"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

focus on what matters

Our lives, like our closets, tend to get cluttered. We have deep seated aversion to loss; many of us are mild pack rats both of physical possessions and of habits and routines that no longer serve us. One solution in evaluating is to use more extreme criteria. I look at my closet and hesitate to toss something because I might, just maybe, could possibly wear it someday distant in the future. A far better question is: “Do I absolutely LOVE it? Would I buy it today? And wear it out of the store?”  

Using more extreme criteria raises the bar, forces us to focus on the essentials and eliminate the remainder. Happiness in life in part consists in finding our purpose, our path, our mission and following with passion. What makes you JUMP out of bed in the morning? Fires up your juices? Lights the fire in your belly? Given limited resources, every yes is a no. Do not live your life on autopilot. Given that time is the currency of your life, you owe it to yourself to make sure your “yeses” are taking you where you want to go. As the sage said, the secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

By embarking upon a “disciplined pursuit of less” we free up time and energy for the essential, for the truly important.

Closing Quote:

“We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.” ― Greg McKeown

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Three Secrets to Unhappiness

happiness like unhappiness

Nurture Resentments

Why rent space in your head to those that don’t love you, to thoughts that don’t serve you? One of my favorite affirmations is “Forgiveness offers me all that I want; Release brings peace.” Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Compare yourself to others

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses, they are broke. I always like the story about the kid who admires a neighbor’s new pool and says “Dad! They must have money!” Dad replies “No, son. They used to have money, now they have a pool.” As the awesome poem Desiderata says: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” The only person you should try to be better than is yourself of yesterday.

Isolate Yourself

Go ahead, stay behind those fortress walls! You are an island, and an island feels no pain and an island never cries (apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, full lyrics below). WRONG! Hiding the real you never works, souls uncloaked must be to taste whole joys (John Donne, taken slightly out of context). Study after study has shown folks with strong social networks are healthier and live longer. Or as Barbara Streisand sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Closing Quotes:

“How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded! Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures. It also requires the ability to be affected by the wounds of others… But even more important is the love that arises among us when we share, both ways, our woundedness.” – M. Scott Peck 1936-2005, The Road Less Traveled

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” – Catherine Ponder, b. 1927


“We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside A
cting more like children than children”
– Barbara Streisand, 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl

I am a Rock

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow

I am a rock
I am an island

I’ve built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain 

I am a rock
I am an island

Don’t talk of love
Well, I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried 

I am a rock
I am an island 

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me [Refrain]

I am a rock
I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries.
– Simon and Garfunkel

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Solvitur Ambulando

women walking

Solvitur ambulando is Latin for “it is solved by walking” and the phrase has dual meanings. Originally “used to refer to a problem which is solved by a practical experiment” (Wikipedia) or physical demonstration it has also come to refer to the practice of taking a walk to clear our minds, relax, and perhaps allow our creativity freer rein.

Amble, a leisurely relaxed walk, has the same Latin root: ambulare, to walk. The key is to get moving, change our environment, and change our mood, our thought patterns.

Closing Quotes:

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

“It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy.” – Mother Teresa, 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, 1910-1997

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir, 1838-1914

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier