Who thinks more is better than less? In the words of that adorable child in the TV commercial…
“More is better than less because if there’s more less stuff, then you might want to have some more. WE WANT MORE, WE WANT MORE. If you really like something, you’ll want more of it”.
The narrator closes with “It’s not complicated.” But, the truth is, it is complicated. The slogans of More is Better and Bigger is Better, are more (no pun intended, ok maybe small pun intended) than mere words. They have become words wrapped in adorable little sales packages to get us to buy into addictive behavior patterns that fail to provide us with true success. Addiction is not addition (something that adds benefit to you and your life), it is attrition (a wearing away of strength).
The advertising world is going to keep on selling us the false fix. It’s up to us to avoid taking the bait, and to focus our energy on attaining only those things which will directly deliver us true and lasting success. This requires mastering the art of minimalism.
My personal slogan is “Minimize to Maximize”. I know it may sound counter-intuitive—one must minimize in order to maximize, but that is indeed how selective attention works. It’s having the strength of character to select from many stimuli and to focus on only the one(s) that you want while filtering out non-pertinent and non-essential distractions.
“If you wanna fly, you have to give up the shit that weighs you down.” Toni Morrison
As a success coach, I can’t tell you how often I hear personal stories of those who have attained everything they thought would make them feel secure, happy and fulfilled; only to end up feeling quite the opposite.
It’s my life mission and master goal, not to let that happen to you.
Here are the 5 Keys Elements to Achieving Maximum Success Through Mastering the Art of Mindful Minimalism:
- Know Your Master Goal. Become crystal clear on the #1 most important thing in life to you and align all your thoughts, words, and behaviors with honoring it. This keeps you on the direct path to success and prevents the accumulation of non-essentials that divert you away from success.
- Know Why You Want What You Want. Uncover the need that you are striving to fulfill within yourself. Make any adjustments to it to ensure it is a healthy driver which will produce only essential add value benefits to you and your life.
- Practice the Law of Detachment. We all like nice things, but understand that we are not our things. Things come and go, so practice holding them loosely and use restraint in acquiring too much so as not to become enslaved by them. Self-esteem is acquired by becoming more not by having more.
- Live Your Own Dream Not Someone Else’s. Above all else, honor the truth of who you are, what you want to become and what you want to achieve during your lifetime. It is not uncommon that people will consciously or unconsciously go after someone else’s dream, attracting to them, too many people and things which are not essential to the truth of who they are and what they need to become happy and fulfilled.
- Adopt A Daily Practice of Avoiding Excess. Just like the TV commercial accurately portrays, our human instinct is to want more of anything that makes us feel good or distracts us from uncomfortable emotions. A conscious daily practice of avoiding excessive thoughts, words, and behaviors that distract us from maintaining a healthy balance of wealth and well-being, one day at a time, will produce a life of riches at all levels of existence.
Avow today, to get rid of, and stop accumulating, all the junk distracting you from achieving great success.
In closing my shocking confession: I’m a recovering “More, I Want More.” Addict. The “I want more syndrome” even began to show up in my scuba diving hobby. I began each dive with having to top my last dive experience. I NEEDED to see a bigger and bigger fish. Each dive had to deliver more of an experience than the last, otherwise I left feeling dissatisfied. This one day, I just knew, would be the day that I’d get to dive with the biggest fish in the sea—the whale. I intentionally chose a dive where they were located. I had already experienced diving with everything smaller than the whale. This had to be the day. I dove in with great anticipation – nothing. No whale. I kept going. My tank was running low on air. I would have to return back soon to the boat. I pressed on in spite of the dangerously low air level. Shoot! I guess it isn’t going to happen. I felt dejected. Then, all of a sudden, I felt a huge presence fill the water surrounding me. I was like, YES! My next immediate thought was… what’s next after the big whale experience? I hadn’t even spotted the whale before my mind was “I need more and bigger”. Then, it happened. I become surrounded by not one, but an entire school of…drum roll…fluorescent sapphire blue tiny fish! There had to be at least 500 of them. They surrounded my entire body. When I moved left, they swayed left with me. When I swam deeper, they followed. It became a radiant oneness experience that I will never forget. And, in that moment, I realized that it is the small things in life that held the most meaning to me. God had given me a god-shot that day. A reminder to appreciate every single small thing in life, each and every day. The next dive I did, I didn’t see a single fish. I saw, for the very first time since my first dive many years prior, the great beauty of the underwater landscape, and was grateful that it still existed and that I was still alive and well and able to be a small part of its vast universe.
We’ve all seen a movie or a real life situation where a person is speaking a wonderful promise to another person all the while crossing their fingers behind their back. As if crossing fingers absolves them of their unprincipled behavior. And, to make this portrayal of human behavior even more unsavory, we’ve been conditioned to see the person crossing their fingers as not really doing something that harmful.
Promises are a pathway to success. Period. There is no gray area here. The person who is intentionally or non-intentionally breaking their promise is not only causing harm to the other party, but committing a harmful crime against themselves. In failing to uphold their promise, they are setting themselves up for future failure.
