SLR 090: Subtract to Add

Simple Life Reboot Josh Hawaiin SunsetAs many of the readers of Simple Life Reboot know, our journey to a simpler, more fulfilling life, began in the Spring of 2013. (see:  The Trip that Changed Everything)

But before we “changed everything”, the over-arching feeling had been that we never had enough, enough money, enough time, enough of anything.  Our solution had always been to work longer hours, make more money, get ahead of what we owed, get ahead of everything we needed, and stay ahead.  What we discovered, however, was that the faster we rushed to stay ahead, the more our obligations and demands outpaced us.  Clearly, we were not achieving anything close to the life we intended.  But why?

It would take a change of attitude to find the solution.

Do We Settle for Less?

We always thought we could solve any problem without giving up anything.  After all, you never give up anything to get the next thing, right?  If you want something, you find a way to make it work without surrendering to a position of LESS.  To surrender is to lose, to submit to an opponent.  Our opponent in this case – the settling for less.

But thinking deeper, and longer, about our desires, our true desires, left us realizing something profound.

True Desires

What we had really been surrendering to was our pride, our refusal to let go of the appearance of success.  What we really desired was not a big house, and lots of stuff, but a loving relationship with our family and friends.  Suddenly, the threads of abundance that had been holding our little party together began unraveling before our eyes, but not because it was beyond our control.  Quite the contrary.  We were doing the unraveling, ourselves, intentionally selling our big house, holding garage sales to dispense with 85 percent of our possessions, freeing ourselves from “appearances”, in order to reach for true success, the kind of success that values people ahead of things.

Ask anyone who has done this, who has deliberately gotten rid of most of the stuff they have accumulated over the years, and they will describe the feeling as – “liberating!”

Adopting the simplicity lifestyle really just comes down to this:  the reduction and subtraction of the unnecessary trappings of life so that you can focus on the really important things, like relationships and life experiences.

Do not let pride keep you chasing after the wrong things!

Subtract the obstacles from your life that do not contribute to your true desires, and take a deep breath.  You will have more room to maneuver, to be nimble (see:  The Value of Nimble), with the necessary resources, time, energy, and creativity, to contribute to those around you.

Stop chasing after the wrong things for the wrong reasons, and begin moving toward your true desires, and know that it is not the stuff we acquire that makes us happy, but life, itself.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SLR 089: Own Your Work

simple life reboot“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” – Abigail van Buren

My Uncle Russ once told me about a neighbor who sent his son over to ask if he could wash his car.  My uncle told the boy he would pay him $5, but the boy declined, saying his father paid him $20 per wash.  When the boy got older and went to apply for his first job, he could not find an employer who would pay him what he thought he was worth. He eventually became a drug dealer and a thief.  The last my uncle heard, the boy was in prison.

The father of the young man had set an unreasonable expectation…convincing his son that he was entitled to an enhanced reward for his labor. I suspect the man created unrealistic expectations in other areas of his son’s life, as well.  He probably meant well.  Maybe he thought his son needed a boost in ego, but of all the things we want to encourage in our children, inflated pride, or a sense of entitlement, is not one of them.  We should never confuse inflated self-pride with hard-earned self-confidence.  Self-confidence is an attribute that is earned.  It grows naturally over time from having gained the knowledge and experience.

Encourage your children to do regular chores around the house.  You might choose to compensate some extracurricular chores with a small amount of money, while most chores, you can explain, are to be done as a contributing member of the household.

Teach your children to focus on the job at hand.  It is the work that matters, not the monetary reward from having done the work.

The Big Picture

When giving your child work to do, give them the big picture of what needs to be done.  For example, “the lawn needs to be kept green”, or “this area needs to be picked up”, etc., but tell them that how they accomplish the job is up to them.  If they have any questions, or need some help, they can ask, but the job belongs to them.  They are the boss.  Once or twice a week you will walk the job with them to see how they are doing.

I like Stephen Covey’s “green and clean” principle from his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.  See “green and clean“.

