business john dessauer real estate real wise simplicity the dessauer group Aug 25, 2010

The number 33 typically brings about the idea of old record albums. 33 was the speed (33-rpm) at which the albums played correctly. I have been thinking of how that number applies to other areas in life and business.

Last year, I moved from my house of nine years. The house was 7500 square feet of living space. I guess you could consider it one of those “McMansions” that they talk about that was so popular during the real estate boom. The house included every amenity including a 12 seat movie theater, gourmet kitchen, and even a library filled with books. I moved from that house because I realized that I did not need the space (or the expenses).

In thinking about the 7500 square foot space, I only used 2500 square feet. Only about 33%! Sure I went to the other parts of the house, but only really used 2500 square feet. So I decided to move. An investment company that I am involved in built a 2000 square foot home on a nearby lake. I decided to sell the big home(which unfortunately is still on the market) and move to the lake. My only concern was the “lack of” space. I decided to do a self study on the new space that was moving into.

It’s now been almost a year of living in the smaller house, and something has surfaced that is amazing to me. In this 2000 square foot house, I really only use about 700 square feet! About 33%! I thought that this was the strangest thing! I immediately thought about all of the waste that occurred in my life, from financial things like taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. I often wonder, could I have spent that money in a better way? Could I invested it? Could I had given it away to people less fortunate than myself?

I wondered if this could be a staggering life and business lesson for me? I thought I would give it one more test. For years, I drove very large expensive SUVs. Everything from a Hummers to Cadillac Escalades. My most recent vehicle was a 2009 Pearl White Cadillac Escalade. Could I buy something at 33% of the price and still be happy? What was my purchase? A 2010 4-Door Jeep Wrangler. I love it!

It is one of the most freeing vehicles that I have driven! Especially with the top off and the radio playing my favorite music. I really don’t miss the Escalade (or the expense) at all! I also think that the Jeep will be a perfect vehicle for my upcoming, permanent move to the Florida Keys!

Since understanding a bit about what I was transforming into, I wondered where this new found sense of value was leading me? I have tried to apply what I learned into other areas of my life. I have made what seems like 100 trips to the local Goodwill store. Donating things like clothes, plates, electronics, etc. I have to say that it has been, and continues to be a freeing experience. I believe we truly need about 33% of the “stuff” that we have. We all could find ways to “be more with less”. Try this quick test. What are the main rooms you spend time in your house? Add up the square footage. If it is less than say half, you probably have a lot more things in your life you could get rid of. It may free up extra money, time, and enjoyment!

Remember the library? Well, I am donating all of those books to a local church, and have since bought a Kindle (electronic reader). The Kindle doesn’t use any space, and I can store a lot more books than any library! It’s not only a space and money thing. I don’t have to worry about things like cleaning a library.(not that I cleaned the library much anyway – Ha, ha, but you get the point!) I can use that time to more constructive things! (Like writing my blogs!) So I decided to go further with my new found life efficiency platform. I also took every picture that I had ever taken and digitized them so that I could have a permanent copy. I am in the process of giving away pictures to loved ones and friends. I also am able to utilize my pictures better for viewing through my computer and digital picture frames.

In other words, I am continuing with the mantra, “Less is More”. With the state of our economy, if your not currently simplifying, your playing a fools game. I am learning that we don’t need all of the things we think we do. There is richness in our simplicity.

To thrive in business and life today we have to be simple. The people of this country have been victimized by excessive consumerism. We are bombarded with things like low interest rates, easy credit, and advertising campaigns that practically take the money from our wallets. We have lived for too long with the idea of the right to indulgence. We have lived too long for ideals that are based on status. I am trying to shake that characteristic in my life. Its not easy, but I think a necessity if we are to thrive in business and life.

As I continue my journey with simplicity, I can’t help but enjoy the true blessings we have in life! I don’t care so much about impressing people, I now care more about knowing and understanding people. Sometimes that means you lose people in your life. You have to be o.k. with that and ask, what were they really there for in the first place? If they are not there for who you are and what you are, instead of what you have, do you really need them? A person once told me that here in America, “we buy things we can’t afford to impress people that we don’t like.” I believe that we will all do better when we return to focus on the things that are important to us. We always return to those things before our life is over. Things like health, time, and family. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s too late. I challenge you to see how you can simplify your life and enjoy what is truly important.

"Remember.. Wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure, and life is as simple as you make it!" -John Dessauer

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