A Life Formula

Recently, I got together with a friend I hadn’t seen for many years. She had moved out of town and recently moved back to the Cleveland area. We were catching up, and I was sharing the state of my life and my experiences with her – lots of joy and fun, little or no stress, travels and adventure, and differently navigating the challenging parts of life including loss and grief. At one point she asked me what the secret was to creating this life experience, and, while I’ve shared many points relating to this before, I shared it with her for the first time in a sort of formula – what I’m now calling the 5 x 4 for life.

Five simple concepts for living an enriched life—each one only four words. While they may not always be easy to achieve, I’ve found them to be true, and their simplicity has allowed me to live life differently than ever before and differently than most people do. My hope is that with every passing day more of you embrace this 5 x 4 formula and achieve more of what you’ve been desiring in your businesses, careers, relationships and lives.

Here is the 5 x 4 formula for life:

  1. I Only Control Me – It’s simple and absolutely true. You don’t control anyone else or anything else. We all know this, and many of you acknowledge this, but you don’t live your life as if this is true. All or nearly all of your stress comes from or relates to things that you don’t control, and embracing this truth is one pivotal foundation for a life shift.
  2. I Am Here Now – The next foundation for a life shift is committing to and achieving full presence in every nook and cranny of your life. Certainly when interacting with others, but also with everything you do in life. Whether you’re taking a walk, working on a project, playing a game, or enjoying a vacation, being fully present will enhance and enrich your experience, the experience of everyone around you and your outcomes.
  3. Detach From The Outcomes – This will be a tough one for many of you because you still believe (arrogantly) that you control outcomes. Detachment involves being fully and passionately committed to your objectives and desires (with high expectations), while staying detached from the outcomes. As simple as this sounds, many of you deny it’s truth. You say the words, but you internally believe that you actually control outcomes. This is your ego talking. Certainly, you have influence on outcomes by your efforts, mindsets, etc., but you don’t control the outcomes. Many of us have been told to be realistic or to lower our expectations (so we’re not disappointed), but that sets us up for lesser outcomes. However, when you’re able to set and commit to high expectations, while detaching from the outcome, you’ll achieve a level of peacefulness and impact beyond your current imagination.
  4. It Will Be Fine – When you consider this entire formula, this might be the most difficult part of all. Admittedly, this is the only one that I can’t say is a clear truth. The reason is that this foundation is based upon trust and faith. Whether you have a faith practice (religious, spiritual or otherwise) or not, this element is critical to achieving the overall objectives and shifts because without it you’ll fall victim to many of your current realities of stress, uncertainty and doubt. No matter what happens in my life or around me today and no matter what outcomes are achieved or not achieved, I deeply trust that everything will be fine (including me). I can’t prove that this is true – that everything will be fine – but I’m living this powerful maxim and experiencing its truth.
  5. Just Take A Breath – For you doubters of things that seem too simple, this will be a difficult foundation to embrace. You might say or think, “How can taking a breath change everything?” but that’s the real truth – taking a breath does change everything. My friend and fellow coach Jim Smith has been sharing this wisdom and truth with leaders for many years – the power and impact of breathing – and it’s so simple that its power often gets ignored or underestimated. I often invite people to take a breath – particularly when they’re feeling stress or uncertainty – and they almost always say, “I am breathing.” My response is that they’re survival breathing, but taking a real breath (or two or three) will help them relax, get present and dump all or most of whatever stress they’re experiencing. The magic of the breath is profound, simple and real – catch yourself not breathing and take a breath.

There it is – the 5 x 4 formula for a peaceful, connected and impactful life.

In answer to the question I know many of you are asking right now, yes, it IS just that simple. I know it works because it’s the way I’ve been living for the past year. Admittedly, I have (increasingly rare) occasions when I forget or lose track of this life formula, but it’s the core of my life experience today and it’s deepening every day. The recent deaths of my mom and uncle, as well as various personal and business challenges, have tested and proven to me the truth and impact of the 5 x 4 life formula.

I’m grateful to have found and clarified this different way of living and leading, and I’m offering it to each one of you to help you shift the way that you navigate and experience every aspect of your lives. These are the foundations that I share with my coaching clients and support them in achieving. These are also the foundations that are at the core of my personal retreats (Arrows of Truth).

The question is not whether the 5 x 4 life formula works, but whether you are willing to let go of control, put aside your ego, and allow yourself to trust enough to receive what you desire. If you’re ready to shift your life experience, the 5 x 4 is your solution.

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Motivational saying that you need to make change to improve your life and not wait for chances


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