Can You Add More to Your Life by Subtracting

We are always adding to our lives people ask this and that and we say yes to a number of them to each thing you say yes to you say no to something else. This is because of the finite function of time. There is only so much so when you say yes to one thing another will fall off the schedule even if that is not the plan. So it is important to be selective about what we say yes to because more isn’t always better.

Let’s walk through this: Your spouse, child, or boss asks you to do something and inside of you lets out a large groan. This does not pass your lips and the person you are talking to doesn’t see it. Then you look them in the eye and say “Okay” as chipper a mood as you can manage. All the while you are feeling dread sweep over you like the flood waters swamping Louisiana. I’m sure you’ve done this. The number of times you do this might vary in response to how you are feeling and your level of empathy at the time. As a fairly empathic person I can tell you this has happened to me more times than I can count. One of the reasons I did not say “no” is I didn’t feel I had the right to say “no” I know what it was like as I have been there. Like a deer in headlights wanting to say “No’ but unable to. If your self confidence is low it is so much harder to tell someone ‘no’ and there are people out there who can see that in you from across the room and they will prey on your inability to stand up to them.  

It is quite normal for people to add things to try and make their lives better. Take new year’s resolutions for example. I’m betting you added exercising, or maybe weight loss by adding a diet to your resolutions. It is very normal to want to add things to our life. We think that is what will get us to where we want to be. I mean exercising and eating salads everyday would get us to the health and weight goal that you have set right. But how long can you power through your goals, 3 days 3 weeks or 3 months? Few of us get past 3 months. Why because of all the things we have going in our lives. We didn’t take any away and our lives are full. We don’t have any extra time laying around. It is filled with shopping, cleaning, cooking, working, relaxing. I mean when was the last time you sat staring off into space because you had nothing better to do. Like Never, right? That is because of all the things you have put into your life. So the only way to add to your life is to take some things out. 

People often believe that to be more successful the need to be more decisive, inclusive, enthusiastic, patient, or a better communicator. Picture yourself as a bucket. And it is filled with all the things of your life. Like water in the bucket. I’m betting your bucket is to the brim. If your bucket is not full maybe you can add to it. But if you are like most of us adding anything will make your life gush over the side running down the side and all over the floor. 

Today we are talking about adding quality to your life by taking things out. We have all agreed to do something for someone else that we didn’t really want to do. Maybe you think this is the way to be empathic. Maybe you don’t feel you have the right to say “no.” It is impossible to add things to a full life without taking some things out.

How many distractions do you allow into your life? Which ones are they? Do you get stuck in the promise of tomorrow? How bout the pursuit of perfection? Man, if you looked up the definition to perfection in the past you would have seen my picture. Why do something at all if I can’t do It perfectly? Have you ever felt like that? That kept me from succeeding at so many things. What about the sting of regret has that ever made you do something for someone that you didn’t want to? Have you ever started something because of the desire for wealth or the need of notoriety? I remember setting in job interviews, I took the job not because I loved the company or product but because of the money they were offering. Those jobs didn’t usually last very long. It is hard to do over and over something you don’t like to do. When it got hard and it always got hard it was so easy to just walk out. That is just letting myself get distracted from what I was there to learn and what I wanted out of my life.

A surgical approach may be needed in your life. In order to have more of what you want you have to cut out some of the other things in your life that are not as important. It is so easy to get stuck on things that have little importance. Things like tv, movies, social media, gaming and email. The number of hours that you can get sucked can wipe out an entire day. It is okay to have each of these in your life. It is important to make sure they fit into the time that you allot for them. Maybe you reduce them by 15 or 30 mins so that you can input something else that you want done. But so many things that are loud are of little consequence while somethings that have huge consequences are so quiet. So do a little surgery on your life and cut out part of the things that fill your life but do not fill you with passion.

But making more of your life requires commitment and action. If you commit to the things that drive others goals and spend your time doing things that help them, you will have little time for the actions required to make your goals come true. You need to edit from your life the things that do not move you in the direction you want to go. By removing complications, clutter and noise from your life you remove obstacles and barriers to having the things you want. This provides a clearer path to something better. That is how you add to your life by using subtraction.

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