Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you will have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?”
—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Marcus Aurelius, a philosopher and Roman Emperor, 161-180 CE, wrote the quote above. His words hold as much truth and power today as they did back then.
In our current world of internet and commercial babble, self-propelled busyness, and idealistic perfectionism— they are more important than ever before.
As a society, we take great pride in our busyness. We create Actions Steps and To-Do lists that would wear out the Energizer Bunny. We spread ourselves as thin as honey on a hot day. We struggle, fumble, mumble, and complain about the frustrations of having to do it all. We cope with the insanity of not knowing what we are doing and wade through countless hours of unhelpful help-support and head-scratching solutions that offer nothing more than a new complication to add to the mix. We look to our competitors to see what new idea they have come up with and scramble to catch up to the “Business Jones” for fear of being left behind.
I wish I was exaggerating, but for many people this is an accurate account of the daily trudge of life and business. For many people, the Must Do’s and Should Do’s far out-weigh the Want to Do’s and tower over the measly Love-to-Do’s that never get on the list at all.
If we are lucky, we struggle through the daily grind, etching out the pencil marks counting off the days until our one or two week vacation where we can FINALLY, finally…get a few days to rest and hear ourselves breathe.
My friends. This is no way to live. And what is even more remarkable?
You don’t have to live this way. If you feel stuck in a life like this, I have good news for you. The STUCK is an illusion. There is a way out and—no—it doesn’t require robbing banks, winning the lotto or waiting for Great- Aunt Matilda to leave you her inheritance.
You can enjoy a more simplified, peaceful, tranquil, fulfilled, inspired life, doing the things you believe you were created to do.
And it isn’t by making that list longer. Quite possibly, it may be by dumping most of the things on the list altogether and rearranging the rest of the list into manageable strategies that work. Then…you can bring back the Love-to Do items you thought you had no time for. You do. We all have the exact amount of time in a day. No one was created with one second longer in a day than anyone else. It just depends on how we chose to use it, and what we want to do with it.
So how willing are you to create the life you really want to live? Are you ready to begin? There are four steps on the journey.
“Most of what we do and say is not essential…”
Step one: Elimination.
This is a powerful first step for many reasons. It spans our personal lives (both physical and spiritual), our relationships, and our business lives.
From our physical clutter, to the mental clutter of our thoughts, to the energy-sucking relationships that drain us, to the jobs that evade our boundaries and don’t fulfill us, our lives are overflowing with piles of time-occupying debris that we mistake as important daily tasks and commitments.
We move on auto-pilot, mind-numbingly unaware of how much energy we waste that could be better spent making us—and the people around us—happy, successful, and inspired.
Identifying the non-essential areas, things and people in our lives is a huge first step in returning valuable time and positive energy back into our lives.
It won’t be easy. Habits are hard to break. It is hard to give over control of tasks, chores and projects to someone else better suited for the job. Someone whose natural gifts are more in-line with the task and won’t suck away the time and energy it does for you. Your ego will tell you that you HAVE to do it all. That if you don’t, you have failed, that the world is depending on you…that to admit that you can’t do it all makes you less of a hero.
Ask yourself every moment…Is this necessary? If the answer comes back no, dump it. If the answer comes back, “Well somebody has to do it…” Then…hmm. Maybe it’s time to find somebody who isn’t YOU. Focus on Minding Your Own Business, and letting others do the work that belongs to them.
Step Two- Expansion
Leave Empty Space. As a society, we abhor silence and vast amounts of space. The moment we reduce or eliminate the clutter in our lives, our very first inclination is to fill it up again with something new. It’s as if the very act of elimination is a license to go shopping, for new relationships, things or busyness. We are uncomfortable with breathing in the stillness, hearing our own thoughts, walking in the calmness of tranquility. Hang on to it. Let yourself adjust to the newness and instead of fighting it, breathe into the openness of the new spaces in your life. Protect them, observe them, listen to them. Watch. They have something to teach you.
Step Three- Clarity
In the Stillness, you will find yourself there. Only…when you have given yourself enough time to hear yourself think, remember what you actually enjoy- when nobody is telling you what to think, how to act, and what to do with all of your time, will you begin to feel the stirrings of your TRUE To-Do list. Your Love-to-Do list. The list you were put here to finish. Start writing. Start dreaming. As the vision begins to unfold and the plan becomes clear, capture it. The Muse doesn’t hang around forever for those who don’t take action. Grab the inspiration and start planning!
Step Four- Implementation
Create a plan for YOUR destination. If you don’t create a plan for your new-found life, someone else will and you will be right back to step one again. Believe me, the world has a plan for you and they don’t care where you thought you were going. They are riding the current toward crazy and if you want to swim in your own stream, you have to have a very clearly defined plan, with focused goals, daily discipline and accountability to stay on track. With the homework of the first three steps behind you, you can move almost effortlessly into a highly charged action plan that doesn’t drain you, but instead energizes you each and every day. You can do less, because you are concentrating on only the important items in your life, you will have a higher quality output, more happiness and less stress than you ever thought possible.
The Power of doing Less.
I don’t promise the journey will be easy. However, I will promise that if you are willing to do the work, the change in your life will be powerful indeed.
Wendi Kelly is a Mindset Transformation Coach who guides her clients to better clarity, vision and radar focus in their lives and business. She combines powerful exercises, personal consultation and proven systems designed to work with the unique personality traits of the creative person in mind. If you could benefit from more information about how she could help you create a plan for your success, start here for more information.