5 Rules To Uncomplicate Your Life For GoodMar 23, 2021
In his book, "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results," Gary Keller implores us to ask the question:
“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"
The idea behind this question is that if we can simply identify the most important thing and focus 100 percent of our resources on that thing, then the other things that complicate our lives will literally disappear.
This is a huge challenge that I see over and over again when working with small business owners.
They overcomplicate things.
To them, the amount of details required to run a business is seemingly endless. Between working ON their businesses and working IN their businesses, they get so focused on the little details that they end up adding so much unnecessary complexity to their daily routines that eventually, running the business becomes completely overwhelming.
I hear things like:
“Why does this all have to be so hard?”
“There is so much going on that I don’t even know where to start.”
“Life would be so much simpler if I just went and got a job.”
I have a client who is constantly complaining about his employee’s workspaces. He says he “can’t think” when their workspace is a mess. You heard that right, he’s so focused on THEIR workspace that he believes it actually affects his ability to think. So, instead of spending his time working on strategies to improve his business, training his team members, managing his finances, or driving sales and marketing initiatives, he chooses to badger his employees to clean up their workspaces just so that he can “think." He believes that his employee's lack of organization indicates a deeper, more sinister set of behaviors perfectly aimed at disrupting his business.
Here’s what I said to him:
“No Tom, they’re just messy. And if you’d ignore this, or at the very least not focus so much of your personal energy on it, you’d have so much more time to focus on the things that actually matter.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as interested in a tidy workspace as the next guy, but in this case, he’s complicating his life by choosing to focus on insignificant small details instead of letting things be less than perfect and focusing his energy on things that actually mattered.
Imagine if he chose to accept the fact that life is not perfect, that people are not perfect, and that he isn’t perfect. And what if he also accepted the fact that that’s okay because the real world doesn’t reward perfection.
Life rewards people who get GOOD things done.
Perfect is the enemy of the good, and the only way to get GOOD things done is to be imperfect 99 percent of the time.
Why do we insist on overcomplicating things and focusing on things that aren’t that important?
Some intellectual types might suggest that we like complicated things because they seem more elaborate therefore more beautiful, more intelligent, more intellectual, more scientific, more true.
But I find that the truth comes when I simplify.
When I take things at face value, don’t look for underlying meanings or motives, and generally trust that things will work out for the best. I am able to see the world as a simple, uncomplicated place that has my best interests in mind.
So here’s my philosophy:
If I trust that the simple and most obvious answer is also the correct one, and ACT on that trust, I will more often than not make the right decision.
How to Implement This Philosophy in Your Life & Business:
1.) Let go of beliefs about whom you think you should be
We create tension in our lives by trying to be some person that we believe we need to be. Most of the time we’re not even exactly sure where this comes from. It might come from our childhood, or from commonly held beliefs in our peer groups or professions, or simply from some personal belief that who we are isn’t good enough.
Relaxation (and de-complication) happens when we simply lean into our actual selves. I used to think that in order to be perceived as competent and successful that I had to dress a certain way or act a certain way or have a certain group of people that I socialized with. Once I let all of that go and started dressing how I wanted, acting naturally, and simply hanging out with people who energized me, my success, both financial and emotional, increased exponentially.
2.) De-commit from something
We all have items on our calendars or to-do lists that we dread or that drain us of our limited energy. Why do we keep doing them? Is it because we feel that we should do them? The easiest way to spread ourselves too thin, and complicate our lives, is by saying yes to too many things and getting ourselves overcommitted. Find that thing, or things, that simply complicates your life and de-commit. This doesn’t mean you are shrinking your responsibilities, it means that you’re prioritizing your activities to give the most energy to the few things that matter.
3.) Trust your gut more often
You KNOW when you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be. That’s your “gut” speaking. Your intuition gives you clues all of the time. Whether it’s an uneasy feeling about a decision that you’re making or simply a “sixth sense” that maybe you should act in a certain way, learn to trust those feelings as real more often and act accordingly. Leaning into this discomfort is liberating and the more you do it, the more it will set you up to trust your intuition more often.
4.) Throw out your concept of right and wrong
My amazing therapist Eddie regularly says to me, “there is no right or wrong." He doesn’t mean that I should shirk my concepts of morality and simply act however I want, but simply that right and wrong are a matter of opinion, and that my opinion is as valid as any other. If we are constantly trying to avoid the wrong thing and find the right thing we risk getting ourselves stuck in a constant negative feedback loop. What’s right or wrong for you, your life, and your business is unique to you and you only.
5.) Let it Go
At the end of the day, most things are significantly less critical than we think they are. Learning to let go, and accept that things simply “are what they are” helps us to work and live in a chaotic world without a constant need to impose order. This simple act allows us to free up brainpower to focus on things that actually matter instead of constantly needing things to be perfect before we move forward. Embracing the imperfections of life helps us ignore the little things that threaten to disrupt our progress.
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