Posts by Carl-Phillips

Carl writes short books full of big ideas. He is also the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers find and live their own version of a simpler, good, life.

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How to Ease the Pain of Being Human: From Breakdown to Breakthrough

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know” ~Pema Chödrön

We are all works in progress.

We all have skeletons in our closets that we may wish to never come out. We have all made mistakes. We will all make mistakes in future. We all have our scars.

None of us are close to reaching that mythical ‘perfect’ status. Never will be.

None of us should consider ourselves fully evolved. Not even close. There will always be space for improving an area of our lives.

Truth be told, most of us are a contradictory …

Movement, Stillness, and Insight: My 3 Daily Non-Negotiables for a Busy World

“Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every single day and the rest will fall into place.” ~Unknown

We live in a busy world. There is always something, or someone, fighting for our attention. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to lose the time we need for ourselves. The white space in our days is often the first thing to get squeezed out as demands on our time escalate.

To combat this pull to overwhelm, I decided to create a list of daily non-negotiables.

Having a list of non-negotiables means I get to control at least a …

If You Expect a Lot and You’re Tired of Being Disappointed

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Almost universally, many of the problems we face in life are tied to our own expectations.  Expectations of ourselves. Expectations of others. Expectations of situations. Expectations of the world at large.

We may expect ourselves to be perfect and successful in all our pursuits. We may expect to feel constantly happy with our lives. We may expect others to think and react like we do. We may expect …

How Are You Trading Your Time, Energy and Life?

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~Henry David Thoreau

We all make trades in life.

We trade our time. We trade our energy. We trade our hard-earned money. We trade our attention.

Many of us move through life in constant motion, never stopping to reflect on where that motion is taking us. If it’s helping or hindering us. If the trades we are making daily are letting us live our best lives. If the trades are giving us more quality time with those we care about most. If we can turn up for …

How to Reap the Benefits of Meditation Without Meditating

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” ~Bruce Lee

The benefits of meditation are far reaching and have been well known for centuries. However, the idea of formal meditation doesn’t sit well with some of us.

The idea of sitting cross-legged for extended periods and delving inward puts many of us off before we’ve even got started. Even the word “meditation” can be a very real barrier to entry for some. What a shame, as the many benefits of meditation can be good for us all.

Those benefits can include:

Our Odd Culture of Over-Sharing and the Quest to Be Relevant

“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

We show off our best moments—another sunshine shot from the beach, big smiles, cocktails and all. We try to be controversial. We ride the wave of the latest trend, showing we’re ‘on point’ and ‘in the know.’ We follow in the slipstream of something clever or enlightened someone else has said, rewording a little as if it’s now ours to own.

We hit send. We repeat.

As …

Why I’m Done Standing on the Sidelines of Life

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.” ~Bruce Lee

It’s easy to criticize others.

It’s easier to sit outside a situation than be in it.

Ironically, it’s easy to belittle someone else’s efforts without making any real effort ourselves.

The safe side of the ropes is an easier choice than committing to being in the ring, truly baring something. It’s also a softer option.

It’s much harder to have skin in the game.

It takes guts, and a healthy degree of get …

How Doing Less Can Help You Have More of What Matters

“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.” ~Cal Newport

Our culture celebrates the image of being able to get it all done. Having it all. Juggling work and life, while being a massive success at both. Having the big house, the shiny new car, the wife or husband, kids, and pets waiting for us with big smiles at the end of each and every day. Always being happy. Feeling constantly fulfilled. Living a life packed full of sunshine, light, and adventure in every single moment.

It’s a nice image. It’s pretty intoxicating. It’s also largely a myth. …

How Micro Habits Can Help You Reach Big Goals

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Lao Tzu

Many of us have big, grand goals for our lives.

These goals can be tied to our work, or maybe starting a family, or ideals for a new home with that family, or travel to an exotic location we’ve long dreamed about, or pretty much anything else. Oftentimes these goals can seem a very long way from where we are presently in our lives. In fact, sometimes they can seem so far away that they appear to be totally out of reach.

As a consequence, too …

Life Is Fragile: Make Time for What Matters and Let Go of What Doesn’t

“Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just be.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I lost one of my very best friends when we were both just twenty-nine years old. In the time since, I’ve thought about him on most days.

Thinking about him sometimes makes me well up and feel sad. Sometimes it makes me think about the hole him not being here has left. Selfishly, perhaps, I think about how much I miss him.

Sometimes I laugh aloud at the thought of …

We Can Choose Different Ways Without One of Us Being Wrong

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Many of us are committed to a journey of change and personal growth. While these are traits to be admired and celebrated, they can also have a darker side. We can become a little militant and dogmatic when we’re on our journeys.

As we focus on our attempts to make changes in our own lives, our views can start to narrow and become very black and white. We become so tuned into what …

Rethinking What Really Matters: The Four Most Important Things in Life

“Life is short. Focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t.” ~Unknown

Our most precious commodities are not our smartphones, 3D TVs, brand new cars, or even our big and impressive houses.

Our most precious commodities can’t be found at the bank. They can’t be ordered online. The truth is, they are on a very short list.

Amongst our most precious commodities are our purpose, time, health, and our relationships.

How I Came to This Conclusion

Several years ago I realized I was accumulating more in my life. More things that didn’t really matter to me or …

More Information is Not the Answer; More Action Is

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” ~Bruce Lee

We live in a world where information is literally at our fingertips, twenty-four hours a day, every day. As wonderful as this can be, it can also lead to a number of challenges.

With so much information available to us it can be difficult to know which way is up.

The more we read, the more confused we become.

One source makes a logical argument for one way to do something. Then we read a completely opposing view that is backed by another logical …

When Self-Help Doesn’t Help: Doing What’s Best for You

“Your inner knowing is your only true compass.” ~Joy Page

Are you someone who devours self-help books, blogs, and articles?

Do you take pleasure in checking out the latest advice from this “expert” or that “guru”?

Are you someone who puts into play the advice proposed but are still left feeling somewhat unfulfilled afterward?

The Trouble with Self-Help

The trouble with self-help advice is that sometimes it leads us down the path of us not helping ourselves at all. Sometimes we get so caught up in someone else’s vision that we lose sight of our own.

Truth be told, what …

Need Less, Have More: Life Expands When We Eliminate the Excess

“Knowledge is learning something new every day.  Wisdom is letting go of something every day” ~Zen Saying

Simplicity, at its heart, comes down to eliminating the excess in our lives.

Excess needs, wants, possessions. The list goes on.

Society tries to sell us on the idea that having more in our lives should be the goal and is the answer. But is more really improving the quality of our lives?

Do more possessions beyond a certain point really add value to our lives?

Do more commitments in our diaries really help us feel less stressed and rushed?

Does always wanting …