Saturday, February 9, 2008

Living Free? Working Free?

As I thought of ideas for a posting today, it dawned on me that, perhaps, some who might read this blog might think I know all the answers. Well, let's clear that up right now – I don't think I know any of the answers. I only know what I know and it only applies to me. But, here is something I do know – today is the fourth straight day I'm posting to my blog. According to Maxwell Maltz, MD, author of the well known book, “Psycho-Cybernetics,” it takes 21 days to make or break a habit – good or bad.. So, that means I only have 17 more days to go until posting here is a regular habit. I hope this blog will be defined as a good habit.

Back to - Living Free? or Working Free? - First, I'm only going to address Living Free in this post. Living free is a concept. The word FREE is considered the most powerful word in the marketing dictionary – FREE Trial, FREE Bonus, Try it FREE for 30 days, FREE vacation, FREE coupons, you get the idea. But, when we talk about Living Free, exactly how do I and how do you define that two word phrase. Right from the onset, what I consider living free may be very different from your way of defining the concept. So, let me give you an idea of what Living Free means to me.

I told you in an earlier post that I only have two great motivators in my life. The first is TIME! The second is PERSONAL FREEDOM! Now, in my mind, IF I take time and add it to personal freedom, then that should equal HAPPINESS for me! So, now I've introduced a new word into the concept of Living Free! I believe that ultimately HAPPINESS is what everyone is seeking in life.

In Tony Robbins book, Awaken the Giant Within, Robbins makes a very important point. I'm not sure that he discovered this himself. I'm sure it probably started back with Socrates or Plato or some ancient philosopher. But for my point here, I'm going to credit Tony. He says that there is a “single driving force” that drives every human being from the moment they are born until the instant they die. That force is Pain and Pleasure. Everything we do, every decision we make, every action we take is because we either want to avoid pain or gain pleasure. Now, I'm sure you either already know this or you're figuring it out real quick, that the part of the force to avoid pain is much greater then to gain pleasure. But, I challenge you to think about everything in your life and tell me that it doesn't, in some way relate to pain and pleasure. Here is a direct quote from Tony Robbins and I think this sums up a lot about life, living free and our motivations: “The secret of success is learning how to USE pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.”

I don't know about you, but that is both simple AND POWERFUL! So, when I first heard that at a Tony Robbins three day “Date with Destiny” event and then read it in his book – it really hit home for me. I already mentioned my new friend, John Applegath and his 1982 book, Working Free: Practical Alternatives to the 9 to 5 Job and how it impacted and affirmed many of my thoughts and questions. In John's book, I found examples of people who basically put “happiness” first – and in most all cases, this meant controlling their own time and living in a state of personal freedom. In other words – they found ways to minimize the “pains” that life dealt them and maximized the “pleasures” AS THEY PERCEIVED THEM FOR THEMSELVES! I wouldn't necessarily want to model my life after most or, probably, any of theirs. But, I was affirmed that MY thinking, my desires for my life – were not wrong, bad, ridiculous nor any other negative descriptor – they plain and simply were MINE and it was okay for me to choose to live my life to gain the Happiness that I felt I had a right to. Even our Declaration of Independence as the philosophy of our society states that we have “the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This isn't new! It's just not regarded with the importance it deserves.

So, for me, Living Free is simply this. I want to control my own time and there are a million things pulling on us for our time. Individually, we each have the right to decide what we're going to use our time for, give our time to, or give our time away to someone else to control for us. I have been and continue to work toward being 100% in control of my time. It's MY time. It was given to me as a gift upon birth. I don't know how much time I truly have, so it is not just precious – it is PRICELESS. When I freely choose to give my time to something – a project, a client, a charitable venture, I do so in exchange for numerous possible returns – the most obvious, money! But, it could be a feeling of well-being, a feeling of selflessness, knowing that I gave something precious to make someone else feel better, a feeling of fulfillment in the knowledge that I, for example, completed this 6th posting to a blog I'm making a commitment to, with the intent of hopefully assisting one other human being achieve a degree of happiness – which will make me happy. Does this make any sense? I can invest my time in my own ultimate happiness. But, DO NOT TAKE MY TIME! DO NOT WASTE MY TIME! Because at that point, whoever that person or organization (always run by people) are, they are no better then a common thief – stealing my most precious commodity and ultimately not contributing to my ultimate happiness.

Living Free is also that personal freedom I mentioned. Some people equate freedom with money. Let me say right here and now – I don't have any problem with money. I don't have any problem with people who have a lot of money. But, I will not sell my soul, my time, my life, my ultimate happiness to acquire money for the sake of calling myself “successful.” My wealth and success are not measured in terms of dollars and cents. They're measured in terms of my relationships and my contributions to other people's happiness that ultimately contributes to my ultimate happiness. So, being personally free means learning what I truly need and want in a material manner in this life, find out what the price will be in my time and personal freedom and then determine if I am willing to give, invest, contribute, exchange, etc. my time and freedom to have those things. I have a simple belief that EVERYTHING we enjoy during our life is on loan to us. There is an old saying that goes, “He who has all the toys when he dies, wins!” I have another take on that – mine goes this way, “He who has all the toys when he dies, . . . is still DEAD!!!“ I see families destroyed by the greed of the family to get their hands on the money and the toys and possessions of the parents when they die – and sometimes that greed even destroys the family before the parents pass away and they get to see how miserable their family is because of the money and greed. We see wealthy people, sports celebrities, movie, TV, radio, recording stars who fall due to messed up relationships, drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. - all because they are looking for happiness in the wrong places.

So, to end this post, let me just say – that living free means that everyday when I wake up – sunny, rainy, overcast, snowy day – no matter, I have the choices of what to do with my time and I am free in my mind to make those choices – I only need the most basic things to live comfortably. I have too much in my life right now. So, I'm down sizing to get rid of anything I don't truly need. My goal for each day is to find as many reasons to smile . . . and better yet, laugh. And even better, is to help someone else smile and laugh – that is even more fulfilling. And, on those special days when someone says something to me that is complimentary – as simple as - they sure appreciate me as a friend. Well, THAT touches on my ultimate happiness. I'll touch more on this in future postings. Have a terrific day!



1 comment:

John W. Abert said...

Amen, Brother! That next to last paragraph says it all in regards to my own situation. I can live without the quarter million that was stolen from me... but I doubt if they (psychologically) could, since their whole life has been built on "keeping up with the Joneses" and building status within their misguided group of social elites. But if it takes stealing from relatives to accomplish that, then I hope they choke on it!