8 Ways to Clear the Clutter and Improve Your Life

by Raymond David Salas

Why clear the clutter?

What good can it do?

How can it improve your life?

Well, for starters… 

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” - Eleanor Brownn

“You find when you simplify and you just take what you need, and just give yourself what you need, you find there is space for so many other things.” - Tom Shadyac

8 Ways to Clear the Clutter and Improve Your Life

- Simplify with the “6-12 month” rule. 

To simplify using the “6-12 month” rule, just do this: If you have stuff that you haven’t used or enjoyed for at least 6-12 months, pack it up and get rid of it. Give it to all to Goodwill or another charity of your choosing. They’ll be glad to take it off your hands.

If this is too much for you, then pack it up and store it for 6 months. Set up a reminder in Google Calendar (or something similar) to send you an email in 6 months. After 6 months passes, if you still didn’t touch any of the stuff you packed up, it likely means that it does not serve a purpose in your life anymore and is just taking up space. So, get rid of it. 

- Stop collecting so much crap.

I used to collect baseball cards when I was a kid. As I got older, I got tired of storing them because they took up a lot of space. So, I got rid of them.

Do you really need that limited edition state bird plate collection? Or that coin collection that’s just gathering dust in a box somewhere. I don’t know. Maybe you do. 

The point is to look at all of the stuff you’re saving and storing, then apply the previous “6-12 month” rule.

- Forgive yourself and others. Let go of past regrets.

Holding onto grudges and past grievances only takes up mental and emotional space in your consciousness. The remedy is to forgive and let it go. Cut the ties that are binding you to these people and situations from the past. If not, it will be like unnecessarily dragging around a 15-pound weight with you wherever you go. Who needs that?

Forgiveness also means forgiving yourself for past regrets and dumb mistakes. Everybody has some. So, forgive them and set yourself free.

- Tame your “to-do” list.

Make a list of everything you need to do, including projects and tasks, both big and small. I suggest keeping it on your computer so it’s easy to update.

The purpose of making this list is to take all of these items out of your head and onto your list, reducing your mental clutter. Also, remember that none of this is set in stone. You can revise this list whenever or however you need to.

Once you have your list complete, the next time you have 15 or 30 minutes or more, pick one item from the list to work on. The idea is to make whatever progress you can on that one item with the time you have available.

Whenever you complete the task or project, simply delete it from the list.


- Turn off mindless TV. Consciously choose your entertainment.

I’m not making an argument against TV. I’m just suggesting that you choose your entertainment consciously. Don’t just keep the TV on to use it as a kind of "white noise" in the background. Also, don’t sleep with your TV on. This just fills up your subconscious mind with all kinds of crap. Stay clear.

- Let go of relationships and situations that don’t feel good.

If you’re spending time with people or situations you don’t enjoy, you’re only creating resistance and negativity within you. If it continues, this can adversely impact you mentally, emotionally, and even physically (because they’re all connected).

Like Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Think about this, then make changes accordingly (if needed).

- Be present. Enjoy the moment.

How many of us are ever truly present in THIS moment? Not many, I would guess. Most of us are too preoccupied with the past (what already happened) or the future (what might happen).

Or we’re too busy on our cell phones. Or iPads, etc.

Whatever we choose to do with this moment, we will never have it back again. And, often we only realize this after something happens, then it’s often too late.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller

- Quit trying to control everything. 

The only control we ever really have is how we choose to respond to this present moment. Everything else is literally out of our control. Mind-blowing, I know.

For most of us, this thought is too overwhelming, so our fear responds by doing things like over-planning and trying to control everything. This only kills the magic of the moment.

Don’t let it.


A Near Death Survivor’s 10 Amazing Secrets for a Happy Life

Following her near-death experience in 2006, Anita Moorjani came back with a completely different view of life and the world around her. In her powerful book “Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing,” she details her incredible journey to “death’s door” and back again. 

What was it like for her?

She explains, “When I was in the NDE (near-death experience) state, it felt like I had woken up to a different reality. It felt like I had awoken from the ‘illusion’ of life, and from that perspective, it looked like my physical life was just a culmination of my thoughts and beliefs up to that point. It felt like the whole world was just a culmination of mass consciousness. That is, the culmination of everyone’s thoughts and beliefs. It felt like nothing was actually real, but we made it real with our beliefs.”

Her NDE experience gave her profound insights on the true purpose and meaning of life, and how to make the most of it.

