The precious gift of freedom of choice arrives when you accept that you can be the prisoner and the jail warden of your own life.
This brutally simple concept took me many years to absorb at a molecular level.
Stubborn arrogance was one of my many character defects.
And the fact that I live in one of the most affluent 10 square kilometres on the planet did not help.
My wife and I are blessed to live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Its streets bulge with stunning homes. The beaches are beautiful, and the people are beautiful. The dogs are beautiful. And the butts and chests! Oh, the butts and the chests! They shine, they preen, they pluck, and they bounce. Magnificent.
And that’s just the men!
European cars, private schools, active wear outlets and fusion, poke bowl bars are as common as power suits in a bank’s boardroom, yet the smiles of the residents are often manufactured, and the passive aggression and discontent vibrates through the air like a broken microphone. The gleaming Range Rovers and the sparkling castles of wealth cannot hide the sinking reality that many of these residents quietly suffer.
And the source of all that suffering?
That all their efforts of acquisition and ownership have not made them happy. The sadness lurks under the façade of success. Success is a manufactured myth. And the human discontent is merely amplified by the excess.
This baffled me because as a young, Western capitalist male I was trained and groomed to think that success was what we had and how we looked.
Success was about degrees and titles and accolades and mortgages.
Success was not about the trinkets and baubles.
In fact, the effort to achieve success was wasted energy.
A good life.
A content life.
A life of legacy came down to how I exercised freedom of choice.
And as I have said many times, freedom of choice existed in the silence between the outside stimulus and my chosen behaviour.
My reaction to people, places and things dictated how I embraced freedom of choice.
And many hours of self work showed me that how I behaved in the hours of the sunlight very much decided how well I interacted with other human beings.
And my interactions with other human beings dictated how my daily allocation of energy translated into a comfortable life.
Yes folks, how I left home was how I embraced the day.
My mood was the crucial factor in how ‘successful’ my day was.
This is why all the time and money spent in corporate life on leadership and team building is a waste of time and money.
The effort needs to be carried out by the individual at home, not by the business at work.
If you walk out the front door a goose, guess what?
You are a goose!
So, here’s a basic plan I use on a daily basis to ensure that 9 times out of 10 I will have an effective day.
- Remember – What we leave home with we bring to work and to our relationships, so this is the starting premise of each day.
- Emotional honesty. Talk and live your truth.
- A good night’s sleep is crucial but not always possible.
- Exercise should be a daily endeavour and you only need 30 minutes. Get the feet moving and the blood flowing.
- Eat good food. Wheat and sugar need to be monitored and sometimes eliminated.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid alcohol if you can.
- Meditation and prayer is my first daily practice on awakening and before sleeping.
- Be curious about everything and challenge your beliefs and values.
- Be calm and slow down. Life is not a race.
- Belief in self and others; people are fundamentally good.
- Acceptance. We have no control over people, places and things.
- Higher purpose; what are your passion and values?
- A gratitude list every morning is a positive discipline.
- Take nothing for granted. Waking up is a bonus!
- Patience IS a virtue.
- Be yourself and don’t follow the pack. And be kind in the process.
- Be humble and know your place. Ego can be a dirty, dirty bird.
- Courteous; good manners come for free.
There, that didn’t take too long!?
And I won’t charge you a cent.
I’ll even come and talk to your teams or business for 30 minutes or so, and if you choose, you can give the money to a charity.
God bless you all……