There are “methods” we learn over time to do certain jobs, but if you offer your child too much help, or supervise too closely, with specific instructions, you stifle their sense of “owning the job”, their independence and sense of accomplishment.  The benefit they might derive from learning “the method” of doing the job a certain way, will in large measure be lost when you take control, because they no longer feel invested in the job.   Sit back and observe, unseen.  Watch how they do the job, and don’t interrupt, even when you know you could show them a faster, better, more efficient way to do it.

At these early stages of teaching your child to work, they need to feel it is their job, not yours with them doing it.  At this point all you want to do is set a reasonably high expectation that the job will be done thoroughly and completely, i.e., “no part of the lawn missed,” or, “everything picked up and things put in their proper place,” etc.  If they can accomplish the job doing it their way, leave them alone for now to do it.  If they do a good job, praise them.  If they miss something, calmly point it out and set the clear expectation of completing the job.  Encourage them to always finish strong.

There will be time later to ask them if they’d like a tip on how they could do a specific thing better in the job they do.  They can choose to accept your advice, or decline it.  If they want to be shown “the method” of doing something a certain way, then show them only that one thing, even if you know you could show them so much more.  If they ask you to show them more, do so.  Let them figure out as much as they can on their own.  By doing this you will build independence, confidence, resourcefulness, and a pride of ownership in a job well done.

Owning the Work

The emphasis should always be on “owning” the work, not on what they will get once the work is done.  As a practical matter, we all must work for compensation at some point, but if taught at an early age that the work, itself, is the valuable thing, regardless of the kind of work it is, then you have done your job as parent.  This work “ethic” should transfer to other areas, as well, like gaining knowledge studying in school.

If your children learn these lessons with loving guidance, you will have taught them so much more than the subject of work.  You will have taught them how to guide others, having been guided well by you.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

 

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

 

 

SLR 088: The 7 Deadly Sins and Simplicity

simplelifereboot.comDaily we stand against the tide, the relentless negative forces of human nature that work to bring us down.  The challenge to be better, and do better, is never ending, and ever present, in each of our lives.

How do the 7 deadly sins; wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony, play against the simplicity lifestyle?  Does living with simplicity make it easier, or harder, to keep these hosts of misery at bay?

1. WRATH

The simplicity movement is all about ridding ourselves of life’s clutter to make room for that which matters most.  Whether that clutter comes in the form of debt, or a junk pile blocking access to the backyard, it’s all about zeroing in on those things that are getting in the way, the things that are keeping us from living the life we should be living.

When we proactively scan our environment for what needs to be removed, or what needs to change, we take control of the things we can control by engaging in an intentional editing process.

The Editing Process

Years ago, at a time when I owned and operated a couple of restaurants, I faced mounting insurance costs due to a funding crisis in our state’s worker’s compensation system.  Many businesses, including my own, had been thrown into a high risk insurance pool, causing costs to triple.  I decided to not let my frustration and “anger” keep me from doing what was within my control.  By focusing on the essentials and ridding our operations of lesser practices, we moved to a higher level of operation and received an award for having the best improved worker-safety record in the state.

Through the process, I learned that in order to move from “wrath” to a place where one can make needed changes, the following “get” steps are necessary:

1) “Get over” any sense of “unfairness” and focus all energy on the solution;
2) “Get creative” in developing strategies to achieve the desired result; and
3) “Get on” with taking needed action.

Humility is in order here, since nobody can control all circumstances.  But we can control the degree to which we take action to cause or prevent things from blocking access to our goals and a better life.

The 1st deadly sin, Wrath, is an emotion that is impossible to sustain when we accept responsibility for our actions.  Since anger most often arises from feeling a loss of personal control and power, taking action is the antidote, but only if we remain humble, and remember that there is a higher power than what we, alone, possess.

Action and Humility

When we combine acts of intentional living and personal humility, we are rewarded with a clearer perspective of purpose, which is to love and care for others.

