappy about not having regular work or owning a house.

The lucky ones have all the positives and few of the negatives. Equally weighted financial success and health, time with the kids and personal growth. You can have balance too if you know what it is for you, work towards it, and make choices that move you towards your goals.

To start you must understand what you really want. Prepare separate lists of all things you have to do and the ones you want to do. Now prioritise them. Many people do all the ‘have tos’ first and leave no time for the ‘want tos’. Look at how you can mix them: time at work, driving the kids around, time with your partner, time to read and time to work on that project. A decent measure of all the things that are important to you; that’s balance.