I’ve said this before. “Freedom isn’t free.” We are born free, but the older we get the more things seem to encumber us. The society we live in, no matter how advanced or primitive, places limitations, restrictions, boundaries and other forms of constraints on us. The majority conforms and lives within what we might call the “mainstream” norms or standards of the society. A few of us push the envelope and live on the fringe. Fewer still push outside the envelope and live, perhaps, the freest of all. No matter where each of us fits in this spectrum, deep inside there is a spark of that freedom. Most learn to keep that spark hidden, buried, if you will. As we mature and approach the other end of the living experience, many will attempt to let that spark get a bit brighter and reach out for some more of that freedom. One thing that is always constant is that freedom isn’t free and there is always some kind of price for whatever we want in life, including more freedom.
Over the years I have discovered three universal laws. The first two, I attribute to my dear and departed friend, John Jay Daly. The third law I added after being in business for 25 or 30 years. A universal law is a law that is not created by men or women. It is simply something that always is. These three laws are:
- No matter what it is, it ALWAYS takes longer then you estimated or planned.
- No matter what it is, it ALWAYS costs more then you planned or budgeted.
- No matter what it is, after careful and calculated research, shopping and negotiating to get the best deal, it is ALWAYS available somewhere for less.
These three laws apply to virtually everything in our human existence. And, while it may appear that something didn’t take more time or cost more or you didn’t find it cheaper after you made your decision and purchased, the fact is, if you peel away the layers, you’ll always find the universal laws still apply. We mostly take these laws for granted. In reality, we’d probably drive ourselves crazy or become paralyzed by the paralysis of analysis if we focused too much on these universal laws and attempt to beat them or disprove them. We simply do the best we can, accept the outcome and move forward.
There is a fourth universal law that I’m adding to my list. This one is so pervasive in our lives that, in my particular case, at least, I accepted it, took it for granted and never realized that it is a universal law. So,
4. No matter who you are, your station in life or how wealthy/poor you are – “Life happens!”
Perhaps, in more colloquial terms it is stated that “S**t happens.” You’ve seen it on bumper stickers, I’m sure.
This law is totally indisputable. It doesn’t matter who you are, how important your position, how much money you have, where you live – there are no exceptions and no one is exempt or escapes this law – like it or not – life happens for everyone. It's often connected with the statement, "Life is not fair," which is also true, or is it? A subject for another day, perhaps. I dare say that there is probably not a single human being walking the face of the Earth today who is exactly where they planned to be when they began their adult life. They are not doing precisely what they planned to be doing, with exactly who they planned to be with and doing whatever it is with that person or group that was part of some grand or simple plan they started life with. Sure, maybe we can plan to have two eggs over easy with bacon and toast for breakfast this morning – you planned that by making sure all the ingredients were in inventory the night before. However, even something as simple as that can be significantly impacted by a traffic light that turned red and stopped you. This caused you to arrive a few moments after the store closed the evening before to buy one or more of the ingredients for the breakfast. You might have been late due to an unexpected situation at the office or an unusual traffic jam on your route home. The possibilities are endless.
If you’re into self-help books and audio programs (and I published self-help books and produced self-help audio programs for a number of years – and I’ve certainly read and listened to countless self-help books audio programs), I’m sure you’ve heard the age old cliché’s about, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail” or “you must write your short term and long term goals down and read them everyday to stay on plan.” What can I say? They are true and they help. Planning for just about everything from preparing a meal to taking a family vacation to progressing in your profession, etc. definitively help you achieve the goals you’ve written down for yourself. And, certainly some of these things will come to pass pretty close to the plan and the goals.
However, it’s the “life happens” factor that we can’t account for. Life is dynamic. It has no compassion for you or me. It just is and it goes on its way despite our goals or plans. Just a few things that change everything and negate or cause huge detours in our plans and achieving our goals include deaths, accidents, changes in local, national or world economies (or all three), the demise of a vendor, purchase of a bad egg, being bitten by a nearly microscopic insect and contracting Lyme Disease (happened to me this year), having your car demolished by a kamikaze deer (also happened to me this year) and the list goes on and on. It doesn’t matter if you’re royalty or pauper. You’re not exempt.
So, why this topic? Why now? That’s simple. Because universal laws apply universally and that means they are always impacting everyone’s lives. You can’t do much to prepare for them or bypass them. You simply do the best you can, accept that no matter how much you planned to pay, how much time you allocated and no matter how intently you researched that they all apply and that #4 – “Life Happens!!!” guarantees it. You can’t beat the laws, but being aware of them means you can at least accept that this is all part of this exciting journey we call “Life” and deal with the challenges that present themselves with a positive, understanding and accepting attitude. This will not, necessarily, change the outcome, but it will set you free.