Posts in Simplify
Do you want to "do it all" but "all" is too much?

About a year ago I was feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of things that I had promised myself that I was going to start doing and had dropped the ball on. French, coding and piano just to name a few. All noble pursuits, yet they all seemed to fall off the wagon because life just got in the way. It wasn't that I lost interest or decided they weren't worth it - I just found myself struggling to fit them all into my schedule on a consistent basis. Because of these abandoned goals I began getting pretty upset at myself. If these things were important to me, why were they constantly taking a back seat to everything else?

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5 Ways to Begin Simplifying Your Wants

Minimalism. It's one of those trendy things that's mildly controversial as well. So we see people becoming minimalists — or at least believing that they are — around every corner. But you want to know a secret? They're home or their office will soon be full of stuff before long. It isn't just your collection of things that needs to be simplified... it's your wants. After purging your home of unnecessary items, you'll find yourself right back where you started in a year if you never learned to quell the incessant desires of a 21st Century mind.

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How to Rescue Your Creative Mind

As human beings, I believe that ingrained within us all, is a natural instinct to create. You can argue that you don't have a single creative bone in your body but I call bull. Having been made in the likeness of the Creator of the Universe, I think that we're built for creation. For making something that didn't exist before. Writing a sentence. Composing a song. Cooking a meal. Choreographing a dance. Developing a business strategy. Building a sand castle. It doesn't require complexity or years of skill and experience. It only requires that you bring something with meaning into existence that didn't exist before.

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A Practical Guide to Simplifying Your Space

Space is a beautiful thing. Yet it's often seen as something to be filled rather than something to be left alone. All that inhabits the space we live in, work in, play in - it's all visual stimuli. We're engineered to be visual people and as such, are easily distracted and consumed with the visual stimuli around us. Though we may not think something catches our attention, it does. If only for a split second, our mind is filtering through dozens of things before it can rest on the task at hand. Knick-knacks, keep sakes, gifts, crafts, junk, trash, long-forgotten memos... over time, little things begin to build up. Simplifying the space that we live in is an important step toward enjoying that space.

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Negativity is noise.

Life is hard. Harder for some than others. But in general, everyone has a lot of balls in the air. Budgeting, car maintenance, cleaning the house, committee meetings, career, Church, soccer practice, yard work… you get the idea. All of that activity piles up and two things start to happen...

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A Few Unpopular Thoughts on Internet Privacy

A lot’s changed in the last 30 years. We’ve been forced to answer questions that we’ve never had to ask before. Questions like, “should I enter my credit card information online?” And there had to be an adjustment period to gain a measure of comfort with that — for some, it’s still going on. But that’s to be expected, I supposed.

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The Advantages of Viewing Your Life in 4D

Any time I take a step back and assess my life, I arrive at one of two conclusions:

  1. Stress: I’m overwhelmed because I’ve been trying to balance too many things at once
  2. FOMO: I’m missing out on so many things in an effort to focus on a few important things

And I’m sure I’m not alone — FOMO (fear of missing out) and stress are two of the most common symptoms of the common (wo)man. Not surprisingly, there’s a simple solution to both: viewing your life in 4D. To view your life in 4D, you have to incorporate the dimension of time; after all, your life exists along the continuum of time, not simply in the present. Let’s take a look at each issue adding in the perspective of time and see how it changes things.

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Spotting the Fool’s Gold in Your Life

The mineral Pyrite is an iron sulfide with a pale yellow hue and metallic luster that gives it the appearance of gold earning it the nickname “Fool’s Gold.” So while, on the surface, it has the appearance of value, in reality, it’s just another rock. I feel like life can present you with a lot of Fool’s Gold that looks really wonderful at first glance. But on further inspection, you realize you’ve been given a dud.

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10 Tools from Walmart to Hack Backpacking

Backpacking is considered to be a rough way to travel with high costs for good gear and many inconveniences. While true in some regards, there are ways to hack your travels to make life a bit easier on you. Here are ten items that you can use to make life on the road a bit easier. No high costs - you can find them all at Walmart. No added weight - they each weigh only a few ounces.

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Taking Your Day One Step at a Time

Sometimes I find myself looking two or three days down the road and trying to hold everything I need to do in my head at the same time and it gets overwhelming really fast. That’s part of the reason I’m both impressed by and feel sorry for the people who don’t use to-do lists or calendars. Anyway, my point is that if we’re constantly trying to keep track of the next 10 things we need to do, life can become quite daunting.

