Nothing in life, it seems, is ever simple.
As Jeff Davidson, author of the book “Dial It Down, Live It Up,” puts it, complexity is a universal norm.
Our job, as creators of our own lives and fates, is to turn complex into simple.
Some, of course, will put the fear in you NOT to “oversimplify.” These folks want things to stay complicated, so you have as little understanding about them as possible. The less you understand, the more easily you could be defrauded, ripped off or just plain taken for a ride.
There’s another part to life that started out as good, but turned into the devil: too much information. Did you ever sign an application for anything with oodles of small type full of disclaimers? Did your parents, teachers etc. always tell you that the devil was in the details?
Here’s what you should do and know: first, if you are signing something, know, like and trust that person to whom you are commiting. Let that person TELL you, in not so many words, what you are signing and what it will mean for you. Even if you had the time to read all the small type, you wouldn’t likely comprehend a good bit of it. Still, our world insists that, legally, they have to disclose it.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be careful. But if you know, like and trust the person with whom you are dealing, you can save a lot of time by having him or her explain it succinctly. If you have reason not to trust that person, don’t accept his application. Have someone with more knowledge than you about the process – your attorney, perhaps – be your adviser.
The second thing that complicates our lives is just plain “stuff.” Davidson suggests that we become masters of discard. We learn what we NEED to save, what we want to save and what we wonder why we are saving. Space filled with “stuff” complicates our lives. If you can’t bear to be the chief discarder, or don’t really know the actual value of some of what you own, hire an estate sale expert. By taking emotion out of stuff, you will simplify your life.
Davidson also talks about having only the technology you are comfortable with. Don’t buy a gadget on which you only need certain functions . It’s better to buy the dumber gadget, unless you need the bells and whistles on the smarter one. Another thought: if you want to “move up” in gadgetry, do it slowly. The longer you wait to upgrade, the chances are more likely the upgrade will be cheaper.
Davidson has other suggestions for managing your time, stress etc. He stresses making choices BEFORE a situation arises, instead of in the aftermath. In other words, if you can anticipate what might happen on a given day, and can do something ahead of time that will make dealing with it a bit easier, make that choice.
The complex world will try to get you. To every extent possible, don’t let it. You may not be the slave you believe to be to “circumstances.” Sure, “circumstances” sometimes will surprise you. But you have a lot more control over things than you might realize.
If you feel the complex world ganging up on you, there are things you can do to create less stress over time, and simplify things over time. To check out one of the best such vehicles, visit You may have to change a few things in your life to make the most of it, but it can certainly simplify things for you over time.


“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. Anatole France

Were you raised to believe you would only go so far?
Sure, your parents didn’t want you to be too cocky. And, to go where they have gone turned out pretty well for them, didn’t you think?
Then, you go through adolescence. You start to believe you can do anything, and usually try stupid things that get you hurt, or in trouble.
You recover from adolescence and get out of high school. Perhaps you tried to “find yourself,” by traveling around looking. That didn’t really work for you, so you settled down to college, the military or a job. Then, you start to believe that your parents were right. You start to follow their tried and true path. You got through a career and life didn’t turn out so bad.
But what if you want more out of life than just a job, a career, a family and friends? All of these things can indeed make for a great life, but they may not get you everything you dream about.
Oh, your parents discouraged you from dreaming? Perhaps you were told that dreaming was what drifters did. Or, perhaps, what those rich people do. You may have been told that settling down and doing what you know, or have been taught, is the best way.
Those who really make a difference in the world are dreamers. Those who innovate are dreamers. And, they don’t just dream. They go for their dreams in a big way.
They may defy conventional wisdom. Their “friends” may laugh at them. Or, perhaps, invite them back into their lives when they come to their senses. After all, your friends may believe that if we all stay together, the rut will not be bad at all. We can all long for 5 p.m. on Fridays, weekends, vacations etc., but the rest of the time, our nose is to a grindstone that is making the boss rich.
But some of us believe we are better than that. We use a job as a springboard. We use our jobs as a way to earn immediate cash, while we work on our dreams. We learn that we can ACHIEVE what we want eventually, no matter what happens to us.
How do we change, if we’ve been taught differently? First, we have to know why we are doing something. Money for the sake of money is not what we want. We want money to do things we want to do, to give to things we feel will make the world better and to live our dreams.
So you’re abuzz in thought. You think you can’t make a lot of money doing what you’re doing now. If that’s the case, you probably need to keep your job, but develop habits like saving and investing, as opposed to spending. It may take time to get what you want, but if your dream is big enough, you’ll be patient.
But, if you are willing to do something part time that will speed up the process, visit Check out how other people just like you have amassed fortunes, without interfering with what they were doing at the time.
They had dreams that were powerful enough to choose a different path – for not settling for an ordinary life. You can do the same.
Once you allow yourself to dream, you can then act. You can plan, then believe. By combining your dreams, actions, plans and beliefs, you can achieve what you want.



