Blog: Simplify Your Life
What Are You Willing To Do?
A lot of people will tell you that all you have to do to succeed is plan for success. Why, then, do so many of our best-laid plans often go awry? More times than not, it's because something about what we're trying to do isn't realistic -- the time frame, the resources required, or even how hard we're willing to work to accomplish the goal in our lives.
Success Is A Trade-Off
I'm the first person to suggest that you can have anything you want in life -- for a price. People often say that "circumstances" kept them from achieving their dreams. This is code for "I would have had to do things differently to make it happen, and I just wasn't willing."
Want to be president of your company? How do 80-hour work weeks sound to you? You can be debt-free, but you'll have to put a moratorium on unnecessary spending for a while (no eating out, no movies, no impulse buys) -- can you do that? Do you want to write a book? It will only if you turn off the TV. Wish you were in better shape? Are you ready to sweat -- every single day of the week?
It's like that famous quote about the world-renowned pianist. At a concert someone said, "I wish I could play like you." The pianist replied, "If you knew what I had to do to get here, you wouldn't."
Knowing What You Really Want
The big question is what are you willing to give up NOW to have what you want most in the long run? It's easy to become shortsighted. The to-do's and bills and worries are clamoring to be dealt with today, not years down the road. There are also many immediate temptations to spend and indulge and slack (delayed gratification is not most people's strong suit!)
But when you fail to see beyond the end of the week or the end of the month or even December 31st, you're giving your future happiness a short shrift -- trading long-range goals for a fleeting bit of pleasure. And you'll end up regretting all those fast-food lunches when the scale is five pounds heavier and your bank account is a couple hundred dollars lighter!
My husband and I have given up a lot of things -- the huge house, the hot sexy car, and a lot of expensive "playthings" -- because we have our eye on the bigger prize. Our goal is freedom -- the ability to do what we want when we want it, to be able to travel endlessly without having to ask for time off, and especially financial freedom (which we define as having enough money to cover our daily expenses without having to hold a full-time job). We're looking at a longer timeline than just what we do for enjoyment "today".
In order to do this, we've chosen a fairly unconventional life. Matt and I both used to work for someone else doing the 9 to 5 grind thing until we started our own business. It was scary, we worried that we wouldn't have enough money (thankfully that didn't happen) -- but we can work in our pajamas, and take the day off any time we like. That's freedom.
Our lives are not as "tied down" as a lot of people's. We have cats instead of kids (but we never considered not having children a sacrifice!) Tried homeownership, didn't like it -- so we're full-time nomads, living out of a 29-foot Airstream Excella instead. We travel the country, stopping to "live" for a while anyplace that strikes our fancy. That's freedom.
Matt and I try to live frugally, because we don't want to spend our lives working to pay the bills. We have no debt and we refuse to pay anyone interest for anything if we can avoid it (which means we have to save up to afford each purchase -- no financing). We only have one car, when we need a new one we buy used (with cash), and then we drive that vehicle to death. We don't eat out every day of the week, I shop for most of my clothes at thrift and consignment stores, and we don't pay the exorbitant fees that most folks do for cable or satellite TV (we wait until the end of the season and get our shows on DVD from the library or Netflix. And we put money away in savings every month toward our goal of financial independence. That's freedom.
How About You?
The point is not to say "ooh look at how great we are" or brag about our lives -- it's simply to point out that everything Matt and I "give up" is a conscious decision, and we do it because there is something else out there that we want even more. Some people think we're weird and wouldn't want our lifestyle for anything in the world, and that's fine -- everyone has to decide what their dream is and what they are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it.
So I guess I would ask -- what kind of life are you leading now, what would you really rather be doing, and what would you need to give up in order to have that? How badly do you want your dream to come true? Are you willing to go there, no matter what it takes? And what will your first step be? It's all up to you!
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posted on: 10/20/2009 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips
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Simplify Your Life
by Ramona Creel
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I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!
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