How to live free and happy?
With all the noise, demands and challenges of this world, that’s a question I asked myself, constantly. In order to put things into perspective…
I’ll have to share with you how I forgot to live free and happy.
I started my online entrepreneurial journey back in 2000.
Wow, almost 20 years…
Life is short for some people.
For many of us, it’s been a very long journey.
One thing I have learned is that no matter how much I planned for my business, my goals, my days, and my life, it has never gone according to plan. Ever.
It either went better (or worse) than originally planned.
I’m not saying that creating action plans is a waste of time.
What I’m trying to say is that a tremendous amount of patience and flexibility is required to endure the journey.
One thing got me started 20 years ago.
I always thought it was because I wanted to:
- Help my Father retire sooner
- Help my Mother with her illness
- Support my family and friends
- Be in the position to help strangers
- Go on adventures around the world
And, although I still want to accomplish all of those things…
…there was a much deeper reason:
I wanted to have control of my life.
Not in a “control-freak” way. I simply wanted to be free, feel free.
Financial freedom. Freedom of choice. Peace of mind.
Freedom to spend my time as I please without feeling guilty or worried about it.
But somewhere along the journey, I started worrying about so many things that didn’t matter.
Especially things out of my control.
Primarily, the opinions of the people I care about.
Fear and doubts.
- What if I fail again?
- What if I end up homeless again?
- What if I run out of money again?
- What if my credit score goes down again?
- What if I get my heart broken, because I’m not financially stable, again?
I’ll be the first one to admit that many of those thoughts were self-inflicted.
The truth is, other people’s expectations and opinions about me are none of my business.
I shouldn’t worry about those things and neither should you.
But I did. More than I would like to admit.
Survival skills are important, but there’s another side of it.
That means you don’t know how to live.
You don’t know how to make long-lasting progress.
Somehow, once we start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we manage to go back to survival mode.
Ironically, it becomes our comfort zone.
It is very hard to break that habit.
That’s exactly what I went through.
But, that’s not even the worse part…
Have you ever seen the movie “CLICK” by Adam Sandler?
If you haven’t, you should watch it.
It will put your life into perspective.
And if that doesn’t inspire you to watch it…
The lady that plays Adam’s wife in that movie is eye-candy.
It makes it more enjoyable to watch.
Just saying 😉
I’m about to make a very important point.
A magical remote control.
In the movie, a strange looking man gave Adam a very special remote control that allows him to manipulate his time.
It allowed him to rewind and fast-forward his life.
Pretty cool, huh?
When I watched the movie for the first time, I thought, “If I had a remote control like that one, my life would be so much easier.”
Then, I remembered a quote by Jim Rohn:
Every person wants that remote control.
Maybe to go back in time to do a couple of things, differently.
Maybe to fast-forward into the future to confirm all of the negative (or positive) hypothetical outcomes that their minds formulate.
Life would be so much better with that remote control, right?
Not exactly the case.
I’ll tell you why in a second.
The real gift Adam was given… was the gift of CHOICE.
He was an extremely hard-working and successful businessman.
His top priorities were business, success, status, and control.
You see, the magical remote control only amplified his power to make more and more decisions without thinking about the possible consequences.
In the words of two men smarter than me…
Abraham Lincoln said:
Uncle Ben said:
In a way, I was able to relate to Adam’s choices.
I saw many of his qualities and habits in myself.
Especially, the habit of attaching my identity and self-worth to my business, my work, and its outcomes, and what used to be my idea of success.
Nothing wrong with hard work.
I believe in it.
It is necessary, especially when we are trying to get our ideas and business off the ground.
But I realized three things from focusing only on my business…
- It wasn’t sustainable on the grand scheme of life
- I conditioned my mind to be in survival mode
- I forgot how to live my life outside of my business
If it wasn’t because of my wife, I would probably still be stuck in that mindset.
My days were pretty much the same before I met my wife.
I would wake up, drink several cups of coffee and work online until I could not do it anymore.
Typically, 12 to 16 hours a day.
Then, I would go to bed, and do it all over again the next day.
Countless times, I forgot to eat and drink water.
I was literally running on caffeine.
Oftentimes, I didn’t even know what day it was, unless I looked at the calendar on my phone.
I was so obsessed with working (surviving) that it became my only lifestyle.
It was an extremely lonely period of time in my life.
I wanted to have control and in my mind, that was the only way to do it.
I was missing something else…
I had a serious “invisible” problem eating me from the inside out.
Ahhh, the power of CHOICE.
The real gift behind the illusion of power.
I was so focused on having the control that I completely overlooked what truly matters…
Living my life fully. Being happy.
Winning in life, not just at work or in my business.
Somewhere along the journey, I forgot how to live my life, and I forgot how to be happy.
The more Adam kept making the same mistakes with his remote control, the more blinded he was to the real problem.
(Just like him, I was blind to the truth for years.)
The BIG PROBLEM was found in the painful secondary effects that he never saw coming.
Those are the ones that can hit you HARD.
The more I avoided living my life, because I was busy running my business, the harder it hit me.
It started affecting my health.
A double-edged sword.
He died feeling something I don’t wish anyone to experience…
It gives me chills just to put myself in his shoes.
Did I just spoil the movie for you? 🙂
It doesn’t matter.
I have a very good reason for that.
This is important.
Luckily, he woke up…
…and realized it was all a very bad dream.
He got a second chance to make things right with his wife, kids, Dad, business partners, and even the dog. By the way, the dog situation ends up on a funny note.
A second chance.
A chance to practice self-awareness every day.
A chance to take care of yourself the right way.
A chance to love fully and live fully.
Just one chance.
Sometimes, that’s all we need.
Such a beautiful thing.
Give yourself a real chance.