Getting to the heart of it

When contemplating any major investment (time, finances, emotion) a trick to get to the psychology behind your own desire is to ask “why” 2-3 times.

I want to make more money. Why?
Because I want freedom of time. Why?
Because I don’t want to miss my son’s baseball games.

Confronting your own psychology this way could save wasted investment in the wrong thing. You’ll feel like a repetitive 5-year old, but you may discover better alternatives to “more money” given what you really want.

The simplest self-help advice

For most of us our library of self-help material represents a growing list of great advice that we’ll act upon sometime in the future.

Here is what I’ve learned to be the simplest practice for assessing what serves you, and improving the overall quality of your life:

1) Set a monthly calendar appointment to ask yourself:
– What one thing can I start doing that will have the biggest positive impact on my happiness, sense of fulfillment, and peace of mind?
– What one thing can I stop doing that will have the biggest positive impact?
2) Act on the answers

Overcoming decision fatigue

Similar to our physical energy getting depleted, the implication with decision fatigue is that the quality of our decision-making deteriorates with overuse.

Successful people attempt to conserve their “energy” for high-impact decisions, and put less important ones on autopilot.

The trick to doing this is to NOT strive for variation when variation is unnecessary.  You decide where variation is necessary.  Examples might be dressing consistently (Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit daily) and prepping a consistent breakfast for the following day (don’t start your day with “what should I eat?”).

Mindfulness in simple words and practice

I’ve consumed a ton of material on mindfulness, including my three favorite books written by a Buddhist, a Neuroscientist, and a journalist.

In my words, mindfulness is just noticing what it’s like to be you in the present moment.  To practice that, set aside a time each day to just observe –  without judgement – what and how you feel.

Of the many benefits, the most immediate is the effect that practicing authenticity with yourself forces you to become less reactive, and more authentic with others.  Set a 5-minute timer and just notice the pattern of incessant, neurotic thoughts.  You’ll feel a difference after very little practice.  So will those around you.