God created two types of people: employees and entrepreneurs. I like to think of them as two different teams. For one to be truly happy, you need to know which team you are on and stick with it. Neither one is superior, just different.
The problem is each one is trying to recruit others to their team. Don’t do it. It never works.
Employees, let your entrepreneur friends and family be entrepreneurs. They will have their “head in the clouds” and do things that make no sense to you. They won’t listen to you when you tell them to “go find a real job.” It’s that way for a reason. They aren’t like you and don’t like being an employee. Learn to accept it. Yes, they may be broke now, but someday they will probably be rich. Let them pursue their dreams. Encourage those dreams. Don’t crush them.
Entrepreneurs, don’t look down on the employee’s love of security and safety. God made them that way. Besides, someone has to answer the phone and handle the details while you are looking at the big picture. Learn to accept it.
Entrepreneurs, if you are in a business where you recruit others, like network marketing, be leery of bringing on employee minded people. They will never last. It’s better to go find entrepreneurs instead.
However, for both employees and entrepreneurs, the “grass looks greener on the other side” when you are experiencing failure. Don’t fall into this trap. If you are truly on the right team, stay there. If you’ve been in a job less than a year and dream of starting a business, then you are probably on the wrong team. If you’ve had a business for less than a year and dream of the security of a job, then you are probably on the wrong team as well.
Employees, never start a business because you can’t find a job. It never works. You will drive yourself crazy. It’s better to get unemployment and build up your skill sets and keep looking for a job. If you are truly unhappy and really feel that you are on the wrong team, then go for it and start the business.
Entrepreneurs, if your business is failing, don’t quit. Reassess and rebuild or start another business. Don’t let employees turn you into something you’re not. It will never make you happy. Don’t let employees crush your dreams. If you do need a job for the short term, don’t stay long. You will never be happy. If you are thinking about getting a job and your business is fairly new (less than a year old), then maybe you are on the wrong team to begin with.
Read these words and live them. Your relations with friends and family and your happiness will be a lot easier.
Those voices inside your head won’t be quiet. All you can hear is your boss telling you to have those reports done by Friday or your daughter reminding you that there’s soccer practice this Saturday or a parent’s voice telling you that they’re going to need you to help them drop off their car at the mechanic’s.
Most of us have somewhere to be each day, not to mention the everyday fire drills we get put through at work or at home. It can feel very overwhelming, and our minds can get noisy. Some of us even have echoes of voices from experiences of many years ago.
How do you deal with all of that internal mental clutter?
Mental clutter is something I’ve worked on my entire life. I used to feel like, no matter what, I constantly had some sort of mental clutter—I always had something going on in my mind. If it wasn’t something new causing that anxious cluttered feeling, it was something from the past creeping back into the present to haunt me. Some days were worse than others, but it was there every day.
And then, after fixing several other parts of my life, I was able to cut down on the mental clutter…
Your mind and your body aren’t standing in separate corners of the the room. It’s much easier is for a physically unhealthy person to experience a poor mental state. The brain is a delicate organ and we have to treat it right. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend Change Your Brain Change Your Life by Daniel G. Amen. I was impressed with this book’s in-depth explanation of the ties between the human brain and the human body.
For me, I notice I feel more anxiety when I have an empty stomach, have not exercised in over a week, eat junk food, and don’t get enough sleep. I discovered once I changed these things—once I focused on my body through diet and exercise and proper sleep—the mental clutter also began clearing away.
Improving my health was an important first step.
If you’re like me, the old me, then you’re saying to yourself that you can’t change your circumstances. And with that attitude, I was absolutely right.
But once I decided I’d had enough of the mental clutter, I had no choice but to to change my circumstances—I had no choice but to remove myself from circumstances that added to my mental clutter.
I stopped associating with certain people, I changed my spending habits, I downsized my possessions. I started with myself, and I changed my circumstances.
Over time, things change, and instead of letting them change on their own, I decided to change those things myself. Some of those changes were difficult, but the world didn’t stop spinning.
