woman-happy-sm-520x346The question, “do you have a rich life”, is tricky. Our first thought is often in equating that rich life with money. We all know the importance of the dollar. It’s just that after a certain amount, there is no more payoff. Study after study shows that after a certain level is attained, it stops adding to well-being and happiness.

It’s not uncommon for people to spend more money than they make to buy happiness. The deception is simple — until we have it, it continually presents itself as a viable option. So a lot of folks find themselves (in the words of Will Rogers),

  • Spending money they don’t have
  • To buy things they don’t need
  • To impress people they don’t like

Too many things we get to fill personal voids are, at best, pacifiers. And we can do better than that.

Here are 5 practices that promote a rich life with less stuff.

  1. Enter your day slowly. Do you remember what you did the 1st hour of every school day? You went to your homeroom. It was an exercise in entering your day slowly. You would catch up with friends, line up your day, and get a couple of things done so you could focus on the day before you. Now fast forward to the present. Most folks I talk to don’t have a homeroom moment. They jump out of bed at the sound of an alarm! with an immediate on call awareness. The ritual begins:
  • Check the never ending emails
  • Get distracted by multiple headlines and topics
  • Hear their phones ping for their attention
  • Diffuse any focus that makes them feel good or be productive

In order to have a peak performance, you need a peak purpose. Using the 1st moments of your day to gain clarity and perspective is a great strategy. What’s important and what are the bunny trails? You discover that what feels like less turns into a lot more.

  1. Be aware of the exchange rates. When luxuries become distractions to what you most value, there is an exchange rate, and sometimes it’s exorbitant.  When you are paying too much energy, too much emotion, too much time, or too much money to have them, you spend less energy, emotion, time, and money on the things that really matter. That’s a bad exchange rate. When you cut out the excess, you create a clear, simple, directed, and focused life. It’s peaceful, focused, and fun.
  1. Activate your imagination. Imagine ahead 5 years. Imagine a life with less:
  • Less clutter
  • Less stress
  • Less debt
  • Less discontent
  • Fewer distractions

Now imagine a life with more:

  • More time
  • More meaningful relationships
  • More growth
  • More contribution

In summary, you are imaging a life of contentment and compassion, unencumbered by the chaotic world around you. What you are imagining is not a perfect life, nor an easy one. Yet without question you are imagining an intentional life. It won’t happen automatically. It’s purpose driven rather than possession driven.

  1. Know your brain’s power to trick. Our brains can trick us into thinking that the simple life is a boring life. The false message is that doing common-place things makes you a common place person – forgettable and unremarkable. It’s a false fear, which means you don’t have to be afraid since it’s not true. It’s more realistic to be afraid of doing the things or being the person you don’t love or want to be. You will discover that you are not boring – but in fact –you are amazing.
  1. Plug in your gratitude grid. As you gain awareness of your big picture, then marinate it with gratitude. That becomes a power grid in your life. Gratitude elevates personal confidence. You gain certainty about the tasks before you. Your insight to what is important is heightened. You more easily sidestep distractions. It transforms a whining day into a winning day. Gratitude in your beginning moments creates winning moments.

It’s easy to focus on the wolves at the door and ignore the termites in the floor. Our greatest threat is not the external wolves howling and growling. Our greatest threat are those internal termites silently eating away at our soul’s infrastructure.

Strategic thinking starts at the floor, not the door.

What do you do to get focused? Give us your comments.