25 July 2009

Simplify Your Life: End Your Dependence On Stuff

I've been a huge proponent of simplifying my life by de-cluttering, open space and just doing more with less. However, having a family that did not follow my example has been an issue. I think that is about to change.

Now, I'm not perfect, but I am always looking at what I have and am doing that creates complexity and stress in my life and how I can change it. One example is my music. I am a huge music fan (check out my music blog, Hoi Polloi Music) and have a large collection of CDs and eek! cassette tapes. These are sitting in two boxes right now. However, I listen to almost all music on-line or on my MP3 player and when I looked at all those CDs I got nostalgic: 'I haven't heard this in years', 'I forgot I had that' and 'Did I really buy that?'. So I am in the process of ripping all those CDs to MP3s and storing everything on an external 750GB hard drive. I will be able to access them easier, clear up a lot of physical space and have a nice process to catalog them in an on-line Google Spreadsheet - yeah, I'm a geek. Now I can sell all the CD's I really don't need or want to keep and can keep a handful of 'classics' (e.g. Kraftwerk's Autobahn, Mile's Davis' The Birth of Cool, Grateful Dead's American Beauty). Simplicity!

This is just one example. Now back to my story. My wife saw an episode of Oprah where they put out a challenge to families to simplify. Many of the things that these families were doing hit home, since our family is guilty of several of them. The main point was that we are teaching our children to be out of control consumerists who are obsessed with 'stuff'.

Several things hit home: Buying so many groceries that many are thrown out because they expire/spoil. The buy 2 get 1 free is not a good deal if you throw out 1 or even 2. We've been guilty of buying more than we normally use because, it's a 'great deal'. Another example is buying more toys/DVDs/clothes than we use. My kids don't play with the majority of their toys, they watch a DVD once, they grow out of clothes before they ever wear them.

So how do we change? Well that's the simple part. Buy what you need and will use. Buy less processed foods. Give away toys to charity organizations, subscribe to Netfix or spend only $3.99 on a Video-On-Demand movie (low environmental impact), buy only clothes you need now and take care of the ones you have.

The hard part is committing yourself to doing it.

I really would like to know what others are doing. Please comment. Thanks. (BTW: Here are two great sites: www.unclutterer.com and www.idealbite.com)

16 July 2009

Thursday Morning Quote - July 16th

"I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be." - Douglas Adams

15 July 2009


After listening to Philip Zimbardo's talk yesterday on how our happiness and success are rooted the way we view time, I took a long look at how I look at time. I realized that my perspective of time is out of balance, which in turn is affecting my own success and happiness.

I have begun to look at things and think about what is the best way to handle it: look to the past and take action based on that, look at the present and take action to get immediate satisfaction or results, or look to the future, look at the risk of action now versus last or no action, what addition benefit would I get by waiting or changing course now.

Now, this is not to say that I have become a calculated automaton. I am human and act based on emotions and feelings, but I have tried to add a bit of thought into it and more importantly, to be more self-reflective than before so that I can build up a 'library of results' to use as a template for future decisions.

14 July 2009

A Healthy Take On Time

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says happiness and success are rooted in a trait most of us disregard: the way we orient toward the past, present and future. He suggests we calibrate our outlook on time as a first step to improving our lives.

13 July 2009

Monday Morning Quote - July 13th

"I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person." - Rita Mero

12 July 2009

Time Out

Everyone needs a time out. Not the kind where you are in trouble and need to sit in a corner. I mean the kind where you take time for yourself. Remove all distractions and just relax and clear you mind.

I know, you've got things to do, places to be, yadda yadda yadda. But if you don't take a small amount of time to free your mind you will wear out. We are bombarded all day long. Bombarded by people needing things, bombarded by advertising on TV, radio, internet, billboard - we may ignore it, but our brains still need to process and filter it out. Bombarded by the thoughts of everything we need to get done.

Even in sleep, our brains seem to be working. Having dreams to help us sort out the day, 'work-mares' about things at work, relationship issues, etc. We need to find a small amount of time to give it a break.

I know, you don't have time, or I can't clear my mind, or any other reason. But remember, you need to take care of you and you mind is something that you can't neglect.

11 July 2009

Even More Things That Drive Me Nuts

It's been awhile since I ranted about things that drive me nuts. This doesn't mean the list done. People have the infinite capacity to do thing that annoy others. I'm pretty level-headed and accepting, but there are still things that get me going. Feel free to reply with the things that drive you nuts. Here we go.
1. People who water more of their driveway than their lawn. Don't you know that Southern California is in the middle of a water shortage?
2. When a television station plays the same commercial during every commercial break and will sometime show it twice during a single break. This is why I DVR shows (sorry advertisers).
3. When you ask someone a question, they give you long-winded answer but never really answer the question. Bonus if they get annoyed with you for pointing that out to them.
4. Warning Parental Rant: Parents who give their three year soda. There is nothing good in it for them and only things that can hurt them. Do you really want that much sugar and caffeine in your toddler? I actually saw a woman pour a can of coke into a kid's sippy cup for him. Sigh.
5. People who take up two parking spots. If you don't want you car near another cars because you are afraid of getting scratch or ding, park at the end of the lot and walk.

OK, I will go meditate, find my center and reconnect with my inner peace.

09 July 2009

Thursday Morning Quote - July 9th

"Unless you change how you are,you will always have what you've got." - Jim Rohn

06 July 2009

Monday Morning Quote

"Love yourself, for who and what you are; protect your dream and develop your talent to the fullest extent." - Joan Benoit Samuelson

04 July 2009

Happy Birthday America

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July. While enjoying the holiday, remember what we are celebrating. We enjoy our freedoms today because of the determination and foresight of our founding father and continue to enjoy them because of the determination and foresight of the American people since.

02 July 2009

Thursday Morning Quote - July 2nd

"The only good luck many great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck." - Channing Pollock