Richie Norton

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3 Ways to Make the “Unnecessary” Change

changeAbove photo credit by Sean MacEntee


What do you do when you feel like making a personal change is necessary to your overall happiness and well-being but there is no real pressure or urgency pressing you to make said change?

This is a  a conundrum we all wrestle with. We feel the undeniable need and/or desire to be doing something different in/with our lives, but simultaneously, we can’t bring ourselves to make the change (in many cases read: “sacrifice”) necessary to do it.

We may feel the need to change employment, but we don’t.
We may feel the need to start a specific project, but we don’t.
We may feel the need to pursue higher education, but we don’t
We may feel the need to heal a broken relationship, but we don’t.
We may feel the need to work to improve our spiritual lives, but we don’t.
We may feel the need to take steps toward a healthier physical or emotional life for ourselves and/or our family, but again, we don’t.
(This list could likely go on for eternity.)

It’s important to note that I’m not talking about mere whims and lusts. I’m talking about deep, honorable desires for the betterment of ourselves and/or the overall quality and satisfaction of our lives.


The desire for progression is innate, but the problem we face is that the actual act of progression is also a choice.

Without embracing our inherent need for progress, for positive growth and/or change, we’ll still go on living. Yes. But at what cost?

There is a very real danger present when we suppress our feelings to act on inspiration in exchange for the “safety” of the status quo. We risk sacrificing the opportunity to live a more fulfilling and purpose driven life. We risk sacrificing the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. We risk sacrificing the beautiful blessing of finding a greater sense of meaning in our own lives.

In short, we run the very real risk living a life of regret.


Photo credit: The Blog Is Found

Our dear friends, Nate and Jaclyn Kaiser, recently acted in the face of fear, uncertainty and doubt and found the courage to make a big change.

In their own words:

sometimes without even noticing it the things we build up to stand upon end up caging us inside.

we built it all up and up…a too big for us home by the beach in southern california and a big studio we didn’t really need and never really went to. the more we built, the higher it all got, the less free we felt. it all seemed to make sense when we were building until we realized the toll it was taking. for some reason we kept building up when individually, as a couple, and as a family our heart’s desire was for a life lived more simply. . . we most definitely knew we were ready for a change.

so… we’ve sold our home, closed the doors to our physical studio (not our business, the image is found is still alive and well), and moved 80 miles east and 1 mile up to [a] small mountain town. . . . [we are] loving the fresh perspective our new home and town is providing. . . . we’re not sure what or where exactly the next chapter of our family’s story will be, but we’re fully committed to enjoying, growing and thriving where we are now.

Inspiring, right?!

Nate and Jaclyn didn’t have to make this change, nor were the circumstances of their lives ideal for such a monumental leap. On paper, everything in their lives pointed to staying right where they were, everything in their lives pointed to continuing to head in the exact direction they were headed.

The Kaisers are living out their dream, because they chose to.

And you can too.

Even though they knew it would require sacrifice (as important change always does)—Nate and Jaclyn had the strength to say “no” to the status quo, the willingness to listen to the deepest desires of their hearts, and the courage to ACT on and live out their intent.

What if we all exercised this same courage in our own individual lives?


1. Determine what will add value to your life


sunset at peggy's cove

Photo by Paul Bica.

Think about it, what does a ship absolutely need to stay afloat? I’m not a mariner, so I can’t exactly say. . . but what I can tell you is that ships don’t absolutely need lighthouses—but they sure do help!

When it comes to acting on inspired ideas, it’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking we don’t really need to do them, but that’s like a ship ignoring the beacon of light on a rocky shore.

Just like a ship at sea, everything outside of our most basal human needs, isn’t a necessity to “keep us afloat.” Essentially, all we really need to sustain life is clean air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink and rest to sustain us. After the basics, everything else simply adds or detracts value to/from our lives.

Which begs the question: How much value do you want to get out of life?

You get out what you put in.  Approach your life with intent, courage, faith and hard work, and you’ll reap the beautiful value those sacrifices provide. That’s the way our strange world works.

C.S. Lewis explained this principle beautifully when he said,

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

2. Swing the bat

Father and son baseball batting lesson in the Cloisters Park, Morro Bay, CAAbove photo by Mike Baird

Give your idea a chance. You’ll never hit a home run (or a base hit for that matter) if you don’t swing.

Take comfort in the words of Babe Ruth,

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

The thing about change is that, regardless of what we do (or don’t do, for that matter) the world is changing all around us. The good news is that as the world changes, new opportunities arise. In an ever changing world, opportunities come at you like balls from the pitcher’s mound—it might be a curve ball: swing anyway.

3. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Confucius said that.

Smart man.

Some “unnecessary” changes can feel like a looming mountain to climb.

But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day—and your beautiful life of intent won’t be either.

What is one small, “unnecessary,” thing can you do today?

(Hint: As Confucius advised, simply start with that small stone that is right in front of you.)




Written by on December 29, 2012 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Case Study



14 Comments post a comment
  1. NAT NAT Dec 29th 9:50 pm

    Love this, you and those wonderful Kaisers. Their courage will result in a ripple effect of positive, personal change. Mark my words.

    I love you for being such a wonderful receptacle and sharer of goodness. Mwa!

    • Richie Norton Dec 31st 12:14 pm

      The Kaisers are amazing, right?

  2. Carolyn Dec 30th 12:51 am

    Holy cow this is a good one! I just moved a stone.

    • Richie Norton Dec 31st 12:14 pm

      Thanks so much, Carolyn! Good job moving that stone!!!

  3. Amy Mak Dec 30th 12:54 pm

    This,is,awesome. Thank you for a wonderful post. Wow. I’m always excited to start a new year, and these are the perfect words to get me going. Happy New Year!