OK, what’s your story?
Is it good?
Are there plenty of bootstraps, hard labor, starting with nothing, build from the ground up in it?
Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, recently had a client for whom she helped compile her stories. The client was a CEO of an up-and-coming company, and O’Neill was helping her feel more comfortable talking to the press.
In business, stories sell. If your business is good, your stories – about your products or services, about your company and about yourself – will also be good. They need to be well told.
O’Neill wrote about her client in an Aug. 31, 2014, column in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Meaningful stories provide a colorful antidote to the mundane questions like, “what do you do,” O’Neill writes.
Business networking experts also try to coach clients to tell stories, even if they only have a few seconds to talk to someone in an elevator. One can answer the “what do you do” question with something other than “I’m in marketing.” The answer can be a colorful story about, say, how you helped solve a client’s problem. The person posing the question may or may not be looking for a clever answer, but a colorful story will likely be remembered for a long time.
O’Neill says the best stories are often those about employees who exemplify the company’s brand and culture, or about customers who have become raving fans of your product.
For those of us who may not be in business, crafting a good story from our job, or our life, makes interesting and often impressive party talk. We never know whom we meet, and we need to presume that every person who asks about us is a potential client or employer.
Experts on crafting resumes often advise clients that job titles are often meaningless. It’s better to spell out what you did for your employers, i.e. how much money you saved them, or earned for them, whether something you did helped the company make needed changes etc.
As children, or even as adults, we heard some marvelous stories – particularly around campfires. Many were fiction. But, we were excited to hear them, and our elders were excited to retell them, over and over. We remember them well into adulthood, notwithstanding the old saw about how a story changes with each telling.
Crafting your own stories can take work. You may even need help, which is what some of us do for a living. But you need to tell your stories right and well, so you don’t feel uncomfortable telling them to the world.
Some of you may be modest. Some of you don’t believe you have a story. Everyone has a story. Many have multiple stories. Tell them with confidence.
Looking for something to come into your life that will create a great story for you? Visit Listen and watch some great success stories from average people who have completely changed their lives. You may want to do the same.
So work on your story. Get help if you need it. Learn to create conversations about your products, services, skills and yourself. You just may run into the one person who will be so impressed with your story that he or she completely changes your life.