A Near Death Survivor’s 10 Amazing Secrets for a Happy Life

In her own words...here are her 10 amazing secrets for a happy life:

- Laugh often. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

“...if I ever had to create a set of tenets for a spiritual path to healing, number one on my list would be to make sure to laugh as often as possible throughout every single day -- and preferably laugh at myself. This would be hands down over and above any form of prayer, meditation, chanting, or diet reform. Day-to-day problems never seem as big when viewed through a veil of humor and love.”

- Realize anything is possible.

“After what I have seen, I realize that absolutely anything is possible, and that we did not come here to suffer. Life is supposed to be great, and we are very, very loved.” 

- We can change anything.

“...nothing is solid (or real). We can change anything.”

“No matter where you are, it is only the culmination of your thoughts and beliefs up to that point. And you can change it.”

“...it is NEVER too late to do something, or change anything. It’s important to see the power that the present moment holds in turning our life around.”

- Everything is energy.

“None of us are as ‘real’ or physical as we think we are. From what I saw, it looked like we are energy first, and physical is only a result of expressing our energy. And we can change our physical reality if we change our energy.”

- Enjoy the moment.

“For me, personally, I was made to feel that in order to keep my energy/vibration level up, I only had to live in the moment, enjoy every moment of life, and use each moment to elevate the next moment (which then elevates my future).” 

- Your beliefs create your reality.

“From the perspective of the other dimension, it really felt like nothing is real, only our beliefs about them make them so. Now knowing that, I review what I believe, and only hold on to what serves to expand my life, and let go of anything that feels restricting, or doesn’t make me feel positive in any way.”

“I feel that once you start believing that something is possible, you start to let it into your awareness, and then it starts to become true for you. The more you believe it, the more it starts to become real for you. This is why it is so, very important to believe in positive things, rather than negative things.”

“Whatever you believe, you will find that you are correct. The universe has a way of presenting to you exactly what you believe. If you think life is great, you are correct. If you think life is tough, you will be proved correct too.”

- How to find your true purpose in life.

“Before my experience, I used to pursue my purpose externally. But after my NDE, I discovered there was nothing outside of myself. And there was nothing to pursue. I just had to be, and the external would fall into place.”

“Most of our suffering stems from us feeling ‘less than.’ We are not LESS THAN ANYTHING OR ANYONE!! We are complete!”

“Always remember not to give away your power -- instead, get in touch with your own magnificence. When it comes to finding the right path, there’s a different answer for each person. The only universal solution I have is to love yourself unconditionally and be yourself fearlessly”

- You have no competition.

“I am now just focused on being, and am now the creator of my life – that is, the artist of my life.  I no longer sit and think about the external competition. Each of us is unique, with unique traits and talents. I only have to express my own ‘beingness’ and ‘uniqueness.’ A true artist doesn’t really care about whether there is anyone who can create as well as or better than he. He is too busy expressing himself, purely for the purpose of expressing.”

“Just express your uniqueness with abandon!! That’s why you are made the way you are, and that’s why you are here in the physical world!!”

- You are magnificent!

“...it felt like there were endless possibilities, but I could always attain what was the absolute best possibility for me by choosing to always ‘remember my magnificence.’ ”

“I would want EVERYONE to know that every part of you is magnificent...Every part of you is perfect...You already are everything you need to be. We make it so complicated. But it’s not.”

- Find your “happy place.”

“We owe it to ourselves and to everyone around us to be happy and to spread that joy around. If we can go through life armed with humor and the realization that we are love, we’ll already be ahead of the game.”

“We’re living in an age of high stress and fear, and in the midst of trying to protect ourselves from everything we think is ‘out there,’ we’ve forgotten to enjoy ourselves and take care of what’s inside.”


How to Win the Super Bowl...and the Game of Life: The Real Secrets of Head Coach Pete Carroll

by Raymond David Salas

Pete Carroll, the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, became only the third coach in football history to win a national championship in college football and a Super Bowl in the NFL, with his recent win in Super Bowl XLVIII.

So, how did he do it? What are his secrets? 

More importantly, can his philosophy and approach be applied to this “game of life” we’re all in together? Well, I believe it can.

Here are the secrets of Pete Carroll for not only winning the Super Bowl, but also the bigger Game of Life:

How to Win the Super Bowl...and the Game of Life:
The Real Secrets of Head Coach Pete Carroll

- Look for the best in people. Celebrate what makes each person unique.

