Want More Success and Happiness? 14 Things You Must Do Less

What do you mean less is more?

abudance-over-scarcity

You’ve heard it. Less is more.

I first heard this counter-intuitive phrase in reference to fancy restaurants. You know, the ones which serve you up a teeny tiny portion of elaborate food on a fancy plate with a shocking price tag. Less is more. Less is more attractive, more desirable, and creates a higher sense of scarcity and desire, they insisted.

That made no sense to me. Less is less. More is more. What kind of wacky marketing are they using to sell this message? And who would be foolish enough to believe it?

Now I finally get it. Less is more and it’s not just with eating less (although it doesn’t have to come with the price tag of a 5-star restaurant either!).

Less is more in many areas of our lives because over-indulgence, as you may have found out through sweet experience, is not the way to either success or happiness.

The lure of over-indulgence and mindless accumulation

Over-indulgence and mindless accumulation are the surest way to confusion, frustration and even misery. Sweet, tempting and desirable as they seem on the surface, they are not a way to a happy heart for the long-term.

They can give you a momentary sense of delight or pleasure but that evaporates after a day or a week, and you come crashing down fast from their empty promise of happiness.

And if you are not careful, your lows will lure you into going back for more. Maybe you didn’t get quite enough: maybe you didn’t eat quite grandiosely enough, drink quite heavily enough, work quite hard enough or spend quite extravagantly enough.

And maybe that’s why you are not quite yet happy enough.

So, you talk yourself into doing just a little more - buy more, eat more, work more, drink more – then maybe the magic will happen. But no matter how much you do, you feel further from the promise land.

Your inner voice screams at you about how insane this all is, and to stop, to slow down, to be more intentional and less anxious. But that’s neither interesting nor sexy because you have lofty goals and doing less is sure to yield in average results.

Well, I don’t care about average any more than you do so I would never dispense any advice that would give you an average anything in your life. Average is boring and uninteresting, I agree but more is not the answer to, well, more.

The problem with more: More does not necessarily result in better, higher and happier anything. More is a reaction we have to not knowing the real answer. And when we don’t know any better, we do more of what is familiar in hopes that it all “adds up”.

I know it’s counter-intuitive but some facts of life are just so:

Eat less to feel better.
Drink less to enjoy life more.
Work less to get promoted and get a raise.
Spend less to have more.

And you may need to do more of certain other things (fodder for another blog post, hmmm!) in order to reach your goals and dreams, but today, let us focus on less and here’s why.

Your mind and your heart are your treasure boxes. You can’t add new wonderful things into your treasure box until you take out or do less of what’s not working.

Today we empty the box. We look inside. We clean it out and get it ready. We become both conscious and intentional of what goes into the box and we prepare the box for a great treasure hunt ahead.

14 Things to Do Less to Get More Success and Joy in Life Now

1. Eat less: I was shocked by how much I eat, thanks to calorie tracking with MyFitnessPal. Mindless eating, emotional eating and social eating can lead to those extra pounds that make you curse the scale down the road and go on a radical diet in reaction. Just eat less. Research has shown that you are far healthier if you stop eating before you are really full. Try it for a week. You’ll feel, shall I say, more satisfied, not to mention healthier?

2. Buy less. Ever since I fell into an accidental minimalist, I feel more content. Me! The over-consumer, materialistic, stuff-loving gal. I haven’t gone into radical extremes. I admit, I still buy stuff I don’t need but want, and I am not ashamed of it. But I am very intentional about my purchases. Buy with a clear mind and never on an impulse.

3. Watch less TV. I didn’t say watch no TV (or telly). Watch just a little less. Give your mind a chance to consume higher quality of information (and entertainment). Watch less mindless TV. If there are 3 TV shows that bring you joy, watch them, but if you turn on the TV because you are bored, do less of that.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday. ~Mary Schmich

4. Worry less. Become very aware of your worry and train yourself to do less, far far less of this. Worry makes you feel as though you are doing something useful but you are only taking time away from the real useful stuff. Use guided meditation to change the habit. It’s helped me tremendously.

negative-my-door

5. Judge less. We never, ever, have enough information to judge someone else for what they (probably) did. But the energy, the emotion, the time it takes to judge might just be better used toward that dream project you have shelved or the book you haven’t cracked open or the important stuff in your life that needs your attention. Let others be. Judge less.

6. Be busy less. Busy isn’t respectable anymore. Drop “I’m busy!” as a response to everything. Be more authentic and more honest. Are you really busy or filling up your time with “stuff”? Do you want to be doing what you are doing? Take a closer look. Be less busy.

7. Work less. That’s right. Chances are you are working hard enough but doing less of what really matters to get ahead. This myth alone is what fueled me to create my free program for every careerist who wants to enjoy a successful career without – I repeat, without - handing their soul over to workaholism.

