Brain Change

Focus on life through a simplified mind

I am burning my Day Planner

December 31, 2010 I will be setting to FLAME my Franklin Covey Planner that I have used for the previous five years as a manager.  I guess it is my own little New Years Resolution.

I am going to start the new year out with one less bulky object to pack around as I travel for my job.  This is a definitely a change for me and I will have to challenge my fear of the unknown. 

I can see how panicked some of you task oriented peeps may be but here is a list of FAQ‘s and my replies.

How will you keep track of  Birthdays, Appointments, Events?

I-Phone Calendar

How will you keep track of your TASKS?

I-Phone/Moleskine notebook

Pretty easy anwers right?

Also remember that by having applied minimalism to my life I now have fewer tasks that need to be done anyway.  And only important ones remain.  It is not so hard to keep track of Tasks when you only have a few that matter.

I-Phone (which I already have) is going to take the place of my Franklin Covey calendar.  My phone already syncs with Outlook Calendar which my company uses.  I have been overly redundant putting dates in my planner, phone, and outlook to remember information.  I will now only be inputting to I-Phone which will sync with outlook creating a backup for anything I may have needed to remember.

MOLESKINE is going to help me take messages, jot notes, preserve thoughts, and remember tasks.   I know I could probably use the Iphone notepad but some things I feel I need to write down and preserve with ink.  It’s also a pain in the ass to type much more than a few quick words into the notepad on the phone.

 So by removing the planner from my life I will be doing my part to save trees, (no more planner pages) as well as saving myself some money, (not having to buy planner pages yearly). 


I can hardly wait the HAMSTER WHEEL OF DEATH (evergrowingneverendingtasklist)will be shed from my life. 

Join Back with me as I will show the funeral pyre of the planner on Jan 1, 2011

If burning you day planner is something you would like to do but the thought may frighten you a bit, Check out my post on Challenging your Fear or this post by digital nomad Jenny 27 ways to kick fears ass

Also be sure to check out Leo Babauta at zen habits.  Leo is great at simplifying and focusing.  His writing has help me to get rid of my planner.

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November 22, 2010 Posted by | minimalism, productivity, simplicity | , , , , | 4 Comments

Challenge Your Fear

There is nothing to fear but fear itselfFranklin D. Roosevelt

I wanted to write a post on fear because lately I have been challenging my fears and the results have been very surprising. 

I want to be able to frame fear for you in the context it should be.  As a motivator to do fantastic things with your life.  Most commonly it permeates our lives by paralyzing our actions and clouding our thoughts with doubt. 

Seth Godin in his bestselling book Linchpin, details what he calls the “resistance”, or our “Lizard Brain”.  Our lizard brain is as Seth stated “hungry,scared,angry, and horny”.  These emotions are the only thing the lizard brain knows.  And evolution has done two things for us. 

1) Placed the lizard brain directly on top of the spine so every action we commit has to be filtered through the lizard brain. 

2) Ensuring our survival the lizard brain continually seeks to keep us in our “comfort zone”

Anything new, exciting, different and unknown will be promptly squished by the lizard brain.  It does not want us standing up and making a difference.  It wants us to stay quiet, sit down, go unnoticed so that the predators of life will not sniff us out and devour us.

So.. How then do we go about changing our lives from what they are now if our own psyche is trying so hard to keep doing the status quo?

Acknowledge the fear and then DIVE RIGHT IN.  You absolutely will not grow if you always seek whats comfortable.  You will never take a risk.  Everett Bogue in this Post said that risk is really fearing what you are going to lose.  And yes I am going to point to  minimalism and tell you this.  “If you have less things you will fear less things”.

Have you thought about all the stuff you would lose if you lost your job?  


Are you working for your growth?

Are you working because you have gifts to offer the world?

Or are you working so you don’t lose your shit?

If answered yes to the last statement it is time to get rid of some stuff.  And get rid of some fear

If each item in your life was compared to a single strand of spider silk curling around your body, trapping your arms to your side then having a few items would be no big deal.  You could easily break the strands of silk and start over. 

What if you then owned a hundred items? The strands then become more stable and you can start to feel pressure on your chest when you try to breathe.  How about we jump to a thousand items? or several thousand as most developed countries citizens have. 

You can barely breathe from the tightness of the rope and the Black Widow called  Consumerism has it’s fangs sunk deep into your flesh, bleeding you dry, taking the life force from you.

I hope as you read this post you reflect in your own life, what holds you back? what do you fear?  Consider the fear, observe it objectively, and confront it head on. 

Chances are if your Lizard brain is telling you “stop” and “lets play it safe”.  You are on the right path to discovering some great things.

Here are some fears that I recently overcame and the results of confronting them.

1) Posting this blog on Facebook

I was scared to death about putting this blog out to my FB friends, this blog was my dirty little secret.  I stressed about what people would think, what they would say.  I finally decided that it did not matter.  What I have to say is more important than petty worries of fitting into the mold and hit the post button.  The results?  Not much.. No negative comments.  A few good view days and a few really positive comments.  My work is out for the world to see and it feels great!

2) Going to a spinning class

Spinning is exercising on a stationary bike with a group of people set to music.  It is a sport dominated by women.  So what would people think if I am the only guy in a room full of chicks doing a chick thing?  Absolutely nothing.  Inside my head I could hear my old petty self calling me every pansy name in the book but you know what?  It’s a damn tough workout, it kicks my ass and gets me in better shape, and I feel Fantastic when im done.  I would challenge anyone thinking it is just for chicks to try it out.  Most likely… if you scoff and scowl… you probably wouldn’t make it through a workout.

