Creating Personal Prosperity

I’ve been watching my happily self-directed pals.

I’ve noticed common elements that bring them satisfaction.


Convenience – my self-directed pals create this via simplicity, routine and living in a beautiful location. I need to watch myself because I tend towards complexity, travel for its own sake and constant variation in routine. All of these add stress and increase the probability for hassles to pop up.

Mantra: everything I need is at home

Remember: explore locally, travel less, create space in my schedule


Control – Related to convenience, in my first career, I tried to outsource as much as possible. This “worked” but if carried it to its logical conclusion then there’s nothing left to do other than “be happy,” “be rich,” or “be fast.” The “being” that we long for is usually a reflection of our values.

I’ve been lucky to realize that achieving my goal of “being” didn’t bring much satisfaction.

It was a mistake for me to believe that happiness lay in getting rid of everything (jobs, responsibilities, obligations) that wasn’t “fun.” I’m more satisfied with the un-fun items in my life.

Remember: satisfaction comes from the opportunity to do my best work while serving others


Quality – It is interesting to watch families that have no limits on their spending. The families that get it “right” don’t focus on prestige. Instead, they focus on achieving value with a solution that is fit for purpose.

Consider: before spending money I ask, will this make a difference? Before spending time I ask, is this my situation to fix?

Mantra: if in doubt then wait


Under the radar – I have a craving for recognition that’s subdued in my wise buddies. Perhaps they have learned the danger of being skewed by unearned admiration?

Mantra: work to be worthy of respect


One final thing that I’ve noticed that correlates to happiness, independent of income: near daily outside activity in beautiful surroundings.

Mantra: live the life I want for my children

Remember: base my family in a location where we don’t need to leave


Overcoming Difficulties

Earlier this summer, we were having a lot of discomfort with our oldest. Things built up to where she’d start most days by raging at us.

One morning, after a particularly venomous outburst, my wife banned electronics for the day. Escalating, I extended the ban for a month.

Not wanting to backdown, I was stuck with having to come up with something to replace all the iPad time we had built into her day. As well, I had to acknowledge my personal laziness with using electronics to replace engagement. Time Magazine calls us hypocrites but the reality, in my life, is laziness.

With increased 1-on-1 engagement, improvement came quickly and the level of rage dropped within ten days. ¬†Difficulties pop up, but they are age appropriate and mostly diffused with a hug and time spent together. I’m grateful to have the time to spend with the kids.

Some additional tactics that have worked:

  • With three kids, it important to remember that the oldest remains a kid (she’s 4.75).
  • Offer a change of activity before removing from the situation
  • Give more of my time to get better behavior. The fundamental conflict is over time and attention.
  • Let them know when it is their time. Take pictures of it. Post pictures where everyone can see as well as beside their beds.

Become aware of my desires for revenge – break the cycle of revenge by training myself to avoid all forms:

  • Not to pass along gossip
  • Not to correct
  • To agree as much as possible

The above are simple, yet surprisingly difficult to execute. They are near impossible on the Internet and ignored by the media. Would anyone even watch a show that was void of gossip, conflict or correction?

Because it is difficult to see my role in creating my life, I pay attention to how my peers talk about others.

Do you aspire to revenge via negative humor at the expense of others?

Ten Hour Transformations

A practical example of why the only way to change everything is to focus on changing one thing.

Thinking through my relationship with my daughter, I came up with the following for a minimum commitment to see results…

Ten hours per week:

  • An hour per day as 30 minutes AM/PM;
  • Twice a week do a trip together for 90-minutes (go swimming, ride bikes, trailer ride or park visit)

This structure has me focus on making the small interactions (first each morning, last each night) quality.

With my kids, where I fall short is working on the quality of the little things. I didn’t notice this until last month when we suspended TV, iPad, electronics. To stick to my guns with the electronics ban, I had to interact with my daughter and she had to learn other ways to fill her time (drawing, stacking blocks and playing house).

I learned a lot from the process. Our daughter’s behavior improved and I was forced to face my laziness with engaging with her.

Just like bedtime routines, maybe acting out was driven by a need to get my attention.


Another area for applying ten-hour commitment might be improving health. You might apply as:

  • An hour per day as 40 minutes walking/cycling in the AM and 20 minutes eating a mixing bowl of salad in the PM;
  • Twice a week – stock the house with healthy options – an hour each time
  • Twice a week – strength training – 20-30 minutes each time

That’s going to capture nearly all of the health benefit from my current lifestyle. I like to exercise more than an hour per day but that’s for mental wellbeing, rather than physical health.


The above makes it clear, at least to me, why I can only work on one thing at a time.

  • Wife
  • Three kids
  • Amateur sport
  • Job
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Yoga
  • Spiritual Development

If I seek to change everything (~100 hours per week) then I’ll become overwhelmed and lose the consistency required to achieve anything!

Choose Wisely.