Acting with intention, a cornerstone of the simplicity lifestyle, de-fangs the ugly wrath-monster that lurks inside us all.

2. GREED

The more we become focused on the essentials, the things that truly enrich our lives, the more we discover that the material acquisitions and status symbols we once chased after shrink in comparison to the more important things, like relationships.

As we practice intentional living, and move away from the need to acquire, we realize that it is our actions and relationships that define us, not the things we own.  It’s so true, that service, contentment and gratitude abound in relationships, not in stuff.

Greed and simplicity exist on opposite ends of the life-behaviors spectrum.  When we actively seek one, we adversely impact the other.

3. SLOTH

There are no lazy people pursuing the simplicity lifestyle. Simplicity requires intention, action, and follow-through.  Simplicity folks are not lounging back letting important work go undone.  If and when we lounge, it is not to avoid work, but to celebrate the work that has been done by enjoying a still moment, a quiet reflection, a shared meal, and a simple conversation.

4. PRIDE

Having suffered this particular deadly sin my entire life, I can tell you that having a high opinion of yourself can be damaging when it is not also coupled with a recognition of your deep personal flaws.
We human beings are laughably prideful.  I say laughably, because it becomes comical, in a tragic sense, to imagine an emotion that serves us less authentically, or causes more damage.

Over time we can become impressed with ourselves, so much so that we actually ignore reality.
When was the last time you changed your mind about something you once knew to be true?  Think about it – if everything we believe to be true is actually true, we would be truth machines, walking around absorbing the world in perfect order, with perfect memories, and perfect understanding.  Since none of us is perfect, then our perceptions must at some level be flawed.

But….

…it is interesting that when we make up our minds about something, not only do we establish our perceptions as permanent reality, we immediately begin setting up roadblocks to challenge any future change to those perceptions.  Our willingness to accept new evidence, and change our minds, diminishes over time. In fact, the longer we hold our beliefs, the less flexible we become.

Our attitudes and perceptions could be described as a wagon wheel that has slipped into a rut.  Once there, it fits comfortably into its little niche, and turns happily along.   It takes significantly less effort to stay with the usual, than to try out new, bumpy ground.

But the problem with staying in the rut is that we are more likely to become complacent, smug, and self-satisfied.  We convince ourselves that what we know, and who we are, is accurate, made so by perfectly formed knowledge.  When presented with evidence to the contrary, it is not our own perceptions we question, but the validity of the source of the new evidence.

Even when we are clearly shown the better route, a route that gets us closer to the truth, it is too late for the prideful.  The prideful would rather reject a new and better approach than alter the long-established dogma they have embraced.

Simplicity Challenges the Norm

The simplicity philosophy caused me to rethink everything, but what first led me to even consider simplicity as an alternative to my long-established norm ?

Quite simply, my wagon wheel began crashing up against the rut wall enough times to make me finally question whether the rut was indeed a good fit.  The point is, once I was willing to drive out of the rut, what became clear to me was that the rut had kept me complacent way too long.

Once out of the rut, however, I began looking at the assumptions I had held over time.  My most fundamental beliefs about God were not shaken, but believing I had all the answers about life definitely were.

Simplicity celebrates life not within the context of the things we accumulate, which are temporary, but within the context of the relationships we foster, which last forever.

Simplicity does not kill pride, but it does dampen its harmful effects.  Recognition that we fall short, that we don’t deserve everything we might fancy, and that we will have to let go of things at times, is a humbling but affirming process.

5. LUST

Lust occurs when we allow our baser impulses to go unchecked.

Simplicity forces us to acknowledge our fallen nature, and to come face-to-face with urges that no amount of engine power, lipstick or home decor can paper over.

Each of us choose every day whether we practice habits that lead to a positive life, or habits that lead to a degradation of our life.  In the case of lust, relationships are damaged if not destroyed.

Lust relies upon imagination; the fantasy our mind creates of a pleasure we desire. Lust snowballs as we entertain the fantasy over time.  If we entertain the fantasy long enough, what we imagine we desire transforms into some form of action that is taken.  When we act on our lust, we relinquish self-control and enslave ourselves to our baser instincts.

