Less is more: Why a man needs to learn to prioritize, say no, and live simple

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I have been so overwhelmed lately…

I have had to take a step back and think about what is really going on in my life. I am always getting invited to compete in an event, run a marathon, join a group, go on a trip, or meetup with someone.

Honestly, it’s exhausting.

Typically I am very focused and disciplined on what it is that I am doing, what I need to do to create a flow in my life and still leave room for spontaneity.

I realized that I am probably not alone on this one, and it seems that it' gets easier and easier to do this the more that time goes on.

Since I recognize it, I can address it, but sometimes I think men have no idea that it is happening .

I wanted to write about how I prioritize things, when I say no and why, and also how I live a very simple life.

  • I don’t have a large house, and I drive a car that I paid less than $2500 for.

  • I want to be completely transparent and not pretend to be something I’m not.

I am a man, just like you, who wants to be who he was made to be, and when I am overwhelmed and pulled in a million different directions, it is keeping me from being that man. The same is true for you, and it is a tactic by the enemy to try and thwart our success.

Let’s dig in and fight back.

It all starts with how you begin the day

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Intentional preparation

If I could say it in a word, that would be it. Your mornings should almost be a kata or a routine that is methodical and well thought out.

If you sleep in late and wait for the alarm clock to go off several times, you have almost always lost the day.

When I wake up in the morning this is my routine:

  • Drink a glass of water

  • Go to the bathroom

  • Brush my teeth

  • Splash water on my face and

  • Flip the bathroom light on so I wake up

Next, I do a couple minutes of box-breathing that I learned from Commander Mark Divine, author of “Unbeatable mind” and “The way of the seal.” Those are both books I highly recommend every man read. If I don’t do box-breathing then I will do some light dynamic stretching.

Once I am finished after a couple minutes, I go to the garage gym that I built over the past two years and workout.

If you want to see a sample workout watch the video, read the weekly workouts for men articles, or get the 8 week strength program.


 
 

 

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Be the man you are made to be

 

After working out, I’ll make a protein shake with creatine, and jump in the shower. After the shower I get dressed and make breakfast.

Breakfast is typically:

  • 3 eggs (Scrambled or over easy) and bacon

  • Fruit with eggs and cup of coffee

  • 3 eggs with 1 piece Avocado Toast

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During this time, I have my things that I need to take to work ready to go already. That includes:

  • EDC Bag

  • Knife

  • Keys

  • Coffee Mug

Then I head out the door to go to my workplace. One thing that i forgot to mention is that I always have an action plan, a map of the week, so I know that I am staying focused and on track to meet some deadlines and tasks that I have set for myself.

Aside from having my 100 impossible lifetime goals, which keep me grounded, disciplined and ever ambitious, I use a Daily Action Plan to move towards those goals 1% more than the day before.

This is how I prioritize my morning.

If this gets off kilter a little bit where I miss something, it’s OK, I just get it right the next day. However, lately this has been getting off a lot because of me being torn in different directions and not saying no when I need to.

This doesn’t have to be your morning, and I am certainly not telling you that it has to be exactly like mine. I am telling you that if you aren’t doing something like this though, you are going to have a hard time focusing, accomplishing anything and feeling like you are winning.



Learn how and when to say NO

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Earlier I mentioned that there are always a million different things that I could be a part of or directions that I could be pulled in. It is more than likely the same way for you.

There is only so much that you can do. It would be wonderful if we could multiply ourselves like Michael Keaton did in the movie multiplicity. Of course even then things didn’t go so well.

Your ability to say no, is what is going to help you do the things that you want to do, and know that you need to do. All of your friends are going to want to go out to and party, or see a movie, or go out for a night of drinking. You are going to have to learn to say NO to those things.

The people around you are probably not going to understand. That’s OK, part of being a man is learning to prioritize the things in your life.

Just today alone, I had several people invite me to things and or want to hang out. As much as I wanted to , I couldn’t. I had already spent time with family and wanted to get a few other things done for the 360 Man Project, so that is what I prioritized.

I politely turned them down and said that I had other things going on.

You can do the same thing.

  • Do you always drop what you are doing to meet with your friends or hang out with them?

  • Do you always say you don’t have time, but are always doing things for other people?

  • Do you do other peoples work before yours?

I catch myself doing these things all the time, which is why I have to set a day or two aside strictly for things that are going to help me achieve my goals or improve my overall health and wellness.

I love helping people and doing what I can to make their life easier. I would probably destroy myself mentally and physically if I could to help someone.

Which is why I have to set boundaries, and you probably do too. It’s not that you are a selfish person, it’s that you want to live intentionally. That way when you do spend time with others, you are fully there with them.

Some tips to help you the next time you have to say NO to your friends or other people:

  • Does what they want you to do move you closer to the man you want to become?

  • Does it build your character?

  • Does it help your relationship?

  • Do you have time or is there a pressing project, or something you really want to get done?

  • Is this person really a friend?

If you answered NO to all of those questions, then you need to say NO, the next time.

Living Simple

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It’s hard to live simple.

Why? Because we are constantly looking to acquire more things. Whether it is books, tools, fitness equipment, clothes, movies, or shoes. Our desire for more never subsides.

I watched a movie called “The Colony” a while ago. It’s about a these underground colonies who have learned to survive the cold from some sort of global warming experiment gone wrong. They receive a distress call from another colony in the middle of nowhere during an ice storm. There is an agreement between the colonies to help each-other in case something goes wrong.

The leader of the colony honors the agreement, and sets out with two other members. Once they get to the colony they find it in disarray. Blood is all over the walls, and one survivor says they called there were cannibalistic humans bent on destroying them. The team then returns back to their home colony and report what is going on. However, the cannibals spot them on their way back and begin the hunt. These cannibals stop at nothing to get what they want…flesh. At almost the end of the movie, one of the main character is pinned down by of these cannibals down and ask what it wants, and his answer is ….“more.”

Check out the video below.

I liked the movie, enough to watch all of it, but to this day that has stuck with me.

It reminds me of how we are as humans, whether or not we are cannibals. We have this insatiable, unquenchable desire for more.

Our desire for more is one of the most powerful things preventing us from freedom and becoming the men we are made to be.

We will never find more of who we are in “stuff”. The enemy would love to distract us by telling use we need things. The truth is, we don’t.

Recently, I read a book called “The One Thing”, and it talks about focusing on the most important things in life, and refers to the 80/20 rule, which states that 20% of the tasks that you do, or things that you spend time on, directly correlate to 80% of your productivity.

In other words. Only a small fraction of the things you do, provide the biggest bang for your buck, and those are the things you should be doing.

You could use this 80/20 principle for anything right?

Meaning, 20% of the things you own get used 80% of the time. Inversely, 80% of the things you own, only get used 20% of the time.

Focusing on less, isn’t about giving things up, it’s about gaining freedom to be the man you were made to be. The more clutter around you, the more clutter in your head.

Am I suggesting that you go and live in the wilderness and eat locusts. No, (unless that’s your thing). I am pointing out that “stuff” gets in the way of freedom, and inhibits your ability to achieve a focused, intentional life.


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