Sunday, April 19, 2009

Work Less, Have More, Be Happy!

A note from for Monday April 20 2009

Good day there all you good folks and welcome to another shiny new week.

The weekend here was filled with situations and conversations that lead to some amazing awarenesses, and deep lessons about life, relationships, commitments, and the ever needed, leadership. Some terrific moments were experienced.

To compliment the lessons we've enrolled out friend Philip to get this week started with an offering that, if you give it some open-minded time, will speak directly to you. You'll see that your truly can......

Work Less, Have More, Be Happy!
by Philip Humbert

The easy solution to the promise in the headline is simple: Choose two. There may be other solutions, such as working smarter, shopping for bargains, inheriting wealth or winning the lottery, but the common and simple solution we can all implement is to choose wisely. Unfortunately, few do.

This week I watched a friend wrestle with one of the great imponderables of life. He and his wife planned a weekend on the Oregon coast to relax, enjoy great food and sit by the fireplace in a nice condo they rented. Then, trouble came. He was invited to an important fundraiser that included premium seats for Mozart's timeless opera, Don Giovanni. What's a guy to do?!
Financially, he can't do both. And then there's that thing about being in two places at once. He and his wife would enjoy both experiences, and that's the dilemma. How to choose?

It's easy to choose between Don Giovanni and a poke with a sharp stick, but how's a guy supposed to choose between a romantic weekend and a great business opportunity? That's just not fair. Or easy. Life is cruel.

This may be a slightly humorous example, but it's also typical of the choices that confuse our pursuit of the World Class Life we all want. We must choose between so many good things!

Should the kids go to private schools, or should we save for retirement? Should we take a vacation or remodel the kitchen? Should I work harder to earn more, or go home to the family? Too often, the answer to these questions is simple--we simply say yes!

And then a few weeks or months later, we wonder why we are stressed, confused and over-whelmed.

Unfortunately, we have been encouraged to believe we can "have it all." We should be able to earn more, work less, live better, travel more, relax often, enjoy our kids and achieve success. Why should anyone settle for less? It's just not fair. We shouldn't have to choose!

Well. I have bad news. Life is rarely "fair." And I think that's why the Spanish philosopher, Ortega, observed that, "Life is fired at us point-blank, and we must choose."

Sure, we hear about the Oprah's or the Bill Gates or others who seem to be rich, famous, successful and happy, and perhaps they are. Although, I do notice that even these seemingly blessed individuals periodically file for divorce, get sick, or experience loss. The recent death of John Travolta and Kelly Preston's sixteen year-old son hit me hard. Life is not fair!

So I come back to Ortega's observation that "we must choose." It seems to me that truly successful people are clear about their priorities and choices. They commit to pursuing a limited number of key goals, and devote their lives to them. Here are two principles I believe are true and helpful:

1. We can have anything we choose, but not everything we want. Our appetites almost always exceed our grasp. If you can read this and have internet access, you have all the tools you need to change careers, travel, achieve wealth or fame or power. But it's unlikely that you can do all of them at once. We "must choose."

2. He who finishes happiest, wins. I don't think finishing life with lots of toys or frequent flier miles, or a big house, or several cars, or a yacht guarantees happiness. But, spending our lives doing something important, investing ourselves in things that bring meaning and fulfillment and joy, can bring happiness. The man or woman who finishes happiest, wins. And happiness rarely (occasionally, but rarely) comes from having more stuff.

This does not mean having things or accumulating wealth is wrong or bad. Of course not! Enjoy all the stuff you can honestly and fairly get! We are the richest people in history. We are blessed! We can enjoy lots of stuff! Go for it! But, also be honest and maintain some humility.

Happiness comes from clarity. It comes from deciding who we are, what we value, and how we will spend our lives, and that comes taking time to think clearly, make smart choices, and plan wisely.

In the end, a World Class Life is about happiness. It's about living your own life in your own way, according to your own values. The world encourages us to work harder, do more and buy more, but it rarely encourages us to think clearly and live smarter. If that appeals to you, do something different! If you keep on doing what the neighbors do, you'll get the stress they've got. Be your own person!

Join us next month for our World Class Life Conference and live better.

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