3) Tossing out a lot of stuff

Yes I feared tossing out all my clothes, tossing out my CD’s, tossing out multiple pieces of furniture.  Tossing out pile after pile of useless junk.  The thoughts that were pervading my mind constantly were,  “Holy crap I paid a lot for that” or, “What if I need this item again“? The peace that has come with having more space, in my closet, in my house, and in my mind.  I cannot describe… You will have to experience it for yourself Everett Bogue again made another great post about not believing anything anyone says you have to experience it yourself.  I challenge you all to the same thing…

Don’t believe me go experience it for yourself…Challenge the status quo..face your fears.

Some of the fears I am currently working on overcoming currently are.

1) Interviewing an “A” list blogger

2) Guest posting on popular blogs

3) Helping my wife become a stay at home mother

4) Becoming location independent

5) Earning full time income online (clever way to phrase it eh?)

By the way here are a few people I love to read that have crossed the limitations in the traditional sense and are doing some really fantastic things.

Gianpaolo Pietri – Gianpaolo recently quit his day job and moved to New York currently supporting himself online running the site

Nina Yau – Nina runs the site where she recently handed in her notice and is leaving the corporate world on November 30th.

Everett Bogue – Who quit his job last year and supports himself with his Minimalist Business and The Art of Being Minimalist E-books.  Everett is the Jugarnaught of minimalism and runs the blog

Henri Juntilla – Who supports himself entirely online and has great free content on his site.  As well as selling the great e-book Passionate Living

Leo Babauta – Who wrote The simple guide to a minimalist life and blogs about simple living on at his site

The links to products are all affiliate

In conclusion I would leave you with this quote:

He has not learned the lesson of life who  every day does not surmount a fear~Ralph Waldo Emerson

what fears do you have?

What fears have you conquered?

I would love to hear your comments

(hint: leave a reply and press post comment button and lets start a discusion)

Please share this if you think it will help someone

November 17, 2010 Posted by | minimalism, motivation | , , , , | 4 Comments

Living room complete

My wife and I have been working on painting the interior of the house for the last two weekends.  We are mostly done, with a hallway and a room in the rear of the house left to do.  What we have been able to accomplish is some major paring down of stuff.  When you paint it is a great way to be able to remove every thing from a room and replace only those things that matter the most.  We also shampooed the carpets and then one by one added items back in.  Here is an example of just one room in our house what we were able to do.  What a fresh feeling to be ablet to relax in a wide open living space.

Our Living Room


TV/DVD/Dish network reciever/Xbox/Wii/Games for machines


Sectional couch/coffee table


Area Rug/Clock/Grandparents Whiskey Bottle collection on corner shelf/Rubber Tree/Ivy/Plant

14 items total, I know I grouped up the games and whiskey bottle collection.  This may be far from minimalist but it is fantastic.  The rooms is filled with space that we never knew we had before.  Here is what we were able to eliminate from the room. 

Bookshelf/Small Corner Table/Dishes hanging on wall/3 Porcelain Dolls/2 8×10 mirrors/40-50 DVDs (to be stored as digital media per previous post)/DVD shelf/6 framed photos and many unframed that were propped up around room/60 or so VHS tapes/Potpouri container/decorative jars/Wind Chime/Coin Display(moved to my office)

So by minimalist standards we are still crazed consumerists but by our own standard we are moving slowly toward the lifestyle that more is not betterBetter is better.  When you start to pare down your possesions to those that truly matter you end up with those items of exceptional Quality and those of exceptional meaning in your life.  I could post how our dining room, front room and kitchen have all changed but it would be almost redundant to the living room.  We cut and slashed a lot of stuff over the last two weekends freeing our space up significantly.  I am getting closer to being able to create a list of everything I own without being innundated with useless objects on the list.

November 14, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism | , , | Leave a comment

Can you make the move to digital?

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Antoine de Saint-Exupe

You should not have a single CD left in your house!  The pile of plastic boxes with silver discs inside has plagued us long enough.  It is time to eliminate another needless space waster.  Will you be able to rid yourself of these?  I did.  Well not quite but im close.  Here is what I am doing..

 Two days ago I was trying to figure out the next step on my journey and I read a post by Sara Raush at her website Life more lived.  Sara mentioned going to digital with all your movies and CD’s and I was all in.  I have an entire crate of Compact Discs in my garage.  (around 200) and I also have around 150 DVDs.  I began to understand that I could place all of this information onto one sleek, sexy, portable hard drive.  I would eliminate approximatley 350 possesions and still retain the same amount of information.  What could be better?

So after walking into my local Radio shack and purchasing a portable hard drive.  I began to load CDs into my Itunes and save them over to the hard drive.  After loading all my discs onto the drive i put them up for auction on E-bay.  I am trying to recoup the cost of the hard drive with my CD auction.  I also believe time would be better served by selling them as a lot vs. trying to sell them individually.  Next step… load all my movies onto the drive and auction them off as well.   Any movie  can then be watched over my laptop, of course its not a big screen TV with surround sound but I could watch a movie I wanted pretty much wherever and whenever I want,  I will have portable media over my computer.  Start thinking about what you could eliminate.  After my DVD’s are gone I am going to try to go paperless with bill payments. 

What else could you move to digital?

Have you had any luck reducing clutter in your life?

I would love to hear your stories.  Use the comment button to share them.

Please share this with your friends if you think it will help.

November 3, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism, Personal Finance, simplicity | , , , | 4 Comments


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