I stopped associating with a few folks who encouraged bad habits and the world didn’t end.
I changed expectations with family on what things I did, and didn’t want, in my life and they supported me.
My circumstances are completely different now from a few months ago and I’m miles happier. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying everyone needs to quit their job, or take any egregious actions, but please understand that your problems likely aren’t as bad as you think they are.
Don’t be fooled by anyone. You are in control of your circumstances. You are in control of you.
This was one of my biggest issues: my haunting past. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let people down, and I’ve made some plain old dumb decisions. But I’ve also been extremely hard on myself, unnecessarily hard on myself, neurotic about the mistakes and bad decisions I’d made.
Sometimes I’d fall asleep replaying my whole day in my head, every word and conversation looking for mistakes or ways to improve who I was.
Now, every time I feel anxiety caused from some past experience, I ask myself a few different questions: Is that situation relevant now? Was that situation even that serious? Am I blowing it out of proportion? Was that situation in my control? Does what that person/family member/friend said actually have any validity or are they just acting out?
To stop being so hard on myself, I had to learn how to discern the things that mattered and didn’t matter, and the above questions helped. I also had to learn what things were in and out of my control. If something was out of my control, I had to accept this fact so I could focus on the things I could control—the things I could change.
What Makes You Tick?
To find out what made me tick, I sat down and drew a vertical line down a piece of paper to mark down on one side “Bad Days” and the other side “Good Days.” For each scenario, “Good Day” or “Bad Day,” I thought of the foods I ate, people I saw, places I visited etc. I couldn’t remember every detail but it gave me a few places to start with when it came to my diet and relationships.
Then, I bought a few tools that helped me with my frame of mind. We all need the right tools to help get rid of the mental clutter. The book I mentioned written by Daniel G. Amen was a great place to start. The book Joshua and I wrote, Live a Meaningful Life, show’s how we replaced bad habits with good ones when it comes to diet and relationships specifically. I even invested money in a counselor for a few sessions to help me get an unbiased opinion on a few things. To get better, I knew I needed to have the right tools. Those tools can be different for everyone, but don’t expect to fix everything on your own.
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I pulled into my driveway on a sunny March afternoon like I had hundreds of times before. Before I exited my Jeep I could see the screen of my kitchen window was shredded and a power cord from some electronic device was dangling from the sill. It was clear that an unwelcome visitor had used the window as a point of exit from my home. What was unclear, was the condition of my beloved golden retriever, Coda.
I cracked open the kitchen door and yelled for Coda. The normal scurry of his nails across the wood floors was absent. There was no bark of relief or whimper of fear. I was afraid that Coda either fled the house during the crime or was killed. I called the police from my cell phone and waited outside.
Two police officers arrived and entered my home with guns drawn. A few moments later Coda came barreling out of the house and into my arms. Apparently the burglars locked Coda in a bedroom while they alleviated me of most of my possessions. They took my 46-inch television, video game system, and an assortment of handheld electronic toys, from iPods to cameras.
I suppose you could say this started me on my path of minimalism. But you would be wrong.
The months that followed the burglary were some of the toughest of my life. Not because my stuff was stolen, but because just two weeks before the burglary I had shut down my martial arts school of six years and was going through bankruptcy. And I couldn’t find a job. I sold anything that I could get a dollar for to buy groceries and keep the lights on. I sold all of my DVD’s, books, and the old equipment remaining from my martial arts business.
Some might think this pushed me further down the road of minimalism. And they would be wrong.
I didn’t want to be a victim of a theft crime. I didn’t want to sell my Fight Club DVD to get cash to buy a meal. Before the burglary, I was leaning on my big screen television and video games (not to mention a hell of a lot of beer) to numb the woes of my business failings. The last thing I wanted was to get rid of my stuff.
Eventually the emptiness I felt after losing my business shifted. At some point I looked at myself in the mirror through another morning’s hangover and I knew it was time to change. I was ready to start putting the pieces back together, and I was going to start with clearing my physical clutter. I made a decision to get rid of ten items per day for thirty days.