The pleasure we experience from acting on lust is at best temporary.  In contrast, the damage done is likely permanent. Furthermore, we weaken the very self-control “muscle” that we need to overcome the other deadly sins.

In contrast to lust, simplicity helps us focus on activities that strengthen us  and reinforces the foundation upon which our moral selves flourish.

Lust and the Effect of Simplicity

1) Simplicity makes us re-evaluate the things that make us content;
2) Simplicity enables us to rethink what we desire;
3) Simplicity causes our desires to come into alignment with reality;
4) Simplicity makes us want to be less self-centered, and more charitable to others; and
5) Simplicity encourages us to deal with the true problems of life.

The simplicity lifestyle is more complimentary to our higher selves, as we become tempered by a deeper contemplation of what gives life meaning. (See e.g.:  The 4 Zones of Intention)

6. ENVY

It has been shown that the excitement we feel as we anticipate acquiring something we desire is much more intense than the satisfaction we feel after having acquired it.  In other words, once we have acquired the thing we desire, the increase in our happiness quotient is negligible.  We feel more pleasure from the anticipation, than from the acquisition, itself.

Perhaps the trick is to understand the impulse, and to overcome it by remaining focused on our long term goal.  Maybe you want to be out of debt, or to pay off a mortgage, to have funds to travel, to embark on a creative or educational endeavor; or to generously assist family members.

By focusing on the important things we want to accomplish, envy takes a back seat.

5 ways in which simplicity kills envy:

1)  When people are valued above things;
2)  When you are less likely to feel you are missing something you desire;
3)  When you are responsible for what you own;
4)  When you are not responsible for what others own; and
5)  When you value peace and contentment above fleeting acquisitions.

Having what we need in life is better than wanting what we do not have for all the wrong reasons.

7. GLUTTONY

There is no deadly sin that more represents the opposite of simplicity than gluttony.
Gluttony occurs when we consume beyond satiation, with little regard for the amount we are consuming or why we are consuming it.

The consuming occurs for the sake of the consumption itself, not to achieve anything more than the feeling of “taking in” or “using” the thing that we desire.

STAND AGAINST THE TIDE

The 7 deadly sins are a form of self-idolatry, an ageless warning against the narcissism of the time.

Simplicity does not make me, or anyone else, immune from human failing.  I believe it does, however, change our focus, from needing more to needing less, to being truly grateful and content.

Simplicity makes it more likely that we will draw upon the deep well of life and find satisfaction in owning fewer things while giving more of ourselves away.

The Good News….

You can stop being controlled by negative things.  Assert yourself in a positive manner.  Do not look back and wish things had been different.  Do not regret what you cannot change, but also, do not let another day go by without making  changes you know you need to make.  Regretting and bemoaning the past is a waste of precious time.  Do not wallow in what you cannot change, but act on your future today.

Develop a plan, and take action now!   Your life depends upon it!

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This post was first published on SimpleLifeReboot.com.

SLR 087: The “Perspective” Benefit

Simple Life Reboot

Butchart Gardens Victoria, B.C.

Sheryl and I recently took a trip to Victoria, B.C., to wipe the cobwebs off our dashboard GPS map, and to fulfill one of the original intentions of our embracing simplicity almost two years ago, now.

For those who are not familiar with our story, it was that first trip down the California coastline back in May of 2013, that spurred the changes in our lives, the selling of our over-sized home, the elimination of 85 percent of our belongings, and the start of this blog, Simple Life Reboot, which has allowed us to share our decision, and our journey, with all of you.  (See, The Trip That Changed Everything)

The recent trip to Victoria included many of the same aspects of the California trip, minus the life-changing revelations.  Hanging out in Victoria did not bring about a sudden awareness that something needed to be changed in our lives, but rather helped confirm the changes that we’ve made, the simplicity lifestyle we have embraced, has been working.

