Posts tagged lifestyle design
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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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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What if real life was an art project?

I was talking with a buddy of mine over lunch on Monday about the nature of art. He told me a story of someone confronting him about a particular Instagram series that he had started which involved image manipulation to create some really cool shots. This person said his series was a manipulation of the real world. Now whether they meant it as a jab or an offhanded comment, I can't say for certain. Nonetheless, we found the comment interesting.

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Simplify (Part III): a brief guide to becoming less busy.

Our time is the most precious non-renewable resource we have and yet I find myself spending a great deal of it on things that offer little meaningful return or value. At the same time, I envy those who have painted masterpieces or written novels by the time they were my age. The lopsided nature of what we wish we had time to do and what we spend the time we do have doing is quite befuddling considering the access and opportunity that we are privileged to have these days.

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How to manage your information intake and creative output.

In software design, there's a principle referred to as the Robustness Principle which states: "Be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept."

In a design context, this is referring to your inputs and outputs. You should accept any and all input information as long as its meaning is clear but you should only send information out that is according to the specifications of the software. This allows you to always have plenty of data, never lacking in the back-end but only pushing out that which is valuable and representative of the output specs. Though it originated in an industry in which I have zero experience or understanding, the concept, I've found, is very practical and applicable to many other aspects of life.

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I don't want to live a life based on decisions made by an 18 year old

Habits and routines are a fascinating way in which the mind conserves its energy and stamina. By putting certain tasks on rails, the mind can tune out and rest on autopilot. It's your body's natural way of guarding against burnout by noon. Tasks that are trivial such as driving to work, taking a shower or fixing your cup of coffee are habitualized quickly which is why you sometimes find yourself pulling up at work without remembering the drive to get there. It's muscle memory. Let's say you're on your way to work and you see a wreck up ahead and the traffic is beginning to back up pretty heavily. Your mind suddenly switches off autopilot and takes control again, recalculating the best route to work based on your familiar with the surrounding streets, how much time you have to get to work, the weather, the density of traffic and a host of other factors. The wreck gave your mind the jolt it needed to get back to work.

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Here are 10 things you should start doing for you

1. If you need time for yourself, just tell people "I'm busy" - it's a legitimate excuse.

"In a world of distraction and competing demands, mental focus is a scarce yet precious commodity. If you want more of it, you will have to be intentional about getting it." -Michael Hyatt

2. Stop checking email when you leave work - rarely is anything so urgent that you can't wait to read and respond to it till the next morning.

"“BIF” stands for “before I forget” and refers to emails sent on evenings or weekends out of fear of forgetting a to-do or follow-up. This sets a mutual expectation of 24/7 work hours and causes a plethora of problems." -Tim Ferriss

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Jesus and Joe: the psychology of task association

Some tasks are just so darn hard for people to do. Examples include flossing, feeding the pets, reading your Bible, texting your girlfriend or boyfriend that you made it home safely, making a million dollars... you know, the usual. The psychology behind it differs from person to person. Some genuinely forget, some don't care about it enough, some get distracted easily, some have a fear of it... whatever the case may be, nearly everyone struggles to keep up with at least one habit. Previously, I've written before on the topic of small wins as a way to build momentum for a task that would ordinarily scare you off. Depending on how you tick, here's another hack that may work better for you.

Life Hack: Task Association

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Are you confusing 'urgent' with 'important'?

The past few years or so have been highly impactful on the way that I craft my lifestyle. It started with the book I wrote, ARROWS, which is a primer on missional lifestyle design. As I began developing my thoughts on what a missional lifestyle should look like, I had no choice but to trim the fat. The bare-bones version of missional living meant simplifying life so that you have the flexibility, mobility, resources and time to hit the curve balls life throws at you in a way that does the most for the Kingdom of God. Naturally, my ideas evolve over time. As I come to understand more truths of life I can piece them together to create a new perspective within my old worldview.

Over and over, one theme keeps reoccurring:

Invest in things that matter and let those that don't matter take care of themselves.

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The average American wastes 43 days every year.