    • Richie Norton Dec 31st 12:13 pm

      Thanks, Amy! You’re awesome!

  4. Natalie Norton Dec 31st 12:14 pm

    Carolyn “I just moved a stone” — I love this! xoxoxoxo! Cheers to your best year yet!

  5. Jenny Jan 08th 1:47 pm

    richie, This really hit home today as I am in the midst of so many life changes right now :) it encouraged me to keep on my same path even though I wonder sometimes if I am making the right decisions. Thank you!

  6. Lindsay Jan 13th 6:12 pm

    Wow, I love this so much. Totally opened my eyes. sometimes I have to see others making those significant, but not needed changes to gain the faith to start, unfortunately. this post gave me the courage to act. THANK YOU!!!

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For the Love of Books

Photo Credit: Amelia-Jane

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” 

― Marcus Tullius Cicero


However, they’re not easy to write. No sir.

Ernest Heminway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Robert Frost said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” F. Scott Fitzgerald explained, “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”

Writing is a beast.


When you hold a book, you hold a work of art. An artifact of someone’s ideas. Ideas which have been carefully crafted, honed and researched for over a year or two (six years in my case).

“I cannot live without books.” 

― Thomas Jefferson

When you look at a book, you are literally looking at something that someone (actually, probably an army of people if it’s traditionally published) slaved over, cried over, stressed over, poured over. You’re looking at something that took many sleepless nights and an ocean of courage to put into the world. Something someone took a chance on. Something someone was willing to take a risk for. Something someone felt so strongly about they left themselves vulnerable and exposed to critique and perhaps ridicule.

I don’t consider myself a good writer. I’ll leave that to Twain. However, trying to write has given me the greatest respect for writers.

Writing takes guts.


I haven’t revealed much yet about my new book The Power of Starting Something Stupid. So here’s a little something I’m really excited about. Before a book goes to press, you send out your manuscript to people you admire in hopes they’ll give you an endorsement–a blurb. It’s been thrilling to receive endorsements. In fact, they make my mom cry. (Hi, Mom!) Here’s one from one of my heroes Jack Canfield:

“Once in a great while a new author bursts on the scene to light a fire under us.  Richie Norton is that rare spark.  His certainty that the secret to success is to start something stupid is right on and will alter your future.  Thirty publishers thought Chicken Soup was stupid before it sold over 100 million copies.  This new book could not have come at a better time and Richie’s urgent and authentic style is readable, convincing and a compelling blueprint for success.  Be smart: read The Power of Starting Something Stupid.”

— Jack Canfield, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Success Principles, and cocreator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series

I’m humbled that Jack would give such a glowing blurb. My goal is that the book will be a source of inspiration for some of the coolest things you do in life and business. I hope The Power of Starting Somethings Stupid helps you to live a life of adventure. To turn those crazy ideas (dreams) inside your head into reality, help you influence the world for good and help your career / business thrive.


(Cell phone picture of the digital version of the galley on my laptop.)

The book is at the “galley” stage. I’ve written it (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!), with the help of my beautiful wife, Natalie.  A couple weeks ago the book was typeset at the publishing house. The fonts were chosen. The pages were numbered. The artwork and models were polished and placed. The cover art and dust jacket were refined. I received the digital copy and thanks to the hard work of my gracious publishing team at Shadow Mountain, the book looks gorgeous.

All I want to do now is curl up in my bed and finally get some sleep. But I can’t. I’m too excited. I can’t wait for you to read it. Actually. Not really. I can’t wait for you to read it and then go and do something you’ve always wanted because you feel inspired and armed with principles and tools to make stuff happen.

I wish I could just get the book in your hands right now! But alas, traditional publishing is a slow process. There are a million steps between the time the book goes from an idea, to selling the idea to a publisher, to writing the book (yes, I sold it before I wrote it), to being edited, to rewriting, to going to press to hitting the shelves. Perhaps I’ll write a post on the book process another day, but I digress…

A very limited run of galley copies have gone to press and are being sent out to the media for review. SO EXCITING!

Note: Galleys (or “uncorrected proofs”) are rare, privately released copies of the book. They are an expensive pre-publication—also known as an advance reading copy (ARC). The galley is unique because it may still contain errors. Also, changes will most likely be made after the galley is printed and before the book is finalized for retailer distribution.

Birthing a book is an interesting process to say the least.

16 Comments post a comment
  1. Marc allred Dec 22nd 5:39 pm

    COngrats bud! Hope you get to pursue some of those ideas we talked about. i’m still interested in helping if needed. good luck!

    • Richie Norton Dec 22nd 5:41 pm

      Thanks, Marc! I’ll be in touch for sure.

  2. Kent west Dec 22nd 9:14 pm

    I’d love to flip through this! Looking forward to the release and hearing success stories (and stories of failure for that matter excuse that is when we learn the most!)

    • Richie Norton Dec 22nd 9:29 pm

      Thanks SO much, Kent!

  3. Kent west Dec 22nd 9:16 pm

    * because…not excuse, dang small iPhone keyboard

  4. Jesse Jan 05th 10:56 am

    This post was really inspiring. I am in the first stages of writing a thesis and seriously overwhelmed right now. this was a good boost. Thanks Richie.

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It’s the most magnificent and fragile gift we’ve been given.

But it’s messy.

It’s filled with chaos, uncertainty and hard, hard work.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming, terrifying even.

And gosh is it short. . .

But it’s also beautiful.


A real gift if we only choose to approach it that way.

Life is our chance to love, learn and lean into the unknown.

It’s our chance to reach deep within. . .
and there we’ll find that what lies within us, is something far greater than we ever imagined could be.

It’s my prayer that we do the work to find, nurture and live out the very best within ourselves.

And it’s my prayer that we commit to letting go of the rest . . .


Written by on December 18, 2012 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:




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