The Necessary Ingredient

But there seems to be a specific ingredient that must be present in the extended trips we take (more than 3 days) for the full “perspective” benefit to be realized.  See if you can identify the common ingredient from the list below.

1)  Travel unfamiliar territory

2)  Stay overnight in an unfamiliar place

3)  Speak with many unfamiliar people

4)  See many unfamiliar things

5)  Hear many unfamiliar voices

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with returning to that familiar place that acts as a balm to your soul;  that cabin on the beach, that meandering river through the forest, or mountain trail that slips behind the waterfall.  Return there…and be soothed.  (see, Deep Living in a Shallow World)

But if you are in the mood for something new, experiencing unfamiliar territory does not so much soothe, as it informs.  It forces the brain to recalculate.  The internal map of ourselves automatically compares what it is presently experiencing to what it has just left behind.  The positive or negative aspect of the new experience is not so much the key ingredient, but that the experience is unfamiliar.

Certainly, traveling away from home for a time can be beneficial whether the destination is familiar or not, but for Sheryl and I, going someplace new is like being let out on recess, whereas the cabin on the beach feels more like God giving you a hug.

A Refreshed View of Your Life

If you desire to gain a refreshed view of your life, travel someplace unfamiliar for an extended stay, a place where all the blanks are not already filled in.  The brain will be forced to pay attention, and by being in the moment, attentive to your surroundings, you will re-discover the significance of the path from whence you came – aka “perspective”.

 

 

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

SLR 086: Walk To Run!

Simple Life Reboot

Sheryl crossing the finish line at the 2002 Ironman Canada

It happens every year about this time, mid-way through January, after the holiday meals and desserts have fully accreted and solidified in the form of “love” handles.

Now comes the not-so-glamorous work of unpacking the storage shed, of taking off the extra pounds that have accumulated over the past couple of months, and getting back on track to be in better shape than ever this year – 2015.

If you are wanting to get in better shape, or are starting back after taking a break, we recommend a walk/run program, to strengthen tendons, ligaments, and muscle, in preparation for a run program.

Why Running Is The Goal

It is said that walking can be nearly as good for you as running, but since running is more rigorous, it maximizes aerobic conditioning in minimum time.  With a smart, gradual routine, executed over a period of time, you can prepare your body to perform at higher levels.

I cannot claim to be a fitness expert, but I am a fitness “enthusiast”.  I enjoy getting in shape, and when you get to be my age (56), that becomes a never-ending challenge.

Three Basic Rules of Good Fitness

Rest, Diet, Exercise

REST

1)  Go to bed early.

2)  Do not spend an hour staring at a bright screen on your phone or tablet before turning out the lights.

3)  Get a solid 7-8 hours sleep every night.

4)  Choose at least one day per week to NOT exercise.

DIET

A well-balanced diet is needed to support our body’s fitness.

Regarding Weight-Loss

For smart, maximum weight loss, we like a high protein diet, with a calorie to protein ratio of 10/1.  Example:  a 200 calorie meal has approx. 20 grams of protein.  And if this ratio exists, the product must, by necessity, be low in sugar and fat.

When we are attempting to lose weight, we eat small meals of around 200 calories, 6-8 times per day.  Eating smaller meals, more frequently, speeds our metabolism.

EXERCISE

The following routine sets forth the basics of a walk-to-run program which is both enjoyable and sustainable long term.

SET A TIME – ESTABLISH A ROUTINE

Walk every morning, whether you feel like it or not.  It takes about three weeks to establish a new habit.  Get up early and START, go slow, and go short.

WHY WORKOUT EARLY?

If it is always the first thing we do, we find it is easier to remain focused and committed.  We do the workout automatically when we get up, and so it gets done before daily distractions can interfere.

WALK

Start by walking a short distance.  The distance and/or difficulty is not your goal at this point.  You are simply establishing the habit of getting up and getting out.  You are telling the body it is time to get strong.  You are laying a foundation, strengthening ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles, and preparing the body for the next level of training.

