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My Optimal Life Design

As I get older, I have profound appreciation for life and the choices it offers. I can choose to be the happiest person on this earth or the saddest victim around. It’s all up to me to choose thoughts and choose what matters most for my happiness.

Many of our worries are byproduct of thoughts that we harbor and power our mind has to zoom in on these thoughts to magnify them. That’s both good and bad as wrong thoughts can lead you to the abyss of despair and good thoughts can take heights you’ve never witnessed before.

Having said that, I still think that my life is nothing more than my desire to choose. It’s that simple.

It’s my desire to choose what I want, who I want around, and how I want to project myself in front of others.

Success has many facets and like good and bad cholesterol, my desire to accumulate success just in the form of materialistic view point and not focusing on my success to weigh in what matters most to live an optimal life can lead me to the same abyss of despair that I find so many who can’t find way to pull themselves out of this deep dark valley.

A path to minimalism

This may astound you but most of our worries lie around fake phobias that we have developed for the physical world that surrounds us. We worry about making house payment, or making car payment, or losing a job we hate. These are subtly interrelated cousins who feed each other to feed our myopic view of the world.

We think of our problems as a permanent state of being. As these worry cousins take chances to stab any seeds of happiness that we try to sow in our lives.

Most worries are just that. They are nothing but state of mind we create between our two ears. And the good news is that we can choose to find freedom from the slavery of these worry cousins.

For me, a slowly and well thought transition to minimalism is the surefire way to an optimal life design I want.

As I get older, I want to become mindful of what I own, what I eat, what I think and whom I surround with. I no more relish of my excitement for a big win in any facet of my life nor I regret not having all of those things that world considers yardstick of success.

I will strive every awake moment to find happiness and only happiness that comes from within. For that, I won’t need many things that are not part of my optimal life design.

  • I don’t need approval from others in the way I live my life. Approval seeking is not part of my optimal life design and never will be.
  • I don’t need any debt. I don’t want debt to influence my thoughts and squash the bug that I have to live life to the fullest.
  • I don’t need TV and other forms of entertainment as they espouse consumerism.
  • I don’t need any form of possessions that serves no purpose to enhance my inner happiness.

I don’t want these things so that I can maximize my choices to live a happy life.

  • I want to seek more of life-energy to do things I love to do.
  • I want to read more and write more.
  • I want to make difference in this world in whichever capacity I can as life has been generous to me.
  • I want to measure every aspect of my life with lenses of minimalism so that I can measure my success not just in terms of material wealth but more in terms of  inner happiness.

Have you thought about your optimal life design yet?

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  1. David
    June 22nd, 2013 at 22:24 | #1

    Hi Shilpan
    Nice to hear from you. I’d say I frame some of this differently, but yes, a sense of choice is a profound part of our perspective. If we recognize that ability to choose, we can step out of many self-created boxes that limit our success and happiness.

    And I fully agree – happiness comes from within. If we look for it outside, we will only find transitory happiness and will be washed by the seas of change.

    I’ve made similar choices for various reasons.
    I avoid debt as it takes your budget out of the present and reduces choice. Your present becomes tied to past choices rather than what is here now. Debt is also often tied to a false sense of entitlement that advertising cultures. We feel we deserve things we can’t afford and ruin our financial affairs over a few poor choices.

    I don’t own a TV because it’s mostly about culturing that sense of entitlement and serves the lowest common denominator. It doesn’t serve our best interests. But I do enjoy a good epic film or documentary. I have a screen without a TV tuner.

    And yes, I’ve also downsized considerably over time. Partly because my kids grew up. But also my life was cluttered with stuff that required my time and attention but served little purpose. What joy is there in stuff that obliges us? Who wants to clean 3 bathrooms? There’s a great George Carlin skit on how houses are just places to keep our stuff. I’ve also noticed that stuff can be a way to distract us from how we’re feeling. Outer clutter is a sign of emotional clutter within. We see the proliferation of storage lockers, some full of stuff worth less than the lockers rent.

    Some stuff I realized was associated with fond memories. Most of that I replaced with digital pictures of them. Much easier to store. Similarly, many old papers were discarded or scanned. The boxes of archives now fit on a couple of discs. The family albums copied to DVDs so everyone has a copy and the degrading old photos can rest in peace. And so forth. Have written articles about some of this process.

    I was surprised by the process of doing what you love. There were some things I thought I loved that turned out to be shoulds. I have a skill so I should love to do this. Some of that required a bunch of stuff to do them, so that stuff too was passed on.

    (laughs) but I do have a backlog of books I’m somewhere in the process of reading.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Shilpan
      June 23rd, 2013 at 03:54 | #2

      Hi David,

      I read your comment and, as usual, it is filled with wisdom. I just talked to another friend of mine and mentioned to him that I have deep respect for you. And, I am a fan of George Carlin as well.

      Thank you for visiting. Your comment succinctly conveys gist of my article.

  2. June 26th, 2013 at 02:13 | #3

    Shilpan,

    Great post. Currently, I am reading a book named Life & Meditation by Swami Chinmayananda and the book talks about this quite a bit. One thing for sure is that the happiness always stems from within and we need to recognize that sanatan fact and learn to put it in practice and embrace it.

  3. Shilpan
    June 26th, 2013 at 02:36 | #4

    Jay, thank you for visiting. Indeed, lasting happiness comes from within.

  4. Trish Rempen
    July 1st, 2013 at 19:21 | #5

    Shilpan,
    I found your blog thru JLCollinsNH.
    Jim’s a long-time friend.

    I run an import company, and I’ve used his ideas on Financial Independence to give my employees a different way to think about money and life. to get out of debt and get free, even if it means they don’t need this job anymore.

    Today, I used this post and a few of your others in another employee Staff Meeting.

    I don’t know if they can hear what I’m saying. I’m amazed, but – some people just can’t seem to get there. But maybe they will, someday. I want to give them the opportunity to hear “choice” – that we choose our reactions, our lives, our perceptions.

    Thanks for the timely post – of course I totally agree. It may be “simple”, but it’s not always easy to realize we control the way we feel about our lives.
    You’re a good writer. Keep writing!

    • Shilpan
      July 2nd, 2013 at 01:49 | #6

      Trish,

      I am humbled to hear that you like my writing. Writing is my mental tonic. It provides clarity and enhances my own life journey by knowing people like yourself. I have made lots of friends, and that I consider a true measure of authenticity. I adore Jim as much as you do as he is an amazing guy, and very humble too!
      I look forward to have many conversations with you in the future, and I thank you to consider my writing worthy enough to talk about with your employees.

  5. Abhishek Shukla
    July 3rd, 2013 at 03:07 | #7

    Excellent work.

  6. Shilpan
    July 3rd, 2013 at 03:36 | #8

    Abhishek, Thank you for stopping by.

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