Although most of my sales-worthy possessions were already gone by that time, I still had plenty of clutter to purge. It started with donating old clothes and shoes to Goodwill and soon crossed into territory of emotional crossfire.
Did I still need the karate uniforms that I used to wear when I taught my classes? Did I need the large yearly group photos of my former students? What about the black belt that I knotted around my waist nearly every day for six years? I kept the black belt and decided that everything else was redundant in the memories they cued.
With each drawer pulled and closet door opened there seemed to be an item I kept unnecessarily for memory’s sake. I evaluated material possessions that I had emotional attachment to and made the decision to let them go—from an old broken cell phone with the first text from an old girlfriend, to my prized punching bag I could vividly remember my father hanging in our old basement when I was twelve years old. I realized memories are within us, not within our things.
At the end of the thirty days, two out of the three bedrooms in my home were completely empty. The only furniture that remained was a bed, a couch, a pub table, and a chair. A small part of me felt free.
That taste of freedom made me question everything I owned. I canceled my cell phone contract and funneled all calls and texts through Google Voice. I pared down my clothing to only what would fit in a single load of laundry. With each item I relinquished, my sense of peace and freedom grew. I gained a long missing sense of clarity and made a major decision.
I decided it was time for me to leave Columbus, Ohio (my city of nearly twenty years). I left my three bedroom house and moved into a 400 square foot studio apartment in Austin, Texas. Within three hours of arriving in Austin, I drove to one of those huge car malls and sold my Jeep. I was ready to rebuild my life. I was ready to let go of the unnecessary stuff in my life.
These days I enjoy my new life in Austin. I go to the gym, take Coda on about eight walks a day, and contribute to others largely in the areas of weight loss and fitness through my work online.
There is a pleasant flow to my life now because I made a conscious choice to eliminate the things—whether they be possessions, persons, or habits—that disrupt my path of contribution and personal growth. I’m streamlining towards strength. And it started with a decision to live with less.
Vic Magary is a personal trainer, blogger, and dog lover. He helps people lose fat and get into great shape at his website. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+
Afterword by Joshua Fields Millburn
We don’t accept guest essays at The Minimalists, but occasionally we ask friends to write something that our readers can benefit from. I first met Vic this year when he lived in Columbus (before he moved a few thousand miles away). He’s a great guy with a great story: he’s been through a lot of shit, he knows how to overcome adversity, and, even though he’s 40, he’s likely in better shape than anyone I know. I get a lot of my personal fitness and diet advice from Vic. Check out his website for some great personal fitness content and inspirational life lessons.
Life as whole relies so much on our attitude. How we respond and react to situations. Keeping our cool in tough circumstances. That is what true leadership is. Having the wherewhithal to respond appropriately.
But how do we do that on a regular basis? We have to learn the appropriate actions.
In fact, it is actually better to change your actions before trying to change your attitude.
By changing your actions, your attitude can then change with it.
The simplest example of this is that when talking on the phone, especially in a tense conversation, it is advised that you smile. You cannot help but have a better attitude when you do so.
My number one takeaway from The Power of Full Engagement was how powerful having rituals and systems in place can be. I have read about this idea before, but it had never fully resonated with me.
The reason is, thinking hard and creatively makes our brain work. It can only do so for a certain amount of time before it needs to recover.
By building in specific habits and systems into your life, whether at work or at home, it allows your brain to think less. When you do an activity automatically, your brain can concentrate on other tasks.
A simple example of a habit that most of us do not think about is brushing our teeth. It is completely natural that every morning when we get up and every night before bed that we brush our teeth (I hope so anyway!).
Our brains are not expending a lot of energy to remember to brush our teeth. It has been ingrained into us for years. If we forget to brush our teeth for some reason, we often realize it because something feels out of place.
On the other hand, flossing tends to be one of those activities (at least for me) that is neglected. Why is this? The primary reason is that it was never ingrained as a habit. We have to think harder about flossing in order to remember it.