WALK-TO-RUN

We have found the “walk-to-run” fitness principle to be the most effective way to return to fitness after a long, or short, hiatus.

You should plan to walk a set distance every morning.  One morning per week, plan to increase the regular distance by 25 percent, then take one rest day.

In the following week, return to the shorter walk, but with an increase in distance of 10-15 percent.  Your long-walk day is still a 25 percent increase, but as you can see, your distance gradually increases week by week, increasing your endurance.

As you progress, begin to add run sections.  For instance, a section could be from one lamppost to another.  Starting out, the ratio could be 5:1, five sections walked for each one ran.  As your fitness improves, the ratio shifts from walking to running, for example 1:5.  Your training has become a RUN-TO-WALK routine, where walking simply becomes a brief scheduled rest interval during your run.

ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO TRAIN WITH YOU

It is always better to work out with a partner, for the support, and to help each other stay accountable.

STAY MOTIVATED – REGISTER FOR AN UPCOMING EVENT

One way to stay motivated is to register for an upcoming athletic event.

Sheryl and I have our sights set on Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare this year (2015), and would be delighted to enter our family running team into next year’s Hood to Coast race – 2016.

KEEP US UPDATED ON YOUR PROGRESS!

We encourage you to get fit. Share the steps you are taking in our COMMENTS section.  We can all learn from each other.

Happy Training Everyone – 2015!

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

The Family In Focus

simple life reboot Disneyworld

Simple Life Reboot posts will happily resume January 15th, 2015.

As Sheryl and I focus on our family over the next few weeks, we sincerely wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

SLR 085: Topics to Avoid at Christmas

simple life reboot christmasThis Christmas, when you gather with family and friends, remember that it is not about pretense or appearance.  Love everyone as they are, just as you are loved by God, who came among us to make things right.

Focus on the needs of others.  Give your loved ones what they need from you, – a hug, an affirmation that they are doing well, your attention, an encouraging nod.

There is usually plenty to talk about when family and friends get together to celebrate Christmas, but try to AVOID these topics to assure everyone enjoys a peaceful and relaxing day.

Religion

Seriously, Christmas is not about religion. It’s about the birth of the Savior for those who believe, and for those who do not, it’s about peace, love, and kinship among family and friends.  Do not compare your religious views with those of your guests.

Politics

Relationships are more important than who is right or wrong in their politics.  Keep your socioeconomic political philosophy to yourself this visit.  You will astound everyone with your gracious good humor.

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Sheryl and I would like to wish everyone this holiday season a peaceful Merry Christmas!

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

SLR 084: The Hidden Gift

simple life reboot“The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sheryl and I love Christmas.

For those of us who have discovered the value of the simple and minimalist lifestyle, the gift-giving portion of the holiday has become less important…to a degree.  The concept of gift-giving is beautiful, but for many at Christmas time it has become more about the gift and less about the giving.

But there is a gift that can be given that is unique, and can fulfill a heartfelt need in the person receiving it.

The Gift

The gift is love, but amazingly, expressing that love may be harder than we think.  In fact, the love we intend to express may actually remain hidden from view, until we begin to understand what it is our loved one needs from us to feel loved.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages“, what makes one person feel loved is not necessarily the same thing that makes another person feel loved.  I find this concept – how love is perceived – to be fascinating, because it defines love from the receiving end, rather than the giving end.  Love is not a monolithic, well-defined, unchanging emotion that pours forth to be absorbed and appreciated equally by anyone in its wake.  Love occurs when the receiver feels understood and affirmed, based upon actions the giver of love has intentionally taken.

Dr. Chapman discovered over years of relationship counseling, that the things people complained about in their relationships, the things they felt they were not getting, basically fell into one of five categories.  Dr. Chapman named these categories…

The Five Love Languages

1)  Words of Affirmation
2)  Acts of Service
3)  Receiving Gifts
4)  Quality Time
5)  Physical Touch

What is your primary love language?

