SLR 066: The Designed Life of Michael Hyatt

Simple Life Reboot

Armosa Studios / WDS 2014

Sheryl and I have been influenced by a number of extraordinary thinkers on the subject of simplifying your life

to focus on what is important.  One person who has inspired us is Michael Hyatt , author of “Platform”, and online entrepreneur, who spoke recently at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

Default Approaches

Michael’s talk entitled, “The Designed Life”, described three ways people often approach life.  There is the person who wanders along, letting life happen to him, the Drifting Life.  Then, there is the individual who prides himself on his ability to work harder, the Driven Life, often sacrificing relationships and other priorities.  The Driven Life status symbol is exhaustion.

Unfortunately, both of these approaches are more reactionary than intentional. Michael Hyatt went on to explain that living the “drifting” or “driven” life amounts to living life by default, letting circumstances dictate the result, limiting us and our legacy.

Designed Life

Michael went on to describe a better approach that he called, “The Designed Life”.  He described how critical it is that we be intentional about our life choices. This theme is fleshed out in Michael’s free e-book Creating Your Personal Life Plan, in which he states:

“…most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than they spend planning their life”.


We are all so caught up in appearances, the kind of car we drive, how large of a house we live in, that we lose sight of the big picture.  According to Michael, what we should be asking ourselves is

  • “How will I be remembered?”
  • “What is really important to me?”
  •  “What single brave decision do I need to make today?”

These are questions that if asked, lead us to ponder what our impact is upon others, and in the pondering, to begin to act with more intention.

“The Designed Life” is a life that is not wasted, not hurried, and not selfish.  It is the life we were put here to live out.

At the end of his talk, Michael asked the audience, “How are you doing with what you have been given?

It’s one of those questions each of us already knows the answer to, almost without thinking.  The answer is different for each of us, and no one can answer for another.

Michael Hyatt was a joy to listen to.  He left the audience in Irene Schnitzer auditorium with two final thoughts.

“Life is a gift.”   &   “Do what matters!”


Originally posted on


Simple Life Reboot

Armosa Studios / WDS 2014

Sometimes the unexpected will test and grow you (and perhaps your audience as well).  This video is a cell phone recording of a “rap” I performed at the 2014 World Domination Summit. Please read about the experience in SLR 065 “What Are You Afraid Of?

SLR 065: What Are You Afraid Of?

Simple Life Reboot

Armosa Studios / WDS 2014

There was no forewarning.  One moment I was happily standing with two other summit attendees.  The next,  I was struggling to maintain my composure, holding back an overwhelming urge to cry, scream, and vomit.

It all started innocently enough.  Dave and I were attending the World Domination Summit.  As big Amazing Race fans,  we were thrilled to learn that WDS had an activity known as the Unconventional Race.  In between extraordinary speakers and meet-ups,  we raced around Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.,  solving puzzles and visiting unusual venues.  It was a blast!

Fear As Self-Limiting

A recurring theme at the summit was overcoming self-limiting behavior.  A number of speakers urged us to imagine what we could accomplish if we were not afraid.  I was intrigued.   The more I thought about it,  the more I realized that my fear of losing status in the eyes of others continued to impede my  progress towards a simpler, priority driven life.

Perhaps overlooking the obvious,  I made no connection between “facing self-limiting fears”  and participating in the Unconventional Race.  The race was simply a fun companion activity.

Not So Much Fun Any More

It all changed shortly before the awards ceremony.  It was then that we learned that the 3 finalists would be performing a rap in the tradition of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.   As a reserved, middle-aged attorney with no musical skills or swagger,  I could not think of anything more mortifying.

What Are You Afraid Of?

If I had had any doubt as to what I was afraid of,  being asked to perform a rap in front of 2,500+ people brought it all into perfect focus.

I was terrified of being a “joke”,  someone who is “less than”, someone to be pitied or looked down upon.  I not only wanted to achieve,  I wanted others to recognize my achievements and respect me all the more.