“We don’t LET them be themselves, we CELEBRATE them being themselves. We cheerlead for them to be themselves, and we try to bring out the very best that they have to offer. … That’s kind of how we operate.” - Pete Carroll

- Inspire hope. Motivate others to be their absolute best.

“The philosophy of the whole thing is we’re doing this one person at a time. It’s one person talking to one person and transferring a person with a vision of despair to hope. We have to help sculpt a vision for those types of people. So it isn’t so hopeless.” - Pete Carroll

- Follow a higher purpose.

“If I could be so bold as to take a stab at articulating Carroll's (higher purpose), I'd say that it might go a little something like this: ‘Helping people improve their lives and achieve great things by providing opportunities to show the world who they are at their best.’ “ - Elise Touchette, Life Coach

- See challenges as opportunities. Bring out the greatness in others.

“He looks for the best in people. He considers all challenges an opportunity to do something extraordinary. So he can interact with people on the margins — in terms of character or even talent — and cull greatness.” - Jerry Brewer, The Seattle Times

- Treat those closest to you like family. Make the group, the team, not the individual, the primary focus.

“One of the most impressive qualities of our Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks is the comradery the team has - the family spirit that has extended all the way to the 12th Man (the fans)! Carroll ‘gets’ each of those personalities and values his players as individuals. This is what invites them in to be a part of something bigger than themselves. For all the ego in the NFL, there was exponentially more ‘we’ talk from the Seahawks players than there was ‘me’ talk.  Carroll was able to bring all of these individual together as a team.” - Elise Touchette

- Be authentic. Be real.

“He’s able to put across his philosophy because it’s real. It’s not fake. It’s not just words. It’s from his heart and his brain and all his experience...With him, it’s just… real. There’s nothing fake about him at all.” - John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks’ general manager

- Trust yourself. Stay true to yourself.

“I was raised as a traditional coach, the people I was around, the ones that influenced me so much, all the way back to my high school days, my (youth football) days. I found out over time that I saw things a little differently than other guys, and it was pointed out to me that I was off track by some of my over-traditional guys. I went with my [convictions] and didn't think I had to answer to that." - Pete Carroll

- Focus on helping others.

“Helping people be the best they can be — it doesn’t matter what you’re talking about. Football, or whether you ‘re talking about business, or talking about families — the language and the intent and doing everything you can to help them. I can understand why that does resonate, and I’m very excited about that, because I know that the message goes beyond football.” - Pete Carroll

- Forgive others. Help others learn from their mistakes. Believe in them. Be willing to give them a second chance, wherever possible.

“Just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean that you don’t have all the good in you — for your future. People make mistakes all the time. We learn and grow. If there’s patience and love and you care for people, you can work them through it, and they can find their greatest heights. I love that this message is part of our program, because it really needs to be part of a lot of programs.” 

“Over the years, I’ve always found myself looking for guys that maybe other people don’t see something special in, and maybe we take a chance on a guy here or there that needs some extra consideration and care.” - Pete Carroll

- Visualize the success you desire. Develop a success mindset.

"This (winning the Super Bowl) is exactly what we envisioned from day one. We were going to be right here and win this football game — and it just happened to be in New York. which makes it even more special — in the fashion that we were able. We deserved it and we earned it because this is exactly what we've been preparing for, and we expected it. That may sound cocky. That may sound arrogant. But it's a mentality you can't get in one week.”

"This team has a foundation. They came in here knowing (that winning the Super Bowl) could likely happen. There's not one of those guys that's surprised about it, because we knew what it takes. That's a long process, to bring guys into that mentality. You're coaching with a very strict, disciplined approach. That's how they've learned it." - Pete Carroll

- Have fun. Be enthusiastic.

“No one has more fun coaching than Pete Carroll.” - Joe Buck, Super Bowl XLVIII announcer

“He’s the No. 1 guy. …a white-haired party animal.” - Malcolm Smith, Seattle Seahawaks’ linebacker

- See the bigger picture. Follow your mission. Pursue a greater good.

“...if you can’t appreciate that Carroll has a greater mission to improve lives, you’ll never fully understand him.” - Jerry Brewer, The Seattle Times

- Overcome failures. Learn from your mistakes.

Pete Carroll was a head coach in the NFL two previous times, for the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. He was fired from both positions. But, that didn’t stop him...

"It was the greatest opportunity in the world to be a head coach in the New York area, and I understand why that's so powerful. I  was really disappointed I didn't have a chance to see it through. But that's only a moment in time for me, just a moment in time . . . If anything, it just kicked me in the butt in a better way. Sometimes that has to happen." - Pete Carroll

- Overcome your doubts. Face your fears.