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If you had a chance to pivot your life, would you?

Due to the flood, I’ve been thinking a lot about the families who lost so many material things. Feelings of empathy and sadness dance with feelings of hope and silver linings. Because on one hand, I see the mountains of things that are the physical embodiment of people’s history. And that can be tough to part with. But on the other hand I see a city wide liberation and a chance to craft a new life. One free from the weight of things that steal our attention from what matters.

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What I learned from 30+ physicians about Identity

A couple of weeks ago I was photographing physicians in their work environments. As I moved from office to O.R. to board room shooting nearly 20 physicians over the course of two days I was struck by the demeanor and the attitude that they all seemed to possess. Man, woman, old, young, black, white, experienced, inexperienced... it didn't matter. Not a single one of them was concerned about whether every hair was in place or whether their makeup was perfect or whether their clothes were wrinkled.

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10 Ways Creating Space Can Change Your Life

When we purchase a new pair of shoes or a new set of tools, we're not purchasing them with the intent of cluttering up our lives. We purchase them because—at least in the moment—we believe that they'll bring us joy, comfort, convenience or utility. All of these things are inherently good so, at first glance, why shouldn't we add them to our lives?

The problem doesn't become clear until weeks, months or years down the road when we look up and realize our lives have been overrun with clutter from our closet to our schedule. Minimalism gives us the tools we need to preemptively shut down the clutter that wants to enter our lives or get rid of clutter that's already there in an effort to provide more room.

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Sacrificing "Good" at the Altar of "Great"

A few years ago, I may have encouraged you to "not give up" and "you can do it all if you really want it bad enough." Today, I know better. Today, I realize that a life of more doesn't necessarily equal a life of fulfillment and joy. Rather, some things — even some good things — have to be sacrificed so that the best things can be gained.

Don't take my word for it, take the word of a man who has built an empire — simplicity facilitates success.

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Simplifying the Dormant Clutter

Two things happened in the past week that reminded me of the weight of dormant responsibilities. The first was that I filed my taxes and, rather than file only my W2 from my employer, I had to file for the minimal amount of freelance income through my photography/design business I started 3 years ago. The second was that I got a notice in the mail that my business account had been overdrawn for seven days and I owed the bank $4.34. I had mostly emptied my business account and it has lain dormant for nearly a year now since I've started at the creative agency but rather than shut it down, I had left it open, accumulating small fees here and there that slowly eaten away at the few remaining dollars that I had left in the account.

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The Magic of Writing it Down

A friend called me a couple of weeks ago with a lot on their mind. After explaining everything they fell silent and waited for my response. Once I had given what I hope were some encouraging thoughts on the matter, I suggested that they, "go write it all down." Being a writer themselves, they immediately understood my reasoning and promised they would do just that. Sure, there's a therapeutic element to writing something down, but beyond that, writing helps to untangle the web of confusion within our mind.

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3 Steps to a Career that Sparks Joy

Creative people love dabbling in everything from design to painting and it can be difficult to let go of some pursuits in order to let others thrive. But if we don't learn to focus, we reduce our chance for substantial growth in the areas that we truly love.

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How I am Preparing for Next Year

Preparing for the New Year can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. In fact, it's rather fun. Here's a rundown of what I'm going through during these last two weeks of this year to get ready for the new year. You can follow along or do your own thing. I'd love hear what you're doing in the comments below!

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Simplicity is the mean of excess and deficiency

There's a philosophy often attributed to Aristotle, though also theorized by Chinese and Buddhist philosophers, of the Golden Mean. It is the "desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency." This theory asserts that even good things, in excess or deficiency, can turn into something undesirable; only when found in an appropriate balance - its mean - can something remain virtuous. For example, honesty is a virtue but in excess it would manifest as tactless and rude and in deficiency, as a lie.

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Simplify, ServeJacob Jolibois
5 Simple Essays to Prime Yourself for the Holidays

No time to write a full post - I'm busy enjoying a large plate of turkey and about a dozen different pies. But if you're itching for some good reading, I've got you covered. Here are five good reads to put the holidays into perspective.

Be mindful. Embrace simplicity. Serve others. Live well.

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