How could I step onto stage and make a fool of myself?

This I Know

I would like to tell you that I knocked it out of the park, overcame my fears and had a life-changing  experience – but such was not the case.  What I can tell you is this….to have refused to perform would have served no purpose other than protecting my ego.

I made it through the experience by telling myself that performing the rap would be my way of honoring the volunteers who had made WDS possible.  Besides,  this rationale sounded much nobler than the simple fact that I could not think of any graceful or face-saving way of refusing to perform.

As it turned out, some of the audience might have enjoyed my performance, some might have been amused by the musical train wreck,  and some might have thought less of me.  In any event, I survived.


Thank you for letting me share this experience with you.  Please join me in this challenge: Let’s do our level best to honor others and our priorities… even if it reduces us in the eyes of others.

(… and if you would like to view a cell phone recording of my “rap”, please see it by clicking here. )



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SLR 064: The Longings of Our Heart

Simple Life Reboot Grandpuppy JaxWhat things do we need from others to feel our life has worth?

The answer to that question informs us about why material treasures so inadequately satisfy our most basic emotional needs.

Three emotional reservoirs are required in order to be happy.  They are the longings of our heart…

…to be known

…to be needed

…and to be loved

It is what a father needs from his children.  It is what a child needs from their father.  It is what a wife needs from her husband, and a husband from his wife.

Man needs nothing less from his Creator, but often searches for answers in the wrong places.

Certainly, our Creator desires nothing less from each of us, that we…

…know Him

…need Him

…and love Him

But too often we do not know Him because we do not seek to know.  We need Him only when it is convenient for us, and we fail to love Him as we seek first to be loved.

It is a self-centered approach, one that we all too often utilize with each other, as well.  I am convinced it is the underlying reason why many of us remain habitually unsatisfied throughout our lives.

Give it away, and receive abundantly in return.

Seek to know your son and daughter, and they will seek to know you.

Be vulnerable with your loved ones and recognize the enrichment they offer to your own life, and that you need them, and they will in time recognize the ways in which they need you, as well.

Be kind and loving to those around you, and find that with time they will love you with a more caring and open nature.

The longings of our heart will be answered when we realize that what we need from others they first need from us.

So, be the first to give.

“…whatever you did for the least among you, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40

SLR 063: Reclaim Downsizing as a Powerful Tool for Positive Life Change

Simple Life RebootIt’ s time to reclaim downsizing as an empowering  practice.  For far too long,  downsizing has been understood to be a process of decline whereby individuals were forced to make undesirable lifestyle changes due to the loss of  employment, relationship or health.

While the initial  impetus may be an involuntary loss,  “downsizing” itself,   if done mindfully,  is a positive.  In fact, if  done well, downsizing is one of the most powerful tools we have for making positive life changes.

Downsizing for New Life

The starting point is to recognize that downsizing is life-affirming.   The natural world is full of examples.  A mammal goes into a den to give birth.   A snake slithers through a small space to shed a dead skin.   A caterpillar forms a cocoon to transition into a butterfly.

In the human context,  positive  life changes often involve downsizing.    For example, many children start sharing a bedroom when a new brother or sister arrives.   A college student moves  into a dorm room to obtain an education.   A grandparent moves to a smaller home to be near the grandchildren.  Downsizing is not a punishment or a failing,  but rather an intentional accommodation for something or someone more important.

Downsizing to Focus on the Essentials

In a sports context,  an athlete wanting to advance to the next level will periodically limit his or her training to the sport’s fundamentals.  Focusing on the essentials permits the athlete to perfect skills.  Improvement from minor tweaks at the basic level are then multiplied in the more complex skills.

Strategic downsizing gives us a similar opportunity to revisit the most important elements of our lives.  It helps us sort the essential from the chaff.  It helps us to leverage that which provides the most benefit.