What characterizes your thoughts?
Are your thoughts courageous? Are they fanciful? Are they rewarding? Can you be a hero just sitting at your desk, thinking?
New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed this in depth in a Sept. 1, 2014, column published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As Brooks writes, it’s easy to see heroism in a soldier who displays courage under fire. But can someone sitting at a desk, alone, be a hero? He can, with the right thoughts.
Brooks cites the 2007 book “Intellectual Virtues,” by Robert C. Roberts of Baylor University and W. Jay Wood of Wheaton College. The authors list six characteristics that would determine whether you might be a thought hero.
First, Brooks writes, one must love to learn and be ardently curious. In other words, a thought hero would seek the most information he can before he talked about, or formed an opinion about, something.
Secondly, one needs courage. It’s not just a willingness to hold unpopular views, as Brooks writes, but, as he puts it, the reckless thinker takes a few pieces of information and leaps to some faraway conspiracy theory.
Third is firmness. That’s the middle ground between surrendering one’s beliefs at the slightest opposition, and holding dogmatically to a belief against all evidence. You might say it’s an upgrade from wishy-washy, and a dial-down from arrogance.
The fourth is humility – not letting a good story get in the way of the facts, to paraphrase a quote attributed to Mark Twain.
Then there’s autonomy – forming your own thoughts, not just adopting as gospel what someone else may have told you. You may gladly accept others’ guidance, but, in the end, what you think should be your own.
Finally, there is generosity. If you know something that someone else doesn’t know, you share it – willingly and for free. It also means hearing others as they wish to be heard – not looking to pounce on others’ errors, Brooks writes.
All this adds up to openness of thought. To open one’s mind, one must also open his heart and soul. Today’s society is loaded with what the comedians call “truthiness.” Ads, political statements, online postings and other communications are loaded with stretched truth, even outright falsehoods.
The dangers we face have to do with what we accept as true. Along the way, if we have constant curiosity, we might find that something we were told was true by someone or something we respect may not be true. We have to recognize those situations as we encounter them.
So, after reviewing the “Intellectual Virtues,” where do your thoughts fit in? Are you truly open to the truth? If you are, visit You’ll see and hear real, truthful stories from real people. You might even like what you hear and see.
It’s possible to become more intellectually virtuous if you are honest about yourself and your thoughts. Change can be hard. Improvements may come slowly. But if you desire intellectual virtue, go for it! Do what you need to do to get it. It may not be as hard to attain as you might think. And, others you never thought would may follow you.


Tennis great Novak Djokovic was tied at Wimbledon with Roger Federer, in the gentlemen’s championship match in2014. Federer had won the fourth set to even the match.
Djokovic had to win the last set to win the match. He took a bathroom break after the fourth set, but it was not just a physical moment. It was a mental moment as well.
He looked at himself in the mirror and began to fill himself with positive affirmations. He told himself how good he was, and that he could win the title. He did. That day, he was his own best friend.
Gregg Stienberg, professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, discussed the Wimbledon story in a July 20, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
People make fun of folks who talk to themselves, but, as Steinberg says, self-talk is actually a type of self-hypnosis. Djokovic actually hypnotized himself into a pure level of confidence after that fourth set, Steinberg writes.
At this writing, both Federer and Djokovic are now competing for the men’s U.S. Open title.
Here are Steinberg’s suggestions of how you can create a positive mental tape that plays in all pressure-packed situations: create a best-friend journal of positive self-statements, or, snap out of negativity with a rubber band around your wrist.
Just as you can talk yourself into doing certain things, you can talk yourself out of doing certain things. The obvious rule here is to talk yourself into doing things that you know are going to create a positive outcome for you, and talk yourself out of doing things that will hurt you.
We don’t always know which is which. Djokovic obviously knew that winning Wimbledon would be a great thing for him, so he talked himself into it. He gave himself the motivation to overcome whatever Federer threw at him.
Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? You bet.
We often find ourselves taking the easiest way out of any circumstance. We find ourselves following the path of least resistance. Djokovic could have thought to himself, “I’ll do the best I can, but finishing second at Wimbledon is not too bad, right?”
Are you aiming for “not too bad?” Probably not. Are you aiming to be the best you can be? Sure. You have to believe you can be great, and you have to do what you need to do to be great.
You may not be great at tennis, or any other sport. But anyone can be great at something. As Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, has said, a lot of great people are mediocre, or even terrible, at some things. That’s because they gave singular focus to the one or two things they are great at, and didn’t worry about being good at anything else.
So, what do you believe you are, or can be, great at? You may not be able to answer that question easily. If you want to be great at something, but are not sure what, there are many things out there that ANYONE can be great at. For one of the best, visit You’ll learn how people became great at something that’s simple, but not necessarily easy, and were handsomely rewarded for their achievement.
For some people, talking positively about themselves to themselves may be a great motivator. For some, talking to themselves may not be their thing. For everyone, whether you are into talking to yourself or not, thinking positively about oneself is essential.
Focus on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do. Play tennis, or any other sport, for recreation and don’t worry about the score, or winning. You want to WIN at what you are good at.
Find what you are good at and stay with it. You’ll see setbacks and circumstances that may try to derail you. Remember, and believe, that the great ones ALWAYS rise above those things, and carry on. Don’t quit what you want to be great at.