There also seems to be some kind of angst towards flossing, which further degrades our desire to do so.
How does brushing our teeth and flossing have anything to do with being engaged at work?
If you are trying to establish habits at home, it will take more energy because you are required to think harder about those habits. That can have an affect on your performance at work.
Once a habit is established, you no longer have to consciously think. The habit is automatic, leaving your mind to think about other items.
This is the power of having habits and systems built into your life. Stop thinking so much, and you will become more engaged.
Are you looking to hire a heating and cooling contractor? Here are some tips you need to know before choosing a heating and cooling professional.
The first thing you need to do is check the license of the professional you are working with. In Ohio and most other states, heating and air contractors are required to be licensed. However, sometimes, certain contractors will not keep the license up to date. It’s best to know these things before you get started with the project!
Next, check out their worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s comp is also required in Ohio and most other areas. The contractor has a certificate showing the proof of insurance that he can show you. Make sure to see this certificate before getting heating and cooling work done on your house.
Third, check their liability insurance. Who pays for damage to your house if the heating contractor messes up during your furnace repair? If they don’t have proper liability insurance, that person could be you! Again, find these things out in advance.
Another good way to find out if you have a good contractor is to ask your friends and family. Going on Facebook or other social media sites can reveal plenty of resources for you.
You should also check out the BBB record of the contractor before bringing them on board for your furnace work. It’s also a good idea to back this up with reviews from third party sources like Angie’s List or Yelp.
You should also ask your contractor for references and call them before hiring the heating and air contractor. Most will have references on hand that they can show you before hiring them.
Ask your contractor what their specialties are. There are so many different types of heating and cooling systems. One guy might be good at fixing gas furnaces and another might prefer electric heat. Some love doing geothermal and others have no clue how to fix it. By matching your needs with the contractor’s skills, you will both have a pleasant experience.
Finally, if you are comparing estimates from multiple contractors, get several estimates in writing and compare them. If you get estimates from multiple contractors, be sure that they are both quoting the exact same things before choosing one. Sometimes, there’s a good reason for the price discrepancy.
If you follow these tips, you will have a great experience with your heating and air contractor for years to come.
A comment I heard recently made me chuckle, and then made me think. I don’t remember the entire context of the conversation, but I did write the comment down.
Someone had recently had flown on Delta. As is typical of conversations regarding the airlines, some complaints were made. My coworker said, “Delta is an older airline, so they must know what they are doing.”
Ha! What a statement!
Let’s break this down a bit.
Delta is an older airline. Ok, so what? Let’s name some “old” airlines that are no longer in existence:
Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) – 1927- 1991
Trans World Airlines (TWA) – 1925 – 2001 (declared bankruptcy and merged with American Airlines)
It is obvious from the list above that no matter how long an airline has been around (or any company for that matter), that does not guarantee that they “know what they are doing.”
Kodak has been in existence for more than a century, and just declared bankruptcy. There is a fantastic article in The Economist about the fall of Kodak.
Kodak obviously knew what they were doing for most of the 20th century. But when technology suddenly changed, impacting Kodak’s primary market, they didn’t change with it. They no longer knew what they were doing because they were stuck in their former way of doing things.
The digital photography revolution happened, and they missed the boat. Ironically, Kodak was the company that first invented the digital camera, which is what ultimately led to its demise.
The lesson of this story is, no one is too old (or too big) to fail. The marketplace is changing too rapidly anymore. We all have to stay on our toes in order to survive.
Know what you are doing. You may need to completely change what you are doing once you know. But that might prevent you from sharing the fate of the airlines and Kodak.
Carlos Scarpero AKA "Mr. Leads" is an internet marketing consultant. who provides internet marketing, SEO, LinkedIn training and much more to business owners throughout the Dayton metro region. He can be reached at www.Mr-Leads.com.
Mr. Leads LinkedIn Bootcamp is your step by step guide to everything you ever wanted to know about LinkedIn. Over 4 hours of video based training.