8. Be negative less. The negative thoughts in your head are killing you. Learn to identify them. Believe that they are telling you lies to keep you from living a happy life. People are not bad. The world isn’t against you. You are not unlucky or unfortunate. When you change your thoughts, you can begin to change your life.

A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell; And very hard the task I find of governing it well. – Louisa May Alcott

9. Drink alcohol less. Yes, I can appreciate the (very) occasional glass of wine too, but drinking causes more problems than your health (or your finances!) deserve. You can still have a grand time with friends over a glass of sparkling water. You can still feel the high of life and be sociable. Drink less alcohol and be more alert for life.

10. Compare less: Compare yourself less to anyone out there and make it a rule that you can only compare yourself to your previous self. Are you better than yesterday? If not, strive for better tomorrow. That’s the only way comparison serves you well. The rest just steals your joy.

11. Gossip less: This is not only a number one career suicide at the workplace, it is a cheap way of feeling good about yourself by putting others down. Gossip is for small minds and it’s a habit that you need to consciously break. Lift others up in their absence as you would want them to do for you.

12. Make excuses less. Excuses are your fear speaking in the place of your power. Excuses are not the real you. Excuses that you “can’t” do something or it’s “too hard” or “too late” are blocking you, keeping you stuck. Don’t put up with that. Procrastinate less and do what matters to you because you can. No excuses.

13. Have a bad attitude less. Life doesn’t always go our way. My way of handling it used to be to show off a poor attitude. The less things went my way, the worse my attitude would get. Oh this was a hard habit to break but an essential one. Accept what happens. It’s not happen “to you” so much as it’s just happening. And there’s always – ALWAYS – a silver lining. Your job is to find it.

14. Give your power away less. You have inside you the power to achieve all that you desire. Most of us go through life denying its existence or trading it for fear, for shame, for guilt or for excuses. Do less of that. A whole lot less. Believe more that there is this power inside you, hide it less and feed it more love and energy. You will meet a new you before you know it.

That’s all I got for you, my darling! Love to hear your thoughts on “less is more” in the comments.

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps


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  • Rhoni McFarlane

    I thought this was great. I particularly love #10 and #11, though I would have to say it’s not just gossip that we need to “check” but any negative talk about others when they are not present. If I am talking to a colleague about someone else I try to imagine they are also in the room.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      @rhonimcfarlane:disqus Such a great distinction – anything negative, not just gossip,and imagining them right next to you is a great test of what we would say and not say. Even going deeper than that, I question the need for gossip, and why I do it – it usually helps me stop before I get started. Progress :)!

  • http://www.workingmystic.com/ Nneka, Working Mystic

    It is ironically enriching to possess less. I feel free, mobile, and light.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      You said it well – not to mention so fulfilling, @nnekaworkingmystic:disqus :)

  • Elissa Philgence

    Hi Farnoosh
    Lovely post, number 7 spoke to and about me. My husband is always telling me to work smart not more. I am slowing starting to understand what he is trying to tell me.
    Be bless.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      @elissaphilgence:disqus Husbands know best (hope mine is not reading this – don’t want to boost his ego ;)) – and exactly what you said: I am *slowly* getting these deep concepts too!!!

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  • Sylvia Rytarowska

    It is all so true. But I’m wondering: do we have to have a lot, then see it doesn’t really work and choose to have little? Usually it seems to go like this. At least for me.
    In Poland where I live now, people visit shopping malls a lot – it’s kinda weekend pastime. Shopping with the whole family. I enjoyed it too but now that I have so much to do, I hate shopping, even for food :-). But I was the one who visited malls every week too. Seems like ages ago.
    I now try to focus on not judging because it’s still hard. How did you manage to achieve this? I mean, you do face awful people sometimes and then :-) you know.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Live and let live, @sylviarytarowska:disqus I used to shop a lot too and now I enjoy reading, working on my business, traveling and doing a ton of yoga. Why should what others do bother you if you are happy living life this way for yourself? How would it feel if others judged you for not shopping? ;)

      • Sylvia Rytarowska

        Theoretically yes of course. But is there a technique or a phrase that you tell yourself while you’re just angry at some a..hole who e.g. almost crashed into your car? You’re not an angel, are you? Well even if you are, some practical info how to stop judging and criticizing for a bread eater like me, please? When I’m on hot coals…

        • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Of course I am not an angel – far far from it. :) Here is a list of affirmations I use: http://www.prolificliving.com/100affirmations

          • Sylvia Rytarowska

            you could record these as an audio. They are beautiful. Thanks. I’ll read them more carefully now.

            • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              On my to-do list @sylviarytarowska:disqus So glad you thought the same!!!!

