44 Lessons For A Life of Impact (Section 1)
How much space does a thought take up?
Does it have mass? Do you literally carry your thoughts with you?
It turns out that we do carry around our thoughts with us, perhaps not as mass, but definitely as energy.
We aren’t computers. There is no perfectly formed file structure within our file system. Our heads are packed with 86 billion neurons, all connected in a web that we are only just starting to understand. We are both emotional and logical, at the same time. We can remember things from our childhood yet forget what we ate for breakfast. There is a place, somewhere in that buzzing mass of neurons for every possession, relationship, dollar and email.
We carry it all with us.
Most of the time, we do a great job of segmenting it all. We compartmentalise what’s happening at home in a box and what’s happening at work in a different box. We have a box for our money and a box for our Facebook profile. The boxes stay relatively isolated and one doesn’t impact the other.
Until they do.
There’s a reason that we come up with our best ideas in the bathroom or while showering. It’s in those moments that the boxes are temporarily put away and locked shut. It’s in those spaces that you are isolated.
Focused on one task.
You see, just like needing to clear out the kitchen to cook a great big feast, we have to clear out our minds to allow the best ideas to flow.
We need to make space.
In our day to day lives, we often don’t have that space. There is this tether that ties us to every single part of our lives, physical, mental or emotional. Own a car?
There is a tether to the logbook so that you keep it serviced on time.
There is a tether to the fuel gauge so that it always stays topped up.
There is a tether to the insurance policy to make sure you’re covered.
There is a tether to the roadside assistance provider so you are never stranded.
There is a tether to your driver’s licence to make sure it stays up to date.
There is a tether to your driving behaviour so you don’t get in trouble with the law, losing your privilege to drive.
There is a tether to the other drivers on the road to make sure that you don’t get into a collision.
There is a tether to the age and condition of the car so that you know when it’s time to move on and find something new to avoid having too many mechanical issues in the future.
There is a tether to the way the car looks and how other people will see you while driving.
There is a tether to the place you park it and whether or not it’s safe there.
What space does that all take up? The car might weigh 1.5 tons. But how much is the weight of the thoughts that connect you to the different, non-physical aspects of possessing that car? Surely we have missed some items in our analysis but I feel that you have the idea by now. Want to expand on this thought experiment?
What if you owned 2 cars?
Wow, it all just doubled.
And this is JUST about owning a car.
What about your home?
What about your clothes?
What about all of your relationships and the intricacies of them?
What about your email inbox? What sort of things are hiding in there, waiting to jump out at you.
What about your diet?
It’s not just about eating anymore. To live in today’s world we have to navigate all of the dining choices out there. What foods are going to make you put on weight? What foods will help you lose weight? Does it have to be natural? Organic? Is sugar OK? Perhaps in moderation?
Not all of you will have the same challenges, however, I hope that you can recognise that there is a massive web of tethers that are connecting us to these innumerable physical and non-physical objects and each of these tethers is powered by a thought.
So in this huge web, how are we possibly going to come up with the next great idea?
How are we going to make the space to solve the problems we are experiencing in our lives?
Life is simple. Sometimes it can be hard, but it’s fundamentally simple. We are here to eat, love, reproduce and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe while we do it.
So why the heck do I need 2 cars to do that? Why am I subscribed to 1001 newsletters? Why is there an auto payment coming out of my account every month for a gym membership, at a gym that I don’t even visit anymore!
How in the world am I supposed to make an impact in this world if I’m so overwhelmed with the “complexity” of a life that really should be simple.
Let it all go.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be right away. This is a process, a journey if you will.
If you want to make a bigger impact in your life, the life of your family and the lives of those around you… you need to make the space. You have to clear out everything in this world that doesn’t serve you to allow you to re-create your life. Rebuilt it from the ground up. Become allergic to the complexities.
The one thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary is to simply have fewer things.
Let possessions, fewer relationships, fewer expenses and less going on in your digital world.
Sell or throw away those things that no longer serve you.
Remove those people who don’t bring you joy and happiness.
Don’t spend money on things that just serve to give you more things to worry about later.
Cleanse your digital world and reduce the noise.
Make space so that you may think clearly.
And in that space, your next big idea will find you. The idea will allow you to make a positive impact not only on the lives of yourself and your family but also on those around you.
The world deserves to see you show up as your best self, unencumbered by the weight of a billion tethers which only serve to secure you to the Earth.
It’s time for you to let go and fly.
Downsize your life & upsize your impact.