If you had millions of dollars, what would you do? Buy an expensive house and car? How about a used van and park it by the ocean? That is exactly what Major League pitcher Daniel Norris did. Instead of spending his multimillion dollar contract to live up to the appearance of a celebrity ball player, this 21-year-old pitcher chose a simpler life. In a segment on the Today Show Daniel Norris said, “When I can simplify outside of the fair and foul lines, that’s so much less to think about off the field and all my focus is put onto the baseball field.”
As you go through your day, what is causing your stress, worry, and distraction? Is it a desire for a new car? Is it ensuring your dinner party is as good as your neighbor’s was? Are you concerned about people stealing what you own? Are you having difficulty paying your mortgage but worry you have failed if you downsize? Are you stressed because you can’t seem to achieve the American dream? Perhaps your unique dream life is different from the one society has dictated for us all.
Are the issues causing stress in your life providing you with any value? Start cataloging everything in your life. What brings you joy? What makes you feel whole? What helps to make you your best? Now, what is causing you to feel overwhelmed? What is a distraction? What is more hassle than it is worth? Next explore what is keeping you from removing things from your life that are affecting you negatively. Do you keep them around for your values or someone else’s? Are you living your unique Type Me life or are you unhappily living someone else’s life? Your ideal life might not to be living in a van, but is it the way you are living now?
Look around you. Did you create your life or are you living the life your parents, society, or your peers instilled in you? Are you trying to win at a game you don’t want to play? If you had the courage and the means, what life would you create? What would be included? What would you remove?
Henry David Thoreau wrote in the book Walden, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Simplifying your life is not just about downsizing your house or selling your possessions. At its heart, simplifying means living by your values. What do you personally value? When you choose to add something in your life, do you first gauge it against what you values? If you lived by your values, what would you experience? Make a list of all of the adjectives that would describe your life if you lived by your values. Perhaps it would be calm, peaceful, and content. Perhaps it would be exciting, adventurous, and joyful. What makes your heart sing? What truly makes you happy? Are you actively bringing into your life those things that make you happy?
Can you be as brave as Daniel Norris and remove yourself from the expectations of your role and status to remain true to your Type Me? Are you willing to stand up to ridicule and live the life that brings you joy? Are you ready to choose your version of living no matter what society expects? It is time to simplify your life by removing everything that is not you?
Lately I have been experiencing a ground swell of desire for a new way to be and live. I expect to see this from my clients, however I am seeing it in places and people I would not expect.
Arianna Huffington shares her thoughts about redefining success in her new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder. Instead of focusing solely on money and power she calls us to look to a third metric centered on the quality of our lives.
A relaxing weekend at a friend’s summer house becomes a discussion about values and goals. The quest for a successful business is being overtaken by the desire to focus on family and a slower way of living.
Interviewing potential financial advisors shifts into a discussion of how the stress of making six figures hurts health, relationships, and quality of life.
We are not yet at the tipping point of embracing new values, but there is growing discontentment with how things are and a longing for something different. The challenge is money and power are so ingrained in our society. Deep in our psyche we still believe: Work hard. Keep up with the Jones. Make something of yourself. He with the most toys wins. Earnings = worth. Beat the other guy to win.
Yet all of these ideas are beginning to feel hollow. Big “wins” leave us dissatisfied. We earn and we buy and we don’t enjoy our lives. We strive and compete and we damage our health.
What does it take to embrace new values?
The first step is to define what you TRULY value. Not what society tells you is important, not what your family has always valued, not what your friends are striving for, but what you truly value. Deep down inside we all know what is important to us. The reason we do not focus on it is because it is clouded by convention.
- Spend some time thinking and feeling about what truly makes you happy, brings you joy, and makes you feel fulfilled.
- Next, list the things which are currently taking priority like your to-do list and current goals. Sit with each of these obstacles and uncover if they are truly important to you.
- Begin to replace your current priorities with your true values and see how your health, joy, and relationships improve.
Share with us what you truly value and how you are going to start bringing it back into your life.