In life I believe we are given signs. In fact I literally saw mine walking to work. “Better, Not Bigger” flashed before me as the bus turned the corner and speed off.
Since then this “simple” message changed my perspective of life to its core; rippled through my business dealings, relationships, health, experiences and goals, to what I believe and doing so helped me to reveal the more authentic me.
K.I.S.S. an acronym for "Keep it simple, stupid" created for a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960.
This K.I.S.S. principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
In fact I believe simplicity embodies elegance, wisdom, effectiveness and profitable.
I think I’m in good company here.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Leonardo da Vinci
“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” Albert Einstein
While de-cluttering is the first step to simplify our lives, stopping here cheats from the best benefits, simplicity has to offer. Furthermore rebuilding something new, from less and that new something be of superior quality, is liberating, empowering and inspirational.
So while the saying “live more, with less” may sound like a paradox; the truth is, our very own human genetic design i.e. DNA is coded to identify, adapt evolve to be more efficient for us to better survive.
Recently I bench marked my progress of applying this KISS principle to my “Be Better, Not Bigger” edict, in my financial planning business. The review revealed both some expected and refreshing results.
Most importantly clients told me “they feel supported and more confident than previously and are on track to achieving their goals”.
I have also seen an increase in new client enquiries and increased bottom line profitability. Reassuring feedback from the people who pay our bills that “being better, not bigger” is a good business model for both them and us.
These results speak for themselves and are proof, that truly living this KISS (Keep It Simple) & “Be Better, Not Bigger” attitude is an elegant, wise, effective and profitable however the invisible effects have been even more nothing short of life changing.
Profound benefits discovered by simplifying my life:
Clarity When you know what’s important you and you are making choices aligned to your core values, decisions are easy. From this place we can better filter out choices between what will helps us, hinders us or may harm us.
This is very different from having a life full of complexity, reactionary and emotional decision making. Our reactions set of a chain of events that affect others around us. Responding appropriately way often leads to a problem being resolved rather than becoming bigger.
Peace Defined as freedom from disturbance and a time where there is no war or war has ended. Rather than chasing after the things important to others by focusing on what’s important to us we eliminate our distractions and we fast track the time and achieve our goals sooner.
Keeping my focus simple gives me the peace to focus on my clients more and continually find more ways deliver even more value to them.
Health Stress is a known killer and depression is a black dog. We all know what we need to do to live a health life, so do it, don’t delay it. Studies have also shown that the less sedentary we are the less fat, junk food we consume and more we hydrate with water.
Consider this domino effect of exercising more, eating better, hydrating more, having more energy, less stressed and living life more would have on your relationships and decision making. 99% of the time improved health starts with getting outside and going for a walk.
Relationships Be no place else, especially regarding your relationship with yourself, more than external relationships. How we feel on the inside we express on the outside. Under anger is hurt, under hurt is fear, under fear is vulnerability. Vulnerability is the fertile soil where love, peace and growth is best developed.
Being in a relationship where you can be vulnerable without fear is deeply peaceful. Removing the distractions, over reactions and peer pressures; make time to reflect, talk, learn and deepening your relationships is the foundation of trust.
Confidence Less distractions coupled with my choices in alignment with my core values buoys my confidence. This has not only sped up my decision making process it has also held me back from making poor decisions.
I have learnt to let go of what I can’t control and focus on what I can control.
Liberation “Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last!” leading on to greater emotional, intellectual and physical agility.
Today I am more motivated to do more of the things that only I can do and I receive a direct benefit from this simple choice. These include diving on the Great Barrier Reef, exercising, bush walking, quality time with friends & family, being more my authentic self and embracing new experiences.
Gratitude Living with less gives greater appreciation for necessity and what is a luxury. Being grateful for real relationships, deep friendships, good health, honesty, considerate of others difficulties and helping where you can is both humbling and reassuring.
From this place I am less distracted by the flash, the ego and noise. I boast less and are deeply thankful for the opportunities and position I have been given to help others live a more fulfilling life.
Embracing a “Keep It Simple” edict isn’t easy and the majority of us will move on to something new and shiny, however the results I have discovered from my “Keep It Simple” and “Be better, Not Bigger” edicts has been profound, rewarding and valuable.
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.
Why bother? Why struggle and why strive? In the end one is getting out of here alive.
