Simply living or living simply

We either live simply or simply live.

Simply living for the sake of surviving has no true goal except existence. Simply living is a survival mode for those of us who go through stressful lives worrying about tomorrow yet being stuck living in the past. In order to live a life with minimal anxiety, we need to live simply. And here are 10 tips on living a simple life:

1. Prioritize

If you had one thing that’s most important to you, what would it be?

2. Eliminate toxic people from your life

Parasites and vultures are not the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. They take advantage of you and are there only during the times when you’re at the peak of your career. When you’re at your lowest, you’re carcass to them.

3. Give yourself a day

We all need a break. No matter how life treats you, there’s got to be a time for yourself – me time. Take that time to recharge, rethink and rebuild your strength.

4. Make a budget and pay off a debt

Don’t bury yourself in “wants”. Pay in cash when you need to. Drowning yourself in debt leads to more anxiousness. Think about your future because the one who plans well during the summer of our lives, reaps best during the cold winter season.

5. Reduce hypotheticals

Avoid overthinking the “what if’s” of our lives. There’s a lot to earn and learn in life. Take it in stride. One day at a time. Waiting for bad things to happen will just drive us crazy thinking of things that may never occur.

6. Make home your sanctuary

Don’t bring work home. Home is a special place to rest our weary bodies and mind. It’s called home for the very reason that it is our happy place. Keep it that way.

7. Say no more often

There are those that just live for the sake of rumor mongering. The less said, the less mistakes. There’s no use arguing when someone has made up his/her mind. When we need to provide an opinion, try to choose the right words as often as possible. That way, you’re able to drive the message across without hurting others in the process. Before saying anything, pause if you must.

8. Value your time and others

Avoid making too many appointments. Respecting the time of others is not only a professional act but respect as well. We complain so much when we’re kept waiting forever. But with ditch the same practice ourselves. Valuing others time is a reciprocal respect.

9. Watch less TV

Yes. Those telenovelas have no purpose in life. Schedule your time being glued to the screen. Imagine if you watched 3hrs of TV a day, 7 days a week, that would be 84 hours a month. Tantamount to wasting more than 3 days a month or 36 days a year for what?!?! You could have done so much more with your life in 36 days! Imagine if you’ve routinely done this for the last 25 years! That’s 900 days or almost 2 1/2 years of life wasted staring at a box!

10. Get a physical activity going or a hobby

Boredom is deadly. An idle mind is the devil’s playground. We need to do something worthwhile with our lives. Staying physically fit allows us healthier living. As they say, health is wealth. And we spend less time (and money) with the doctor, if we only made a habit of staying healthy rather than just being alive.

The last day

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

– Orson Welles

In the book by Daniel Pink entitled “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing”, chapter 5 talks about ENDINGS.

It’s one of the most interesting discussions of the book particularly when it talks about the core of meaningful endings, poignancy. Poignancy is a mix of happiness and sadness. For many, “the most powerful endings deliver poignancy because poignancy delivers significance…adding a small component of sadness to an otherwise happy moment elevates that moment rather than diminishes it.”

I’m not very good at goodbyes. Or endings, for that matter. After all, the best endings don’t leave us happy. “Instead, they produce something richer – a rush of unexpected insight. A fleeting moment of transcendence, the possibility that by discarding what we wanted we’ve gotten what we need.”

I’d like to believe that decisions have both good and bad news. The bad news is that the I feel sad leaving a new found “family” behind. But closings, conclusions, and culminations reveal something essential about the human condition: in the end, we seek meaning.

When I was writing this blog entry, I did not know how to end the story. Pink points out the “when’s” of our lives in such scientific relevance that I understood better why I decided what I decided.

(The following is lifted from his book entitled “When”, and is available currently at Fully Booked).

Many “when” decisions involve endings. There are five questions to help us decide. If your answer to two or more of these is no, it might be time to craft an end.

1. Do you want to be in this job on your next work anniversary?

People are most likely to leave a job on their one-year work anniversary. The second most likely time? Their two-year anniversary. The third? Their three-year anniversary. You get the idea. If you dream the thought of being at your job on your next work anniversary; start looking now. You’ll be better prepared when the time comes.

2. Is your current job both demanding and in your control?

The most fulfilling jobs share a common trait: They prod us to work at our highest level but in a way that we, not someone else, control. Jobs that are demanding but don’t offer autonomy burn us out. Jobs that offer autonomy but little challenge bore us. (And jobs that are neither demanding nor in our control are the worst of all.) If your job doesn’t provide both challenge and autonomy, and there’s nothing you can do to make things better, consider a move.