What doubts did Pete Carroll need to overcome? What fears?

“Was he too soft to be an effective head coach, as his critics suggested? Was his up-tempo, rah-rah approach that relied so much on positivity simply ill-suited to the NFL? Or should he try the college route and give up his dream of coaching at the highest level of the game?” - Bob Glauber, Newsday 

- Embrace change. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Keep growing and challenging yourself. 

After being fired twice as a head coach in the NFL, Pete Carroll built and maintained a dynasty in college as head coach at USC, which included seven straight Pac-10 Championships, two National Championships, and 33 straight weeks at #1. 

But, did he settle for this?

“I thought I would never leave USC. It was a perfect situation and I loved it. Everything was formatted so that I could really do things the way I wanted to do them and I had tremendous freedom and support, but I always knew that the NFL was the most competitive level that you could get involved with in the world of football. I always had that in the back of my mind that I wanted to see what would happen, particularly after the years at USC as we had success. I wanted to see what would happen if we translated this to the NFL and see what the result was.” - Pete Carroll

- Stay balanced and focused. Keep your successes in perspective.

"One of the things that happens every so often is teams have a big fallout after they win the Super Bowl. We're not in that situation."

“We have what we need. We just need to get back to work, when the time comes, with the right attitude and the right focus. That’s all I’m concerned about.”

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity, because it’s so difficult for teams to come back and play well after winning the Super Bowl. We take that challenge on now, nose to nose. We’re going to go after it and see what we can do about it.” - Pete Carroll

The Secret of Pete Carroll's Success

If it could all be summed up, what’s the secret to Pete Carroll’s success? 

He appeals to each player’s strengths, opens their eyes to greater possibilities and challenges them to reach their potential. And, he treats them all with respect. 

“One of the things Carroll has learned is that he must find his own ways in which his messages will resonate with his players. He believes in love. He believes in redemption. He believes in finding the best in the people around him and challenging them to find it at all times.” - Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated


10 Qualities That Can Make You Truly Great

by Raymond David Salas

If I asked you to name some truly great people, you would probably name individuals like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Jesus, Thich Nhat Hanh, etc.

But what makes them truly great?

10 Qualities That Can Make You Truly Great

Here’s the 10 qualities of truly great people...(that can make you great too!):

- Humility.

Truly great people are humble. They don’t do things to inflate or boost their own importance. 

- Aligned with a greater purpose.

They are focused on serving the greater good, adding value wherever they find themselves. They are not doing it for fame, money, or ego.

- Giving.

They are givers, sharing their gifts freely, without reservation. They are not focused on what they can get. They are focused instead on what they can give.

- Compassionate.

They genuinely care about others. They do all they can to help in any way possible.

- Non-conforming.

They are unique, offering original ideas and an uncommon perspective. They are unconventional, not followers. They are different without trying to be, by simply being themselves.

- Focused.

They focus their energies towards their passion and purpose. They are driven towards this purpose, and not easily distracted.

- Do not seek approval.

They are not overly concerned with what others think or feel about them. They continue their work regardless of the opinions of others. They’re not looking for followers, despite naturally attracting them.

- Balanced.

They speak up when they need to and remain silent when they don’t. They can be both introverted and extroverted in their actions, depending on the situation. They are balanced, both outspoken and reserved.

- Visionary.

They have a compelling vision of how they want to make the world a better place. Their thoughts, beliefs, and actions are aligned with this vision, which naturally draws others to it. 

- Loving.

They choose to express love whenever and wherever possible. Not a limited individual type of love, but rather a greater universal love that encompasses all.


10 Things That Made Life Better In 2013

by Raymond David Salas

What things helped make my life better in 2013?

What new things did I discover?

What things helped me make some positive changes in my life in 2013?

Here’s 10 things that made my life better in 2013 and I hope can improve yours too:

10 Things That Made Life Better In 2013

- Stand up desk

In 2012, the NY Times reported the results of two studies that concluded that “the more time someone spends sitting, especially in front of the television, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be.” 

This got me wondering “What’s the solution?” After a little research, I found that there is a growing number of people using a stand up desk, which as its name implies, is a desk that you use while standing up. 

There are many types and styles to choose from. After some consideration, I decided on a portable stand up desk that can be placed on top of my existing desk. This gives me the option of standing when I want to stand and sitting when I want to sit.