More than this, in three defiantly four generations no one will know or remember us anyway, aside from maybe some old pictures, certificates and titles.
Who am I living life for? Myself or the good opinion of others?
Invisible bars of expectations and limiting beliefs imprison me from experiencing who I truly may be and become. Not only to myself but to others.
The struggle to accumulate wealth and the approval of others leaves me burnt out and cynical. Full of worries and looking forward to embracing death, where dashed hopes and worries would haunt me no longer.
Step out in front of that car, jump off that balcony or maybe a quick slash with a sharp knife. It’s so easy to be one moment alive and then next, not!
I remember this self-talk starting back in 2010 and it carrying on at least up to mid-2014.
Looking back on these the dark years, I was truly broken, by my own doing and I believe by the will of God. My memory scars continue to heal today, however at that time back in mid 2014 I first needed to make a huge leap into the unknown.
Lost and confused, angry with myself and God and feeling abandoned, shamed, hurt, and estrangement from the pleasure of life. I considered my only remaining option and began my process of making peace with God (the Creator of all life). I remember many times breaking down and crying on this journey of disarmament, acknowledgement and acceptance.
The reason I share this with you is to encourage you and that to be alive is to feel pain, sorrow and fear. However if we are to feel truly alive, peace must be our foundation. The fact is God doesn’t need us, but we need God; for both our own peace and an enabler for us to experience a higher quality of life.
Regardless of what happens in my future, peace is my constant goal for myself and others, since I would not be where I am today without this experience, nor would I be as at peace with myself and life.
In mid-2014 an opportunity to do what I love in a location that inspires me every single day presented itself. The challenge involved a life changing transition, including but not limited to a change of office, new clients, transitioning existing clients, new licences, large sums of money to be borrowed and the unknown.
The place was Cairns and the thing I love to do is help people live their ideal life, without financial stress i.e. peace without worries.
Change is never easy however finding peace and making choices aligned to what is important to me made my decision all that much easier.
And with this confidence I stepped forward into the unknown, without any guarantees and holding true to my core values.
Here are some tips I apply to my own life:
We’re going to live a free life, a happy peaceful life. This means more to us than anything in the world.
This is a story about freedom and every day doing the little but important things.
About Paul Kelly's inspiring and moving song about Vincent Lingiari Paul Kelly- From Little Things Big things Grow
And Albert Einstein's famous quote is “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”
Everyone one wants freedom, choices, security, lifestyle, health, peace and more, however have you ever asked yourself what this truly means to you?
For me the important lesson “attaining freedom” was one of patience. This lesson came to the fore when I was twenty five years old. Discovering it would not only help me achieve my financial goals, it was to be a surreal feeling of frustration and liberation at the same time.
In my younger years I was a swimmer. My hunger to be the best swimmer drove me to practice. I practiced six days a week and for many years twice a day. At the beginning I wasn’t the best swimmer however I became the best as my competitors dropped away and I kept practicing.
At twenty five, I was close to broke with no career and the hight of my swimming was seven years in the past. This gave me pause as I innately I understood that again accepting patience and doing the work was the single most important path to not only my swimming success but anything I chose to put my efforts towards. Accepting these two ingredients i.e. patience & work, ensured that I could weather most mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily and weekly disciplines over time.
My new goal at twenty five was one of financial freedom. To me this was $50,000 passive income per year. I projected this would require $1,000,000 in investable assets paying me 5% income per year. Based on a savings plan of $200 per week (what I could afford) and reinvesting my returns of 7%pa. Financial Freedom to me was going to take 30 years (Source Money SMART Compound Calculator).
The two big take outs from this goal. Firstly it required a commitment of the $200 per week (not saving this would dramatically delaying achieving Financial Freedom.
Secondly it was going to take time, even a life time of commitment however with time I would be accelerating towards my goal. i.e. After ten years my savings would only have grown to $144,000 approximately, after twenty two years it would have grown to $500,000 approximately but taken only another eight years to reach my goal of $1,000,000. The last eight years my investments would grow more than the first twenty two years!
For me reaching this goal was achieved by the daily effort and my weekly savings commitment, not by some magic success formula, new miracle product. It also ensured that I maintained balance across my life so that I didn’t burn out.