3. Does your boss allow you to do your best work?

In his excellent book Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the best…and learn from the worst, Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Robert Sutton explains the qualities that make someone worth working for. If your boss has your back, takes responsibility instead of blaming others, encourages your efforts but also gets out of your way, and displays a sense of humor rather than a raging temper, you’re probably in a good place. If your boss is the opposite, watch out – and maybe get out.

4. Are you outside the three- to five-year salary bump window?

One of the best ways to boost your pay is to switch organizations. And the best time to do that is often three to five years after you’ve started. This period represents the sweet spot for pay increases. Less than three years might be too little time to develop the most marketable skills. More than five years is when employees start becoming tied to their company and moving up its leadership ranks, which makes it more difficult to start somewhere else.

(While this was lifted straight from Pink’s book, my work experience has proven that this is the average time frame for “making it” or not, at the work force. If, after three years you’re not in a better place at work, it’s time to either re-examine yourself or leave the company.)

5. Does your daily work align with your long-term goals?

Ample research from many countries shows that when your individual goals align with those of your organization, you’re happier and more productive. So take a moment and list your top two goals for the next five years and ten years. If your current employer can help you reach them, great! If not, think about an ending.

It’s okay now, you can let go.

When being okay is all you need to be.

One of the biggest decisions we make in life should be being okay.

Why else do we want to wake up each morning to stress, anger, disappointments and tolerance? Imagine the number of endorphins and enkephalins that provide so much sadness that lives in our lives.

Life has a way to teaching us how to deal with the cards in our journey. How we play with the hand that’s laid is up to us.

My take is brief and it’s summed up here:

I know which battles I will fight. Which ones I will lose. Which ones I want to win.

Our roads will always lead back to where we started. I’ve had my ups and downs. And the stories of my highs and lows are real.

To be okay, we need to let go.

It’s time to come home.

Life goes on.

And we don’t have to write our first chapter based on someone’s last.

Chasing choices

A universal paradox is “you’re free to choose but you’re not free from the consequences of your choice.”

Between work and family, there are days when it’s really difficult to do a balancing act with our lives. You know how you have those days where your boss suddenly out of nowhere calls for a meeting pronto, but it’s the same time as your daughter’s ballet recital or son’s basketball game – and you have the tug-of-war decision to either put food on the table or keep a promise to your children.

We’re living in different times that make choices in life a challenging one.

Whether it’s the food you eat (organic or fast food) or the friends we make or the company we keep or the places we explore…the choices are vast and ours to make.

The abundance of choices provides us the profound freedom to explore and to do what we want. And this freedom, while at times abused, provides us the happiness to revel in the choices and consequences of such choice.

Someone once said that there are three C’s in our lives that matter. Choice, chance and change.

“You must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything in life to change.”

Everyday is a new day that provides us an opportunity to reflect on the choices, the chances and yes, the changes we want in our lives.

And don’t feel bad about making decisions that may not be popular or even upset others. Remember: you’re not responsible for their happiness. Only your own.

Make the choice today.

I’m smiling, but you’re not the reason anymore

If you’re searching for a reason to leave, stop. The search is a reason.

I recall when we were growing up, we thought of the New Year as an opportune time to make changes in our lives.

A little drama here and there. A few promises and swears. I promise you, it’s the first few days or weeks of the year that you see some “magical change” in some people.

Old habits are just hard to break. And the cycle (well more or less) begins again. Promises, after all, are made to be broken.

So here’s my take on resolutions.

First, it’s got to be something you promise yourself because you know that it’s doable. No matter how painful, it needs to get done. Searching for a reason is a sign.

Second, is it’s a priority. If you had to choose between a fucked up love life or relationship, a shitty job that’s too painful to even wake up to, or a weird family to contend with each day, which would be the least of all evil to deal with? I’m not telling you which you should choose. It’s your life after all.

Third, and oddly I’d give advise, is you’ve got to balance which ones you can fix and which ones are not repairable. There are those that diplomacy or a bit of tact can solve. Then there are, after all, lost causes. Doesn’t matter whether you conjure the devil, it’s just hell having to contend with it day in and day out. It’s true when they say, misery loves company.

Finally, it’s just honor and pride in the end. You know the feeling of being treated like dirt shit? Well, been there and done that. You need to walk away from these situations. They’re deadly and they’ll leave you stressed and hating yourself.

Fair reminder. The more days you waste resolving these issues, the more regretful you become with yourself for not making decisions sooner. Procrastinating the inevitable is shit thrown at you and you liking it.

I’m making my resolution. I’m going to smile again. And yes, it’s not because of you.