streamlining me

Okay, so I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Most of my adult life, in fact.Simplification. Consolidation. Streamlining my spirit.

Then I found this quote to drive it all home.

One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity. // Bruce Lee

A few months ago I was sitting in the airport and other than waiting for my plane to board, I was doing absolutely nothing. Just sitting there looking at the wall. I looked up and saw a couple of college-age guys talking about the long trip ahead of them. One guy had an iPhone, an iPad, and an iPod in his hands, with cords and headphones everywhere and I heard him say to the other guy

Yeah, I’ve got a few movies on my iPad and some Podcasts I can listen to, plus I just downloaded a few new games on my phone, so I’ve got enough to keep me entertained.

To keep me entertained.

The notion of being un-entertained at any moment in life is utterly terrifying to many people. The state of being where one is literally doing nothing. Just sitting with your eyes open - which is exactly what I was doing, besides eavesdropping.

When was the last time you were waiting on someone, or otherwise in-between activities, when you didn’t have your phone out, or your tv on, or a book in your hands, or your stereo playing?

How many times a day do you pull your phone out of your pocket with absolutely no intention of doing anything with it? You know you don’t have any emails or text messages. You don’t have anyone to call or text. You checked Facebook and Twitter and 4Square and Gowalla and Instagram and everything else five minutes earlier, and you know there’s nothing there worth seeing at the moment, and yet you still pull it out and look at it. You just look at it. God forbid anyone you know might drive by and see you standing there in front of a coffee shop empty-handed, just looking around like a retard.

I know what this is like because I am a victim of it myself. So I am fighting back.

I reject busyness. I reject constant entertainment.

I will be the one to decide what I need to see and when I need to see it.

A few weeks ago I sat down and made a handwritten spreadsheet on how to simplify my soul. It felt good to get it down on paper and acknowledge all of it in one fell swoop. Then I plugged it into Excel to keep it updated - here it is:

It felt so good to see it all there, in fact, that I made a printable PDF that anyone can download and fill out themselves. So do it with me. Streamline yourself. It will be great.

(click the pictures to download the full size files)

I’ve said for a long time that true freedom is having nothing to hide. So join me. Print this and fill it out. Post it online somewhere. Make this PDF available to other people you know and end this year better than you started it. Change it up a bit if you want to, but it really is worth doing.

People always seem to think that sometime in the near future their circumstances will change enough to make it easier for them to go on living as they currently are. But the fact is - and this is a cold hard fact - nothing will change unless you change it. You’re always going to be low on money and time, so make the little money and time that you have more useful to you. Don’t burn it all up paying for more ways to waste it.

Here’s an example:

What if I told you that I would give you a $100 bill every month and figure out a way to give you 8 - 10 more free hours every week to use however you like? Would you take the deal? Think about it.

I would. I did actually. I took my own deal.

And I have good news for you - the deal is on the table for you too - right now.

Here’s what you do:

Cancel your cable TV service.

There you go. You’re welcome. You now have an extra $100 a month and way more free time on your hands - and guys, free time is good. Use it. Play golf. Learn to cook. Paint your house. Fix up your yard. Lose some weight. Buy a bike. Do something worthwhile. But if you choose not to do it - don’t complain to me about how you’re broke and you don’t have any free time. I don’t want to hear it.

Read my list and print your own. It really does feel pretty good to smash life on its head with a hammer and decide to take matters into your own hands.