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Five-Bullet Monday - June 28th

Here is this week's Five-Bullet Monday

A quote I am pondering:

"If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself." ― Albert Einstein

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." ― Clare Boothe Luce

Simplicity is a beautiful thing. It was something that Steve Jobs was famous for with Apple products – essentially, the principle is to keep reducing until you remain with only what is absolutely essential. It is an area I am trying to improve on in the "Making Money Work" series. "Simplify, simplify," I keep saying to myself.

A question I am asking myself:

What does the next stage on my life journey look like?

I am heading away on my first ever personal retreat over the Canada Day long weekend. I am one part excited for what will become of it and another part, wondering how I will use up all that time. My particular focus will be the next six months and then extending to the next two years. How do I want all the facets of my life to evolve over that time? What do I need to set in place to make sure these happen? If you make personal retreats, please drop me a line as I would love to learn how yours went and what you found most helpful.

A book I am reading:

The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor

In the book, Shawn Achor writes about how rewiring our brain for happiness helps us achieve more in our careers and relationships. The conventional wisdom has been that; once we succeed, we'll be happy; that once we get the new job or promotion, buy a new car, lose a couple of kilos, find a new partner etc., happiness will follow. But the science reveals this formula to be backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

If you don't keep a daily gratitude journal, please, please start one today. I started one a couple of months ago, and it has made an enormous difference – I feel so much more positive, and I am enjoying life far more.

My favourite podcast this week:

What's Essential with Greg McKeown – Arthur Brooks on Living a Better and Happier Life

So this week is clearly on the theme of building and sustaining your internal happiness. If you haven't got time to read or listen to Shawn Achor's book, then have a listen to this podcast for the condensed version (30 minutes). I found the podcast interesting in that they talk about us all being different, so we should target the happiness level that suits our personality type. For example, some people are effusive optimists, and others may be quiet introverts, so everyone has their own unique happiness sweet spot.

My highlights from the prior week

16-hour daily fasting

Having listened to the benefits of fasting on several podcasts, I decided to give the daily fasting version a try. It goes like this: eat and drink for eight hours during daylight hours and then water-only fast for the other 16. I have done it for the last week, first eating around 10 am and having my last meal around 6 pm. My one cheat is that I have my traditional flat white coffee in the morning around 5 am when I wake up – I do love my first coffee of the day.

The great thing I have found with this habit is that it stops me raiding the fridge for something sweet later in the evenings. It is supposedly one of the best ways to reduce stubborn belly fat (for which I have had an ample supply for the last 30 years), so I am watching for interest as I give it a go for the second week. I did post a new low on the scale this morning, so that is encouraging. Best of all, I have not been hungry anytime in the 16 hours, which was a total surprise.

My challenge to you for this week

Do something that scares you

I know you have all heard this before, but a reminder around stretching our boundaries is never wasted.

What makes you nervous or uncomfortable? We all have our unique vulnerabilities? For me, it is starting conversations with strangers. I can't say it's totally scary, but it's very uncomfortable, and that's because I'm not very good at it. So here's my goal this week – talk to as many strangers as possible this week, smile, look them in the eye and strike up a conversation. After all, what's the worse that could happen? I like the three-second principle – when the opportunity shows, do it within three seconds. If you don't, you are more than likely to beat a retreat and then sit admonishing yourself. So be brave and conquer – let's do this!

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