Downsizing for New Opportunities

For many,  the hurdle to downsizing is the reluctance to let go of possessions.  Perhaps the process is more palatable if we remember that we are editing items that detract from our new life.  Ancient Latin speakers had it right when they described such property as “impedimenta”,  which loosely translated,  means property which impedes one’s progress.

Opportunities abound for those willing to downsize.  Downsizing frees up time and resources. You can accept that dream urban  job if  you are willing to live in a smaller space.  You can dramatically improve your finances if you spend less on housing, utilities, repairs, and furnishings with the smaller space.  You can travel if you were not overwhelmed by a mortgage payment. You will have more time, resources and energy for family, fitness, entrepreneurial, creative and fun endeavors if  you decrease that spent on a larger space.

Instead of lamenting the sunk costs associated with letting go of the  “old”  in order to downsize,   we should focus on the incredible opportunities we will miss if we do not downsize.

The tool is as powerful and positive as we choose to make it.   Consider if downsizing makes sense for you.   Please share your thoughts in the Simple Life Reboot comments section.


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SLR 062: Cultivate Your Passion…With Margin!

Simple Life RebYou hear a lot of people talking these days about following your passion.  Too often this advice includes dropping everything to go after that one thing in life that “fulfills” you.  But what effect does “dropping everything”  have on the people who depend on you?

Following your passion is not something we advocate here at Simple Life Reboot.  We do, however, encourage you to adopt habits and principles that make it more likely you will cultivate your passion.  It’s why we talk so much about margin, …  but more about that in a moment.

What exactly does follow your passion mean?  Think about it, to follow something is to let it be in control.  It leads you.

In a recent exchange between Joshua Fields Millburn, of  The Minimalists, and Cal Newport, whose popular blog, Study Hacks, looks at the habits of people who lead successful, meaningful lives, Cal put it this way, “‘Follow’ implies that you discover the passion in advance then go match it to a job.  At which point, you’re done.”

Indeed, the whole concept of follow is tempting, drawing us in by suggesting we can throw caution to the wind, and listen to our muse, the internal voice that all “true artists” give themselves over to…..or do they?

I think a “true artist” becomes aware of the bigger framework within which all art is expressed, that life, itself, is the beautiful creation, and that every possible human expression contained within it is but a shallow reflection of the original vision.  Give credit where credit is due.  God made it possible for us to love before we were capable of other expression.

Cultivate… Don’t Follow

When you cultivate, rather than follow your passion, you control the machinery.  You manage the challenge before you.  Then, it becomes a process as you go about acquiring and developing the skills and qualities necessary to fulfill the potential.  You maintain control over how much the cultivation of your passion interferes with the rest of your life… and the rest of your life involves quite a bit of stuff.  Things like people, events, the work you do to sustain yourself and those around you.

So, this concept of cultivating your passion is a completely different approach than following your passion.   We must take ownership of our personal responsibilities first.

3 Ways Margin Allows Us To Cultivate Our Passion

Another important difference between following and cultivating our passion, is that one is a little desperate and unpredictable, offering a do-or-die kind of scenario, while the other can be conducted with a sense of peace and security, where life does not have to spiral out of control in the process.

Now, let’s take a look at margin as it relates to cultivating our passion.

Declining to live on the edge financially gives us an immense logistical and psychological power to achieve our long-term goals.

With Margin we can:

1)  Act with intention

2)  Monitor our progress

3)  Have the assurance that with time we will be successful – that time won’t run out because our resources do

So, if your monthly obligations are less than your monthly income, you are already one step closer to having the ability to cultivate your passion without ignoring the larger, more important framework within which everything else is expressed.

After all, the love and caring we have for each other is the truest and most beautiful artistic vision we can express, one that cannot be contained on a canvas or computer screen.


For more information about how to get out of debt and enjoy the benefits of margin, we recommend  Start by checking out The Seven Baby Steps.  If you like what you see, consider signing up for a basic course through Financial Peace University.


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