The brand I purchased was the Speedy Stand Up Portable Desk from Lamps USA.

After using it daily for a few months now, I can report feeling more energy, clearer thinking and focus, and better circulation. I highly recommend it.

You can check out the stand up desk I use HERE.

A key to using a stand up desk is also using an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. 

You can check out the anti-fatigue mat I use HERE.

- Brooks minimalist running shoes

With the increasing popularity of barefoot running shoes (i.e., running shoes that are the closest to running barefoot), I became intrigued with the possibility of trying a pair. Even though they initially looked kind of funny to me, I ended up buying a pair of Brooks minimalist running shoes from their PureProject collection, which are a cross between barefoot shoes and traditional running shoes. 

They are awesome, so light and comfortable, just like walking around barefooted. I can’t stop wearing them!

- Songza

Being a DJ for many years, I have always been super picky about the music that I listen to. Songza is a free app and website that offers playlists created by music experts. 

What I found really helpful is that Songza lets you choose a playlist not only by genre and decade, but also by activity and mood. For example, if you’re relaxing, or working, or partying, or doing housework, or studying, or doing whatever...there is probably a playlist for you. Or, if you’re feeling happy, or gloomy, or mellow, or even sexual, there are playlists for you too. How cool is that?

You can check out Songza HERE.

And, you can check out the Songza app HERE.

- Elemental Superfood Seedbars

Warning: these Elemental bars are highly addictive. Yes, they are raw, gluten free, dairy free nutrition bars. And, I know this may sound boring… but rest assured, they are delicious.

Nicole Anderson, a mother of an autistic child, researched and began making food for her daughter after witnessing dramatic changes when she eliminated wheat, dairy, and sugar from her diet. She then made it her mission to provide food that has a positive effect on the body. Elemental Superfood Seedbars are the result.

You can check out Elemental Superfood Seedbars HERE.

"Choose Yourself!" by James Altucher

James Altucher is a hedge fund manager, investor, entrepreneur, and best-selling author. He has an interesting history where he made millions of dollars, lost millions of dollars, made it all back only to lose it again.

In “Choose Yourself,” he shares his personal philosophy and tools for finally breaking this losing cycle, releasing the wreckage of the past, and building a brighter, more satisfying life.

He is very funny, with a writing style that is very honest, direct, down-to-earth, and often inspiring.

You can check out "Choose Yourself!" by James Altucher HERE.

- Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are an old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina. Their music is a modern twist on a traditional sound with deep roots in folk, bluegrass, and jazz. Both the music and vocals are rich, lively, energizing, and powerful. You can’t help but feel good when you listen to them.

Check out one of my favorite tracks: "Hit ‘Em Up Style"

- Rodriguez

After watching the powerful documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” and listening to its great soundtrack, I really wanted to see the featured musician Sixto Rodriguez perform, if he ever came to the LA area.

Well, my wish came true when I got the opportunity to see him perform in April 2013 at a small theater here in LA. 

His performance was moving. His story is incredible. His music is uplifting. And, Rodriguez himself is humble and inspiring.

Check out:

"Searching For Sugar Man" documentary

"Searching For Sugar Man" soundtrack

- Cinnamon

Growing up, one of my grandmothers always put cinnamon in her coffee...old school Mexican-style. I always found this interesting. This year, I became curious enough to finally try it myself. Wow! Not only is it delicious, but I felt energized and clear minded afterwards. What’s in this stuff?

Well, it turns out that research and studies have found, among other things, that cinnamon can help:

- blood sugar control
- alertness, memory, and cognitive development
- lower LDL cholesterol
- prevent stomach bug / flu
- slow Alzheimer’s disease 

- Eclectic 24

Eclectic 24 is an online, streaming music channel from KCRW, a public radio station in Los Angeles. It offers (as the name implies) a fresh, ecelectic mix of music programmed by the famous KCRW DJs. 

It has become my number one source for discovering new music and rediscovering classics. 

It never gets old and always sounds good.

Being a public radio station, it is supported by grants and donations from listeners.

You can check out Eclectic 24 HERE.

It is also available as an iPhone and iPad app, and on Spotify HERE

- Good Life Project

Good Life Project is a weekly podcast that features a wide assortment of interesting guests from a wide variety of fields who answer the question “What is a good life?”

I listen to it weekly as a shot of insights and inspiration hosted by former lawyer, entrepreneur, and author Jonathan Fields.

You can check out Good Life Project HERE

It is also available as a podcast HERE.