  • http://projectsimplelife.com/ Mariel

    This is a great read! I’m in my early 20s and I accumulated so much stuff and debt by the time I was 20 that it was awful. Stumbling across minimalism has been the best thing in my life. I’m so glad you have shared your experiences and thoughts on this. The idea of less is more but not completely bare such as your idea of buying less but buying intentionally. I still do that too, and it’s not always because I need it but it makes all the difference knowing the purchase doesn’t come from a place of remorse or searching for fulfillment. Thanks for the read!

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @mboldis:disqus It starts to add up doesn’t it? Yes to buying intentionally – I am right now looking for some hot new yoga pants with cool patterns and asking myself, do I really need it? How much joy will it bring me? (Leaning towards YES YES ;)) but we’ll see. Good for you Mariel and glad this was helpful!

      • http://projectsimplelife.com/ Mariel

        I’m not sure if this would help with your decision, but when I do buy something I “want” rather than a “need,” especially clothing, I always give at least 1 or 2 articles of clothing away or sell them (consignment or a platos closet kind of deal). This way, I never keep accumulating, but rather let others enjoy what I don’t wear anymore, possibly make some money to put towards my new purchase, and my closet never gets fuller.

        • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Helps tremendously – I usually give away a bunch of my clothes to the Veterans communities – never sell just give away … although selling can work too it’s just easier to give away – and you are so right in that others get to use it. You are so lovely @mboldis:disqus thanks hon and enjoy your path to minimalism. Check out my good friend Joshua Becker’s blog: BecomingMinimalist.com

          • http://projectsimplelife.com/ Mariel

            Ahhh yes! Joshua is already an inspiration of mine. And it is because of his journey, yours, and a few others why I have started my own blog called ProjectSimpleLife in hopes of sharing my journey as well. Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  • http://NoMoreHoldingBack.com/ Larry Hochman

    What I love about this is that when you’re doing less of stuff that’s not in your best interest, the space has to be filled with something…even if it’s just a sense of release, relief and well being. It’s the start to getting reintroduced to your highest good.

    What a great post, Farnoosh!

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      HI @disqus_CFkUB5RY8K:disqus The space, oh my the space that opens up. You are so right! It’s a relief and completely aligned to our highest good. Glad you enjoyed it and come back anytime, Larry, to share more thoughts.

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/ Vishnu

    The “be busy” less one is the one I can resonate with most Farnoosh. It’s strange that at one point in my life I wanted to be as busy as I could possibly be. I wanted to be doing something every single second to be as productive as possible. But of course, this is counter-intuitive. The more leisure time and free time you have, the better you can do the things that you care about and you can enjoy what you’re doing more. So now, it’s all about being less busy and saying “no” to a whole lot of things. I can have gaps of free time in my day now and be perfectly content with it.

    I love this post and all the tips here. Bottom line: be more, do less :)

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      I LOVE seeing you here @VishnusVirtues:disqus How on earth do we do this one on a regular basis? I am doing it a lot more than I used to … and mindset shift is of course everything … I know and get the importance of it but it’s still hard to be okay with being less busy – be more, do less, well said my friend.

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  • Saf Farian

    Thank you Farnoosh-jan! This is a message to let you know you have certainely managed to constructively enrich my life with positivity and insight! And I’m only at step # 5 of the 21 step program! I admire and support your cause :) Keep up te good work <3

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Oh thank you so much @saffarian:disqus Do we share the same “vatan”? :) Glad you are getting so much out of the confidence program – thank you and if you want the whole book, grab it here: https://gumroad.com/l/confidence-guide

      • Saf Farian

        Yes yes, fellow “mihan” here! Thank you for the link :) While thinking about heritage, here is an interesting question: Do you integrate certain aspects of your cultural background into your work at the moment? And if so, how ?

  • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

    I hear you @disqus_a5mJ7Rnjc9:disqus It’s Not Easy at all but you know, I’ve been watching my portions a lot and I can tell you it gets easier …. hang in there and your body will LOVE you for this!

  • Lisa Burbank

    The less busy one is a tough one for me but one that I am recognizing and seeking to remedy. I tend to fill my life up with the “little things” and then do not have room for the bigger things. Going to college in my mid-40′s is forcing me to prioritize, to manage my time better so that I can still accomplish the necessities yet still have to time to recharge my batteries doing things I love…

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      @lisaburbank:disqus So glad to hear you are going to college and not letting anything stop you. Stay focused on your goals and the distractions will lose their appeal :)!

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  • http://want2discover.com/ Bastiaan Blikman

    This is a great list of things that in the way of success. Buy Less is a great one. Me and my girlfriend love living a minimalistic lifestyle. It allows you to work less and live more. Thanks for this great list, I think it will inspire a lot of people.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @bastiaanblikman:disqus How are you doing with the path to more happiness and less buying? Thank you for your wonderful comment. Stay inspired!

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