For example, if I’ve slowed down, I might take a look at my todo list for today … and realize that it’s a complete fantasy. I’m not going to get all of that done. Let’s move one thing to tomorrow, one task to a “Later This Week” list, and one to “Later This Month” (or even, “Do Next Year”).
~ Leo Babauta
I also suggest setting up a shortcut for doing this: I use the Delete key to move as many items as possible to my special “Do Never” list.
The real mistake is saying “yes” to too many things. I had to learn to be honest enough to say “no.” Curiously, the “no” feels harder because I don’t want to disappoint people. I used to do anything to satisfy people and to get my little dose of approbation. In fact, saying “no” is far easier than saying “yes.” Every choice changes your future options. Each “no” closes off just one thing, but it preserves space in your life. Each “yes” invites in one thing, but by allocating that space in my life, I’ve closed off a huge number of other things that I might have chosen. “No” is the small, easy choice that gives me the most flexibility. “Yes” is the huge, life-altering committment that closes off an infinity of other options.
In theory, we can let go of every single possession. Sure, for practical purposes, we’ll need at least one outfit and shelter and a way to eat and use the bathroom. And even more practically, we’ll need a house and things to wear for a job and so on. But letting go of a possession that you don’t absolutely need for practical purposes is theoretically possible. So what stops us?
~ Leo Babauta
This skill—and it is totally a skill that I had to practice and practice and practice—is one I USED to struggle with. Years ago, it was definitely fear that was holding me back from letting go of possessions.
Today is it 100% the guilt that I do not want to incur by throwing things into a land-fill. I have a cubic yard of books… not worth a dime, and I’ve already spent a ton shipping hundred of books all over the world racking up points in bookmooch.com—you want these books? I have TWO Davis Mark 15 marine sextants, …want one? I have a great chain saw that’s probably worth a couple hundred if I had a few hours to waste [I do not] dealing with idiots on Craig’s List. …want an old Jeep that’s fun to play with off road? …how about a perfectly working ink-jet printer? …a swage-fitting tool? …how about a one-hundred-year-old, fully restored billiard table?
I’m serious. Hit reply, or join the mailing list and hit reply tomorrow…
No character can be simple unless it is based on truth — unless it is lived in harmony with one’s own conscience and ideals. Simplicity is the pure white light of a life lived from within. It is destroyed by any attempt to live in harmony with public opinion. Public opinion is a conscience owned by a syndicate — where the individual is merely a stockholder. But the individual has a conscience of which he is sole proprietor. Adjusting his life to his own ideals is the royal road to simplicity. Affectation is the confession of inferiority; It is an unnecessary proclamation that one is not living the life he pretends to live.
~ William G. Jordan, Self Control, c. 1905