History is being made right now. What are you doing to make your mark? We read stories of great men and women throughout the last 100 years braving the frigid cold of the Arctic or modern day adventurers climbing snow summits in Iceland. These are compelling, engaging stories and guess what! You could be those people. After reading about the exotic adventures and meaningful discoveries that people are making, I have to wonder, "what am I doing?" We live in such an incredible world with adventure waiting on every side of us. I caught the bug over this past summer as I backpacked for two months across eleven countries. After returning home from that trip I couldn't help but see TV for what it is - a waste of a beautiful life. My friend, Micah, and I climbed to the peak of the tallest mountain in Ireland, jumped into the fairy pools in Scotland, saw Phantom of the Opera in London, hammocked in a coastal village in Italy, drank tea from a pier overlooking a crystal lake in Switzerland, got pick-pocketed in Rome, slept in a tent during a thunderstorm in Venice, soaked in the mineral pools of Budapest and drank wine under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Television... lol

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How to Relieve Stress & Create the Best Work of Your Life

I have been fascinated by the practices and rituals of the world's elite. Those masterminds who consistently seem to be producing extraordinary content and still find time to read 50 books a year. How do they juggle everything that they have going on without collapsing under the demands on their time and energy?

What I'm about to show you is a proven system for many individuals to help them improve their focus, produce their best work and manage their time without compromising their sanity.

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The Non-Minimalist's Guide to Minimalism

I realize that many of you hear minimalism and immediately think "cult". I get how you might come to that conclusion - it's radical, non-traditional and has a small but incredibly loyal band of followers. It's one of those things that is easily dismissed as impractical or foolish with a flip of the hair and a wave of the hand.

If you're remotely interested, I've compiled articles from across the web that have helped me in my quest to live simply.

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What if you don't want to be a doctor any more?

Stop living in the past, hung up on the time you spent crafting your life into something you didn't want to be. Revel in the possibilities that lie ahead, now that you know what you want to become.

The biggest adventure you can take is to risk the expected to reach for your dreams.

Doctor... listen to your heart.

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If You Could Relive Today

Imagine if you were given the opportunity to relive each day. As soon as it ended, you began again, fully aware of the events that were to take place. In those moments of stress, worry, anxiety or uncertainty, you knew the consequences and, the second time around, were able to fend them off with a surge of confident optimism or retrospective clarity.

I must admit, the thought is nice...

But time travel isn't changing anything; you would simply know when to laugh at life and enjoy the moments.

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Defining and Living by Your Own Values

How often do we hear the excuse "I just don't have time, otherwise I would [fill in the blank]." When you are truly passionate about something or when you highly value it, you find the time. Even kids who love a specific video game find time to play it between homework assignments... or perhaps, in lou of homework assignments. Whatever the case, our priorities are actualized in the way that we arrange our schedule.

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Why are we called to vibrant living?

I can try to convince you that vibrant living is an obligation. I can and have used reason to prove my societal and theological grounds for such a claim.

But I won't.

Perhaps it's because I'm too lazy to try to convince you... but I think its because, despite a well-reasoned argument, some people simply do not have the courage or the will to go off script. So all I can do is ask.

Will you join me?

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What does a vibrant life look like?

You put the last piece in its place and step back to admire your handiwork. As your eyes scan the image sprawled out before you, you see it. Just there, in the middle of the house tucked away in the forest near the waterwheel. A piece is missing. You know the feeling - when the puzzle is one piece short of perfect. It's irritating and imbalanced and you can't help but feel a twinge of disappointment.

Life, too, is irritating, imbalanced and brings its fair share of disappointment when a piece of it is missing. Zig Ziglar has his "Wheel of Life" and Donald Miller has his "How to live a good story". These individuals have analyzed life and each, in their own way, broken it down into parts we can grasp so the whole thing doesn't feel so overwhelming. While they each look at life through a unique lens, they all have one thing in common - living a balanced life. None of them recommend being all work no play. None of them recommend the opposite. Because no one likes to leave out a piece of a puzzle. It's incomplete. Broken.

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What does it mean to live "vibrantly"?

My cursor sweeps across the screen selecting pixels, shifting them from here to there, boosting this, enhancing that. Photoshop - a powerful piece of software that allows users to create and manipulate digital pixels within an image - has been a huge part of my life for several years now. Perhaps this is where the word originated in my mind - vibrancy.

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5 Ways to Live Simpler

Collect Experiences Instead of Stuff

Smaller Living Space

Invest in Quality

Pare Down the Wardrobe

Leverage Your Mornings

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Collecting Experiences; Not Possessions

Driven by inspiration from Joshua Becker at "Becoming Minimalist" and Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus at "The Minimalists", I began to realize how much stock was put into material possessions but how little value we actually derive from them. Sure, we have to have some things to live comfortably and some things we have simply as a convenience - I'm not advocating poverty - but the psychological state of mind that drives us to collect things (materialism) at the cost of living is becoming more rampant.

What if, instead of collecting things, we collected experiences?

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