I’s like to talk about a philosophy that I call the “20/80/80 principle.” It’s a way for extracting the greatest amount of value out of what you’re doing, with the least amount of effort, thus freeing you up to do other things.
Now, if you’re going to use this general mindset of freeing yourself up, you need to recognize that it’s not just about making more money. It’s also about freeing yourself up from the current burdens that you may have in terms of lifestyle, and some of the decisions you’ve made.
Back in 1999, I was living in New Jersey. I had a three-bedroom house. It was a gorgeous place. I had furniture. I had lots of great things. And then I moved to England. When I moved to England, I ended up moving into a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment. Because I was moving across the Atlantic, I didn’t want to bring a lot of things with me, so I really got rid of everything.
Everything that I owned literally fit into two boxes – my clothes, my belongings, anything that I needed. Now, of course, living in a furnished apartment was great, because I didn’t have to worry about furniture, dishes, and things of that nature. But I owned almost nothing.
I discovered back then, that there is this freedom, this liberation, that comes from not having a lot of things and from being able to actually live the simplest life possible. There’s less clutter around you, therefore, there are less things to worry about. And because you’re spending less money, you don’t have to worry about making as much money. It give you freedom.
We often hear the expression, necessity is the mother of invention. The reality is though, that when you work out of necessity, your invention is limited. When you come from a place of freedom where you’re able to start living the life as you want to live, you tap into true creativity.
Therefore, instead of accumulating, what you need to do is start appreciating.
What you want to do is simplify your life. You want to be able to look at how you spend your money. Look at your house. Look at your car. And really ask yourself what would be the benefit of getting rid of them. Or downsizing to the point where you have less clutter and fewer financial obligations.
What you get out of that is more freedom. If you do this, it will then free you up to make completely different decisions with your life: how you choose to live your life and how you choose to work.
I know, for myself, having done this,that it is a liberating experience. By getting rid of things, you actually add to the positivity of your life and to the energy you’re able to create. Because you’re not innovating and creating from a place of need, desperation, or survival. Instead you are innovating from a perspective of freedom, pull, creativity, and passion.
So the first step to this is to really just take a hard look at your life and where you’re spending your money and what you have. And then ask yourself, “What do I really, truly need?” Once you do this, you can move onto the next step (which we’ll talk about Wednesday), which is a process and philosophy for being able to, not just free up your belongings, but free up your time.
When you free up your lifestyle and everything around you, and you free up your time, you then have this incredible freedom to truly create extraordinary things.
image credit: worldcourtsofwomen.com
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Stephen Shapiro is the author of five books including “Best Practices Are Stupid” and “Personality Poker” (both published by Penguin). He is also a popular innovation speaker and business advisor.