We each have a primary love language.  Perhaps you feel most loved when you receive words of affirmation, or when a loved one takes care of the chores without being prodded, like mowing the lawn or doing the dishes.  Maybe you feel most loved when gifts are given, or when your loved one takes the time to spend quality moments with you.  Perhaps it is a tender touch that best expresses love and caring toward you.

What is the primary love language of your loved one?

Whatever your primary love language, it is perhaps more important to know the primary love language of the person you intend to express love to, so that you better understand what they need from you in order to feel loved and cared for?

So, the hidden gift is that thing you can give to another, that makes them feel loved.

Do you know the primary love language of your loved ones, what they need from you to feel loved and cared for?

This Christmas, consider giving the hidden gift, the one that surpasses all other gifts, because this one lasts a life time, and makes everything else we do make sense.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

SLR 083: Giving Thanks!

Simple Life Reboot

Giving Grandma a hug at graduation

“There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.” – O. Henry

I give thanks to God and Country, for without God, I would have no life, and without America, I would have no liberty.

I GIVE THANKS

…to AMERICA

Consider for a moment the absence of America from the world. How thankful I am for a nation that secures our liberty. The idea that a human being should be left alone by its government to live his or her life is not an unreasonable expectation, but it is a condition that is less common in the world than it should be.

“Thanksgiving, our eminent moral holiday, doesn’t have much for children. At its heart are conversation, food, drink, and fellowship – all perks of adulthood.” – Rosecrans Baldwin

…to OUR MILITARY VETERANS

I also give thanks for America’s Veterans, who serve honorably every day to protect us, our nation and its sovereignty, its sacred honor, its right to exist peaceably. Without the daily commitment and sacrifice by our Veterans, our nation would not long endure.

…and to GOD

And consider for a moment the absence of God from our lives, from the world, and you realize the utter darkness within which all suffering in this life would endure.

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On September 28, 1863, a 74-year old magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.”

Shortly thereafter, on October 3rd, 1863, the President declared a Proclamation of Thanksgiving, a small portion of which reads as follows:

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

 

 

SLR 082: Life Is Not A Race!

Simple Life Reboot“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” – Saint Augustine

When it comes to our work, there is nothing wrong with hustle.  I believe that highly productive people are to be admired.  When it comes to life in general, however, it is of great value to yourself, and to others, to establish a more relaxed, consistent rhythm.

Life is not a race!

But still…

When I stand in line at the grocery store, I choose the shortest line.  After I have chosen it, I still look at how fast the other lines are moving in relation to my own. I become unhappy if the longer line next to my own moves faster?

AND…

When I’m driving on the Interstate, I automatically pass the next vehicle ahead of me, and feel a sense of satisfaction once I’ve gone by, believing I will beat them to where they are going, even though they started out three hours before me and have a hundred miles further to go.

We live in a world that is competitive, but I think at times I lose perspective on when and where I need to be competitive.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt

In any endeavor outside an actual race, where all participants begin on an equal footing, it is folly to compare your position at any given time to that of others.  Trying to measure success or standing based on the success or standing of others is a mistake, and here is why.

Comparing one human being to another can never be remotely accurate due to the fundamental truth of how unique each of us are.  When it comes to things like motivation, innate ability in a given area, personal determination, where we started out in “the race”, how far we have come, or even the definition of success, measurement becomes meaningless.

“Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.” – C. S. Lewis

I think Joshua Becker said it best in his blog post, “A Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others,” when he spoke of the “infinite number of categories upon which we can compare ourselves and an almost infinite number of people to compare ourselves to.”  Indeed, where does it end, once we begin comparing “the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others”?

Let’s be competitive in our work, but gracious in our living.

If you enter an actual race, race to win!  But as for life, let us not be fooled by the appearance of success, or trip over the folly of comparisons.  We are each unique in who and where we are in life.  Celebrate the effort made by others, as you continue along your own path.

And never forget…

“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” – Kevin Spacey

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com