Every big success is made up of little successes, each building on the previous and compounding over time.
Formula for Life
“Our Choices (decisions) + Behaviour (action) + Habit (repeated action) + Compound Effect (Time) = Goals.”
Most people float through life making decisions on the fly, with little if any thought, only to find themselves wondering why they aren’t happy, healthy, or as successful.
To improve life; make better choices. This is simple but not easy. Making good decisions by fully considering the pros and cons and they alignment to your core values.
One of my all-time favourite quotes by Jim Rohn is “Success comes from making a series of good decisions over time while failure comes from making a series of poor decisions over time.”
We spiral upward or downwards it’s a simple matter of our behaviour.
If we say we are a dedicated professionals, but we show up late and unprepared, our behaviour rats us out every time. The compound effect takes us in a downward spiral.
Showing up early, being prepared on a consistent basis is an indicator to others of reliability, which can open doors of opportunity and a spiral us upwards.
Our habit’s move us toward or away from our goals
Regular routines and rituals action become our habits over time. Their effect compounding over time influencing our outcomes. If our habits are good they take us down one path. If they are bad or destructive, they take us down a completely different path.
“Watch your thoughts; They become words. Watch your words; They become deeds. Watch your deeds; They become habits. Watch your habits; They become character. Character is everything”. Ralph Emerson
The question I ask myself constantly is “Is the immediate gratification of now greater than the long term pain of not achieving what’s truly important to me?”
Success is earned in the moment to moment decisions that in themselves make no visible difference whatsoever, but the accumulated compounding effect is profound.
The Path Upward
Know where you are, know where you want to get to and have a plan to get there. For me this required me to do the following
To achieve something you have never achieved before, you must be willing to do what you have never done before.
This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances.
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where–” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. “–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)
Which brings me to the start of our journey and how I ended up here in Cairns.
I had already figured out what was important to me as well as what my core values were but why was I still unhappy? (in the context of how I was living my life) and did I have the guts A.K.A. "intestinal fortitude" to step out of my comfort zone into the unknown?
1. What's important to you?
I brainstormed again and came up once more with my several core values: security, peace of mind, choices, freedom, health, rest, advancement, time, family and friends, fun, accomplishment, personal growth, spiritual growth, giving back, and happiness.
Once I had listed my core values in mind, the financial planner in me took over and created a Core Values and Where To Live Excel to rate cities I had an interest in living in terms of how well they aided me achieving each of my values. Ranking them 1-10, 1 being Not and 10 being Awesome.
This systematic analysis revealed that cairns most clearly aligned with all of our values.
Other cities we considered included Sydney (where we were initially), Gold Coast, Melbourne, Honolulu, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur (refer to excel to see rankings).
2. What's the bottom-line?
I didn’t buy the first flight to Cairns the minute I finished my Excel analysis. I needed first to get all my financial ducks in a row. This actually took me over twelve months of research, research and more research followed by weekends up to Cairns to meet business owners and get a feel for how business is done.
Relocation costs had to be considered, managing client and business relationships in Sydney and Melbourne as well as managing costs of a new office in Cairns were front and centre.
All the above needed to be invested and assessed before proceeding. The bottom-line, was this move financially viable and advantageous?
Even after all the research and preparation, keeping flexible was the key ingredient to maintaining sanity and moving forward while transitioning life and business to Cairns. The biggest frustration being the pace of things and managing own and others’ expectations.
The additional lessons I have learnt is dependability is a premium that is worth paying for. This goes for communications, utilities, services, staff and stock.
4. Do it for You
No one is going to live you your ideal life for you, so you have to make it happen yourself. For the longest of time the choices I made were coloured by what others might think of me.
Clarifying my core values and challenging myself to make reality my decisions was both a scary and liberating moment for me.
Initially I was worried about what others would say if I failed, or their opinions about doing something they wouldn’t do themselves. Now I hope to encourage others to "Give it a go, or you'll never know!" .
Importantly most of my friends, family, colleagues and clients have told me they now hold me in even higher regard for the guts to make the move. They also have visited or are making plans to come visit soon.
I'm still getting used to the weather up here in Cairns. Today it's a beautiful 22c, blue skies and no humidity, however it's winter and summer up here can be mighty uncomfortable.
Helping you "Live your ideal life, without financial concerns".
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