How we see it - in long form.
'To simplify’ is a relative term. The ‘simple’ for the baker of breads is a ‘simple’ far different from the ‘simple’ for the builder of empires. Yet making the decision to find a solution may not be all that galactically apart in complexity. Better yet, cook or colonialist, not creating a mess in the first place; that’s the way to go.
From experience the skilled baker knows that when working with whole wheat the adding of too much yeast and too little flour will result in a loaf of poor texture. From experience the smart builder of empires knows that when invading a nation the use of too much firepower and too little brainpower will result in blowback; for instance a country effectively disassembled, destabilizing the region, pouring out refugees and thousands of newly vengeful fighting-age men.
Or, scaling down that not-so-hypothetical scenario, maybe it's the restaurant racking up crappy TripAdvisor reviews due to poor levels of service. Is the entire staff simply not sufficiently trained, or is it a single ill-tempered sous chef gumming up logistics and making the service staff miserable? Or is it the slacking assistant manager who needs to go? Or could be the solution is even more fundamental: The owner is just not right for the business or the concept was a loser from the get-go. Then maybe it’s time to cut losses and move on.
The point is: Working inside the problem, or actually being the problem, often the principal party, for instance the incompetent builder of empires or the inexperienced owner of restaurants, may not see what’s coming. And once the problem (or crisis) is upon them, they may not grasp the cause or source. Unable to recognize the deficiency, see (or admit) the fault, corrective action is not taken. Then comes the business-ending TripAdvisor reviews or the rise of a rapidly expanding and on-the-move terrorist army.
On the subject of building and disassembling empires, we have a lot of opinions but we may not otherwise be of much use. In business, though, in a diverse range of business and industries, we’re here to help.
Do you really need all that stuff?
We are not anti-materialistic and we appreciate the attainment of sucess. We like our toys and we like the freedom that comes with having money. But there is a point at which you cease to control your belongings and your belongings control you. At the base level, a person gets out of control with their credit cards, ends up with a pile of stuff, a mountain of debt and a proverbial sack of rocks weighing heavy on their shoulders, day in, day out.
But even if you can afford it, if money is no issue, do you really need all that stuff? Back in 1987’s ‘Wall Street’, Oliver Stone’s classic critique of one-percenter sociopathy, an as-yet-still-sharp Charlie Sheen portraying Bud Fox asks of Michael Douglas’ master of the universe, Gordon Gekko: “Tell me, Gordon--when does it all end? How many yachts can you waterski behind? How much is enough?”
The line was maybe not the best, because it’s doubtful Gordon was much of a waterskier and yachts are not much fun to ski behind, but the point was made, if not a news flash as parable: Greed and the need to acquire ever-more greater piles of stuff does not bring happiness. Typically you get just the opposite: Negative karmic return and a ball-and-chain effect. The latter means, simply, you are stuck in one place and/or are of an enduringly belabored frame of mind because you have to pay for and take care of your stuff.
Don’t get us wrong, having money is great. Being rich, even better. But what really counts is how you spend your money. A recent piece in (ironically enough) the Wall Street Journal nailed it. As explained by their sources:
Prof (Ryan) Howell, associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, decided to look at what’s going on. In a study published earlier this year, he found that people think material purchases offer better value for the money because experiences are fleeting, and material goods last longer. So, although they’ll occasionally splurge on a big vacation or concert tickets, when they’re in more money-conscious mode, they stick to material goods. But in fact, Prof. Howell found that when people looked back at their purchases, they realized that experiences actually provided better value.
“What we find is that there’s this huge misforecast,” he says. “People think that experiences are only going to provide temporary happiness, but they actually provide both more happiness and more lasting value.” And yet we still keep on buying material things, he says, because they’re tangible and we think we can keep on using them.
Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich has reached similar conclusions. “People often make a rational calculation: I have a limited amount of money, and I can either go there, or I can have this,” he says. “If I go there, it’ll be great, but it’ll be done in no time. If I buy this thing, at least I’ll always have it. That is factually true, but not psychologically true. We adapt to our material goods.”
Maybe selling it all, loading up a backpack and hopping a plane to Costa Rica is not for you. (Maybe not.) For those with young children, living the expat life may seem a less practical lifestyle transition. Still, prioritizing your daily existence, that can’t hurt. Stating the obvious (and unoriginal), it goes like this:
Take care of yourself – body, mind and spirit.
Take care of your family.
Take care of business.
After that, go karmically golden: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It’s not brain surgery; it’s not rocket science. But how many people do you know who actually pull it off?
Getting to #4, feeling at ease with life enough that a person is ready to spread the good vibe to humans beyond and unknown, that’s pretty much impossible if the achievement and sustainment of #1 is not realized. If a person does not take care of self, starting with maintaining the health of their body, the mind is never fully online. The spirit, not the ghostly sort, but just that wholesome and enduring sense that all is well, they never even get close.
How can a person fully and effectively (read optimally) care for family and business when their body and mind is operating at substandard levels? If that’s where you think you are, then, indeed, you should think about transitioning your lifestyle.
Need an objective (if not necessarily nice) appraisal of your lifestyle? Need help with a transition? We’re here to help.
MORE TO COME