How to Make Decisions (Uncomplicated)

When I describe the KonMari method to people it is so simple it seems stupid at first. “Make a pile of like-objects, hold each one in your hands and as yourself, ‘does this bring me joy?’ Discard the nos and keep the yesses.”

This is as basic as addition (subtraction?) and is a method that has proven effective for both me and millions of others around the world.

I would never attempt to say that I have an idea as amazing as the KonMari method, but I can’t help but wonder, “what if there were a similar method, not for objects, but for making decisions on how we spend our time?”

 

With that thought, I created this diagram a long time ago, when I was at the height of my Mustachian fandom. I wanted to illustrate the idea that making educated, controlled decisions, no matter how minor they may seem, add up to a more meaningful life over time. A great example of what a best choice might be is probably the most Mustachian activity imaginable: riding a bike. It saves you money by not using gas or increasing the wear and tear on your car (Increases Wealth) it gives you an opportunity to exercise (increases endorphins=Increases Happiness) (increases heart health and muscle tone= Increases Health). Some examples, such as riding a bike, are universally obvious. Others are more personal and depend greatly upon your specific situation, personal values and circumstances.How to Make DecisionsStarting a side business, for instance, could easily end up costing you money if you’re not careful. On the other hand, if your business requires little in the way of overhead and is flexible enough for you to keep your job, it would end up satisfying the goals of increasing health, wealth and happiness- making it a best choice for you. Off the top of my head the idea of walking dogs could be perfect for someone who loves dogs. You would get outside, get exercise, spend time with fluffy animals who are always happy to see you, and increase your wealth by making some extra money. Even if your side business does not satisfy all of these requirements, it is still worthwhile even if there’s only a chance it could meet all the requirements in the future.

Selling jewelry, for instance, may not increase your health and it may cost you a lot to buy supplies, meaning you’d just break even. If the happiness it brings you is worth it however, it might be something to stick with because it is quite possible in the future to have enough business to increase your wealth through it. Overall, I’d say even if your choice only includes two out of three criteria, it is worth pursuing if it’s not possible or practical to make a choice that includes all three.

If the choice meets one requirement, it’s a “good choice.” If it meets 2, it’s a “better choice,” and if it meets three, that it’s the “best choice.”

Though it may seem obvious at this point, if a prospective choice doesn’t enhance your health, wealth or happiness it should no longer be something for we should consider at all. Like the possessions you need to ‘let go’ when you’re tidying, there are choices in life that we have to decide for ourselves to walk away from. Leaving a time commitment, hobby, job or relationship can be a painful decision- especially if we have invested a great deal of time, money and energy on the endeavor. If the choice affects someone else, it can be downright scary to even consider abandoning the commitment. As a motivating thought there is a fundamental defect in staying in these scenarios that are solely for the benefit of other people.

The problem is that all the little choices we make for other people will slowly accumulate into a life that doesn’t advance us to our true destiny.

On the flip side, the more we examine each choice we make in the present moment and evaluate its potential to propel us forward, the closer we come to living to our true potential. No one else can decide for us what it means to be healthy, wealthy, and happy- although there is a great deal of research that points to what can statistically contribute to a higher quality of life for most people. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I’d highly recommend the documentary “Happy” on Netflix instant. It is a captivating film that I am positive will be worth your time.

To give a quick recap in case I lost you:

We make choices at almost every minute of every day.

The choices we make affect our mood, our health, and our financial freedom (or bondage).

When we make choices that increase our health, wealth, and happiness we generally become better people over time.

We can think of it like a software program that mandatorily updates to the newest version every day. Do you want your newest version to work well, to be fluid and run at optimal performance or do you want your newest version to run slow, have kinks and crash all the time? Of course you want it to be better than before! This philosophy and diagram is simply an external cue for being present in every moment; having awareness of our own free will and life force.

Simply trying to feel happy in the moment actually can backfire, but as this wonderful article points out, we can make an effort to plan our time out in a way that incorporates our most rewarding activities.

I’m currently choosing to use mine to spend time with my family and close friends, to make art and music, to learn web development, garden, eat well and move closer to a more minimal, intentional and eco-friendly environment in my home.

How will you use yours?

 

 

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Abandoning Social Media

When I’m fired up about some new concept or cause, I shout breathlessly about it to everyone in earshot- by everyone I mean my husband. He usually rolls his eyes and raises his brows, humoring me for as long as he can stand it. About this, though, he is definitely first in this race. I’m talking about the concept of abandoning social media. I’ve tried to keep up with the Jones’ when it comes to social media, quickly adopting a facebook profile and later on an instagram- also tried my hand at tumblr for a few weeks which was shortlived. I have even kept up with the mandatory baby pictures, holiday family shots and announcements about my life’s events. My husband, on the other hand has dragged his feet reluctantly through these social networks, which doesn’t surprise me as he barely even checks his email. He gave up facebook, shutting down his account, over 6 months ago and he says he couldn’t be happier. I followed suit soon after, cancelling my account without warning. Some of my friends were worried because they couldn’t find me, others who tried to connect thought they’d never hear from me again. I was happy with my decision and didn’t miss it, until I wanted to sell something that was specific to a group I belonged to. Getting my account back, I was swarmed with a gargantuan stream of overwhelmingly unnecessary information. The ads, the banal, the disgusting, the disturbing, the offensive, the pretty, the educational. All mashed together in a loosely threaded grotesque quilt of two dimensional social exchanges. I don’t want it getting back to me that my ex thinks I look hot in my Halloween costume. I don’t want random old people that were friends of my parent’s parents commenting on every thought I type out into the cyberworld. I’m tired of posting things that really mean something to me just to hear a virtual world of crickets chirping. Seeing one of my friends refer to this movement- that champions a greater degree of honesty and transparency in social media has really sealed the deal for me. I applaud it’s founder, Essena O’Neill, a former instagram model who has come out against the vapid, consumer-driven motives behind popular social media posts. I don’t want to be advertised to- whether directly, indirectly or through peer pressure and groupthink. The few individuals that I stayed for have recently terminated their social media accounts as well. The truth is that someone typing “happy birthday” doesn’t have one percent of the same meaning that a quick phone call does. Even if it’s just my family- I want the people that reach out to me beyond the screen to be where I put my time and energy- because they are really there for me. When the choice comes between authentic and trendy, I will choose the real deal every time.

So long facebook, instagram. It wasn’t nice knowing you.