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,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Changing to stay the same

Have you ever noticed those people who seem to be mired in the past? At one of the organisations I’ve consulted in over the last 15 years, there’s an individual who is exactly the same today as he was when I first met him. He dresses the same, talks the same, acts the same and has the same haircut. It’s amazing. In a world of massive change, he has managed to remain as if he is chained and locked in a time-warp.

In a world of massive and accelerating change

Now think about this... In the last 20 years, the world has changed massively. In my short lifetime I’ve seen milk and bread being delivered to our door via horse and cart when I was a child, through to the dying off of home delivery of these commodities and processes. Now we have racing cars that can do 0 – 100 mph in less than 3.6 seconds. A world wide web of interconnected information. Mobile devices that allow me to communicate instantly almost anywhere in the world. And I can order my weekly organic groceries via the internet and have them delivered free of charge to my door by courier. All in less than half a human lifetime. It’s a world of amazing and accelerating change!

And with all this amazing change, the individual referred to above has managed to ‘change to stay the same’. Yes, that’s right. For him to be able to stay locked in the past, in a world of massive change, he has to actively (though unconsciously) change to stay the same. It’s an incredible skill.

A change master!

Really, he is in some senses a change master!

The only thing is… he doesn’t realise that he has incredible skills at changing to stay the same. What’s more, he uses his unconscious competence in change mastery to stay locked in to a past that is no longer relevant. The truth is, where once he was a key player in the organisation, now he commands little respect. He is sidelined in a dead-end role and has spiralled down in self-respect. He is bored and is given no opportunities for change and advancement because he has made it obvious to management that he is not someone who embraces change and growth.

Yet, he is capable of making amazing changes in order to stay the same. It’s like an old guy I saw the other day in the centre of the City. He was a wizened little fellow in his 70’s, attired in an old suit, with his hair slicked back with hair-oil. Now, when I was a young child, back in the 1960’s, it was the fashion for men to use hair-oil to slick back their hair. It was the cool thing to do. This guy has continued to follow the same fashion and pattern for the last 50 or so years. Incredible! I didn’t even think you could buy hair-oil anymore. Think of the skill this old guy needs to be able to continue to source and use the same product for all those decades. All so he can stay the same.

Are you changing, evolving and moving forward?

You know, these are more than just funny stories. I use them to remind myself to keep changing, evolving and moving forward.

It's about ensuring you are leading the change! Rather than using your skills as a change master to stay stuck in the past, how about using them to break those chains and lead the changes that are happening in your world! Change is going to happen, so anticipate those changes by leading them. Whether it’s at work, in the clubs and organisations you are a member of, in your circle of friends or at home, continue to lead positive, generative and life enhancing change. And actively look for those areas where you are changing to stay the same and let them go. Change mastery! -- It’s an orientation and attitude that reaps many, many rewards and brings newness to your mind, life and spirit.

life enhancing smiles,