Monday, September 26, 2011

Simplifying and Valuing your Life

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. 
Henry David Thoreau 

As we've discussed in the last couple of blog posts, we now live in times of massive and accelerating change, and it's both necessary and life enhancing to embrace and lead that change. However, unless you embrace change intelligently, you can end up swamped and overloaded by all the newness that this brings.

In such times of overload and with so much happening in our lives, we need to learn to simplify where we can. Yes, you need to embrace change but that doesn’t mean you have to fill your life with noise, chaos and clutter.

Prioritise you life

In fact, one of the keys to coping with massive change is to prioritise your life, get clear about your values and what’s most important to you and focus your energies and time there.

Most people don’t know explicitly and specifically what’s vitally important to them. They don’t know their hierarchy of values.

So what are Values?

Values are those things you’ll spend time, energy, resources and money to move towards or away from.

The majority of people cannot consciously tell you their top 10 values in life.

Think about this. Your values determine what you’ll focus on and what you’ll do in life. Values help you make decisions. They direct your life. Yet can you tell me right now what your top values are, and in what order they lay in terms of importance?

You obviously can’t prioritise your time, energy and life if you haven’t decided what are the most important qualities and things you want in life. Priorities imply values. To be able to simplify your life and get the most beneficial use of your limited time, money, attention and resources you absolutely need to ‘value your life’. You need to get clear about your values and what the hierarchy is for them. Decide what’s the most important value, the second most important and so on.

Articulate your Values

The clearer your values are to you, the more conscious you are of them and the more able you are to articulate them, the more power they’ll bring to your life. In modelling successful people, the field of NLP found that successful people are incredibly clear on their values and the order of importance of them.

Clarity of values directionalises your unconscious mind and leads to what appears to be magical effects. It’s not voodoo or magic. It’s the power of the Reticular Activating System (RAS) – your mind’s attentional filtering system – to directionalise your energies and resources in achieving your values and outcomes. [You can read more about the RAS in a previous blog post here: Are there rocks on your beach? ]

It’s also the power and effect of self-fulfilling prophecies. Many, many books have been written about the 'secret' power of clarity and focus on values and outcomes. So make use of this to help you to remove the clutter and overload from your life.

It’s really very life enhancingly simple:
  • Identify what’s most important to you
  • Eliminate everything else

Start right now.

life enhancing thoughts,


  1. Thank you, Grant, for another VIP (Very Important Post)! Whenever I find myself getting overloaded, I remind myself that no one can "do it all" and review my priorities. I'm glad you include links to past posts in your current posts as I had somehow missed the one about RAS.

  2. Thanx Grant .. its just what I need to do right now ( prioritizing my life ) .. At some time in the past I have done it .. & life were so simple .. I guess I HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN ..
    Thanks a lot :)

  3. Thanks Jean, you're right, 'no one can do it all' -- we all need to review our values and priorities on a regular basis to ensure they stay in the forefront of our RAS.

    cheers, Grant

  4. Hey Hamda, you make a great point, even if we've done the prioritizing of our lives and values at some point, we need to do it more than just once. As someone once said to me "you become what you focus on". So we need to make sure we focus on our values and what's important to us. It's a journey rather than a destination. Which is why I do a process I call 'LifeDesign' every year to focus and refocus on my values and check how my behaviours and results match my intended outcomes. And why I surround myself with collages and images that highlight and articulate my values.

    Thanks again for your insightful comments.

    smiles, Grant


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