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Life coaches, gurus and spiritual leaders often exhort their students to “simplify,” but this basic piece of advice is often misunderstood. To simplify one’s life doesn’t mean you have to do without. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your automobile and other modern conveniences, give up your lofty goals, or abandon your dream of building a successful business. On the contrary, you can achieve remarkable success and happiness in your life, achieve your goals, and even generate wealth, by keeping this basic piece of advice in mind.
Let’s not confuse simplicity with having no goals. A life in which you simply have no goals, with no purpose or direction, doesn’t make you happy—but a life in which you achieve your goals simply, certainly will. Let’s talk about how we can achieve your goal and get results by using simple solutions.
In the 14th century, an Englishman named William of Occam came up with a wonderful piece of wisdom, which is now known as “Occam’s Razor”. Loosely translated, it says, “The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.” When you list your goals for the next year, three years, or five years, you’ll stare at that list for a while and wonder what to do next. In fact, a list of goals by itself won’t get you very far. Create a goal setting template that includes details about each goal, and a strategy for goal achievement. Coming up with that strategy is the hard part—and it may involve getting input from a circle of trusted friends and advisors, doing some research, and seeing how other people have achieved the same result. More often than not, there will be more than one way to get there and achieve the life of your dreams.
Getting to the desired outcome can come through a complicated and confusing set of plans. It may get you there, but you’re likely too exhausted to enjoy it once you’ve gone through all the steps. Or, you can take the Occam’s Razor approach, and travel the simplest route to your destination. Not only does this approach work better, it contributes to a more balanced life.
I’ve talked to a lot of very successful entrepreneurs, and one thing I’ve always noticed is that they love to talk about themselves. That’s another big misconception—people tend to believe that the successful and wealthy got there because they have access to some special, closely-guarded secrets and complex techniques that are out of reach for ordinary people. I’ve found out over the years, just by talking to people, that there really are no secrets, the answers are there for the taking, and those answers are usually a lot simpler than you would expect. And in fact, the more successful people become, the more willing and anxious they are to tell others how they got there.
When I’ve talked to these enormously successful people about their success though, I’ve noticed something very important—they don’t sweat the small stuff. Success is all about the mile-high strategy. The most successful entrepreneurs come up with that single germ of a great idea, and then they let their engineers, marketing people, designers, and other staff take it from there. When the person on top tries to manage every single detail, the result is usually disastrous. Success is all about simplicity.
I met someone who became very successful in real estate recently, and I was relating his success to someone I know who has been having a hard time finding his way in life. My acquaintance in real estate buys and sells houses, has rentals, and manages rentals for other owners, and has a very efficient system for doing so. It has become a very lucrative proposition. When I mentioned the possibility of managing real estate as a possible path to success, my friend’s response was, simply, “that sounds like such a headache!” And he rejected the idea out of hand and the discussion went no further.
Now not everybody needs to go into real estate. There are hundreds of other avenues to success. But the key mistake made by my friend was to assume that success is difficult. This in fact, is why most people never even try to achieve their goals and desires. They dream of owning a business, taking a year off to travel, or doing something great—but the dream never becomes a reality because they assume they can’t do it, and they don’t understand how to set goals in a manner that will help them get there simply. They claim they don’t have the resources, the connections, or the knowledge to do it. They think it’s just too complicated. After all, if it were easy, wouldn’t everybody be doing it?
And there’s the secret I want to share with you. Success is actually a lot easier than you think it is. Keep your strategies for achieving your goals simple and easy to understand, don’t try to do everything yourself, and seek out help when you need it. Never assume that anything is too difficult to achieve, because it probably isn’t.