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In this article, I would like to talk about freedom. What is it? Why does it matter? How can we get more of it daily life?
I’m sharing these insights because it’s how I actually thought about designing my life after leaving my corporate career. I realized that time and mobility were huge factors in my happiness. This led me to sell most of what I owned (including my car and home), move cities and change careers.
The morning is a special time. It’s a time when the world seems to be in slumber. When the demands of the day are not yet fully born. It’s a chance to begin life anew and fresh.
Research is starting to show what countless successful (and happy) people already know: that taking advantage of the morning hours is a stepping stone to having a great day. Our willpower is deplated as the day wears on. The morning is the best time to get important things done. When we are productive, we feel better about our accomplishments and our self-satisfaction rises.
There are a lot of articles out there talking about how important it is to wake up early. However, waking up is just the start to a morning routine. We need to pay close attention to how best to spend the time after we rise from bed.
Treat this article like a menu of ways to radically improve your morning routine and in turn, your entire day. I’ve tried them all for extended periods, and they work! However, you do not (and probably shouldn’t!) do everything on this list at the same time. That will be overwhelming and self-defeating. Instead, pick a few things to focus on. Over time, you can refine your approach based on what works best for you.
If you had your choice, what sort of life would you live?
Would you live in a city and work hard to climb the corporate ladder? Would you live as an artist in a coastal enclave? Would you be semi-nomadic, making your way as a digital freelancer - a modern day tradesman of sorts?
We have, at least those of us living in a developed country, some degree of freedom about where we live, what we do and how we do it. We may not be able to have everything in our life that we wish for, but we can definitely come closer and closer over time.
Optimizing your life requires a set of decisions. Decisions about what you want. Decisions about what you don’t want. Decisions about trade-offs you are willing to make.
This post shares a few steps that you can apply to design your optimal life. I’m not trying to tell you what you should do. Instead, I’m sharing the steps that I actually took in my own life over the past few years. I’ve moved closer to a lifestyle that is fulfilling and rewarding for both my wife and I (and our dog Duke).
I know that since these steps have worked for me, that they might work for many others.
I watched The Minimalists recently. It sparked something in me that I hadn’t been thinking much about lately. After the documentary was over, I glanced around my spartan rental home and started to notice all kinds of old and useless (to me) stuff that was taking up space. Books I hadn’t touched in years. Clothes I hadn’t worn in ages. Food that we would never eat.
So began another round of purging.
I lugged three big ’ole trash bags of books I don’t need and clothes that don’t fit over to Goodwill last week. I posted a few things of value on eBay. It’s true, someone out there wants your junk! Case in point, the person who just paid $35 (+ shipping) for my 3-year old laptop messenger bag. Food-wise, we skipped going to Costco this week, opting to eat down our growing horde of staples (still working on that 20-pound bag of brown rice and pack of 20 apples).
As 2016 comes to a close, it’s the season to reflect. Now is the perfect time for a “year in review” blog post.
It’s nearly the second full year that Alison and I have been in one place, after leaving Seattle (home for 14 years) and wrapping up over a year of travel. If I had to pick a word that best represents 2016, it would be stability. We finally have reached a point where we have a stable home (albeit a rental), stable income (sorta, more on this later) and a stable and growing group of friends. All of this made us feel like Colorado was home.
I pushed my boundaries in a few areas, specifically when it comes to health and business, and hit a wall or two along the way. I frame this Year in Review against the backdrop of my wheel of life. I love the wheel of life model for setting goals since it necessitates a holistic view of one’s life. I’ve discovered that whenever progress occurs in one area, other areas are beneficially impacted. In this post are comments on what happened in each area of my personal wheel of life in 2016, and what I learned along the way.
It seems like everyone is doing it, or at least talking about wanting to do it.
Ellen, Oprah, Hugh Jackman and other famous folks praise the impact meditation has on their body and mind. Ray Dalio, widely regarded as the most successful hedge fund manner of all time, says this regarding the impact meditation has had on his life:
“When I look back at my life, I am happy to have had what most people would consider a successful life, not only regarding business but in my relationships and in lots of ways. More than anything else, I attribute it to meditation—partially because of the creativity, partly because of the centeredness. TM has given me an ability to put things in perspective, which has helped a lot. I think meditation has been the single biggest influence on my life.”
The appeal of meditation is that it is universally accessible, requires no formalized training, is free to practice and is said to alleviate many of the mysterious ills of society - including stress, anxiety, depression and a host of other disorders. People have been meditating for thousands of years, and with that kind of track record, it surely isn’t a fad.
In the modern “life hacking” era of everyone wanting a shortcut to success and happiness, meditation is the ultimate life hack.
Imagine walking into your office, meeting with your boss and telling him that you have had a good ride, but it’s time to go. You are leaving a perfectly good job on your own terms, as I did a few years ago, to live life intentionally and not unlike a vagabond.
Touring the state of Rajasthan in northern India. Thats a big fort off in the distance on the mountain top.
What sounds like kittens and rainbows, will be buttressed by the glorious stories of others who followed the same path. I’m guilty of perpetuating the one-sided story of the merits of extended travel myself.
I even went so far as to give a talk last year, to about 400 people, about why you should quit your job to travel the world.
This post is designed to be different. It’s way more enticing to tell people to “take the leap”, but few talk about the perils of doing so.
Let's take a look at a new wealth definition. Money matters, but only to a point.
The research is clear that above $75,000 USD in household income, the marginal value of additional dollars diminishes quickly.
The $75K income threshold will be more or less correct depending on family size and where you live of course. A family of five residing in San Francisco could probably make good use of a few more bucks than a single person living in rural Pennsylvania.
The overall point remains sound, however. You can be plenty happy with less income than you think.
This blog post covers my personal definition of wealth that aligns with my values, and why everyone should examine their own definition for what wealth means for them.