“PROMISE IS A BIG WORD. IT EITHER MAKES SOMETHING OR BREAKS EVERYTHING”. Unknown
Stephen Covey’s bestselling classic: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People cites the #1 Habit to acquire to become successful is to be proactive: “The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments, is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity”. If then, upon recognizing the failure to uphold a promise to ourselves or another, an immediate ability to self-correct is the most effective step one can take to putting oneself back on the path to success.
I bet almost everyone reading this article can reflect upon a time when they said to themselves “I will never let myself do such and such again”, only to find themselves doing it one more time and suffering some kind of a loss as a result of failing to keep their promise to themselves. We’re human, sometimes we succumb to breaking our promise to ourselves because we want something very badly. But, then we find out the hard way, that “Ooops, I did it again.” Until eventually, a hard habit of rigorously honoring our promises to ourselves becomes ingrained in our behavior because we have experienced the consequences of not doing so.
Success is achieved by consistently being proactive to keep the promises we make. It’s important, first and foremost, to identify the #1 Top Promise you make to yourself. It’s the bedrock upon which your future success will be made. The #1 promise that I made to myself that made me a millionaire was to always be honest with myself and others; regardless of a fear of losing a perceived advantage, and not to align myself with those who don’t share the same value.
At the end of the day, there is great profit to be gained by honoring the wisdom of Shakespeare on how to live a blessed, balanced and successful life…
This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”
In closing my shocking confession: I guess I had to learn the lesson the hard way. I had promised myself that I was not going to do business ever again with this company because they had failed to be honest in advising me of a key known fact that negatively impacted the valuation of the property that I was purchasing from them. I discovered it only after the fact. Fast forward 4 years later. The same group came forward with an incredible offer to purchase another property. I kept saying not interested. The “not interested” position remained in effect for months. Until the day, they came back with an offer that I felt I couldn’t refuse. It was incredible! I said to myself, the past is the past, and surely, last experience wouldn’t repeat itself. Boy, o’ boy, was that a huge mistake. Almost immediately upon closing the deal, I suffered huge problems getting them to honor their guarantees which cost me a financial loss and a lot of stress. I had failed to keep my promise to myself not to do business with people who didn’t share the value of honesty and had allowed myself to succumb to the allure of the great deal. I’ve lived and I have learned and earned.
What is your #1 Promise to yourself to keep no matter what? Honoring it is your ticket to a rich, rewarding and successful life.
Attaining Success isn’t a result of random selection or luck. Success is a result of deliberate, persistent and consistent action on a set of causal variables which enable a positive outcome.
In the business world people are always asking “Do you have a written business plan?” As if having a “plan” is the predictor of your ability to succeed in achieving your desired outcome. Now, I’m bullish on writing business plans, but not for the “predictor of success” rationale. Writing a business plan (for yourself) gives you clarity and direction; but what it doesn’t give you is the ability to transform yourself into a master maker of success. No material thing can achieve that for you. Only you can make that magic happen.
The first predictor of your success is your commitment to making the necessary changes, modifications, additions and deletions of what needs to be shifted in and around you enabling you to live by a standard set of success indicators to predictably achieve the success you desire.
Using the below Set of Success Indicators will reliably predict your future success:
- Sees their biggest competition as themselves. Strives to continually set the bar higher and to consistently advance themselves forward.
- Perceives competition as motivation. Is not intimidated by competition and views others’ success as inspiration of what is possible to attain and exceed.
- Regularly takes themselves out of their comfort zone. In spite of any fear, pushes to try new things and get out there in new and bold ways.
- Ability to manage their feelings. Doesn’t deny their feelings, but doesn’t allow them to negatively impact their decision making, behavior and ability to keep moving forward towards their goal.
- Likes a challenge. Is invigorated and excited when given a challenge or when someone says “it can’t be done”.
- Doesn’t allow themselves to become bored. Understands that boredom is a signal from the brain that it’s time to get something new going.
- Exerts mind control. Consistently focuses on the positive and how to capitalize on it to build new strategies to achieve their outcomes.
- Depends on faith rather than friends. Understands the most consistent, reliable source of strength and support comes from drawing upon the energy of their faith rather than other human beings.
Interesting that the #8 is the symbol of infinity. If you decide to apply and allow these Eight Success Indicators to guide you on your path to success, your future success is predicted and you will achieve infinite and everlasting success.
In closing my shocking confession: I was a young newbie entrepreneur, who badly wanted to succeed. I spent a tremendous amount of time analyzing the market, competition, funding sources, wrote a brilliant business plan and sourced powerful and potent joint venture partners. But, then, I hit a hard wall when I discovered something about myself. I was in my own way! I realized that I had a fear of opening myself up to others. I tended to stay a short distance away, somewhat detached and non-committal. I had to face the truth of my fear of letting people get close to me. I knew that if I continued to keep people at a distance, that I would keep success at a distance too. I literally began to push myself to open up and put myself out there in bigger ways…I began public speaking, going to more social events, joining more groups, inviting and encouraging new relationships. Slowly, I began to comfortably and habitually let people in. It literally changed my life. It positively transformed me, my relationships, my life and became a key predictor of the future success I was able to achieve.
What existing condition within yourself needs to be shifted to positively predict your future success?