Life doesn’t just happen. It really doesn’t.
We consciously (or unconsciously) design it – from scratch!
It is simply amazing how fortunate each and every one of us are, who have been born into the free world (known as America, or a handful of other countries). We can, quite literally, be, do, have, become whatever we truly set our minds to.
If, and only if, we decide upon it and work at it – until!
While there are a few exceptions (e.g., those born with birth defects, seriously injured in an accident or act of war, or suffering an illness, etc.) the rest of us have the absolute choice as to how our lives turn out. And, it is often these “exceptions” who provide prime examples of what can be accomplished when someone truly puts their mind to it.
Consider Helen Keller.
So, let’s break things down…
Most everyone wants to live a healthy, vibrant life. And, it is in our power to do so, based on the minute-by-minute choices we make every single day. For example:
- Who decides what we put into our mouth?
- What we eat for breakfast (a donut or piece of fruit)?
- Do we drink coffee or soda all day vs. water?
- If we have a nourishing, low-fat, lunch and dinner?
- Do we have that big piece of cake or pie before going to bed?
- Who decides the amount of exercise we get vs. time spent in front of the one-eyed monster (TV or computer)?
- Who decides the seeds that we plant in our powerhouse mind?
- Do we aimlessly follow the eye-candy on the Internet, in Facebook or while channel surfing?
- Are we dumping the daily garbage of sensationalism (news) into our heads? Really, what purpose is this fulfilling? I attended a personal development seminar many years ago when the speaker commented: “I NEVER watch the news or read the paper as it serves no purpose. If we go to war I’m sure someone will tell me.” After more than 20 years of following that advice, I can honestly say I do NOT feel I’ve missed a thing.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time you know 2 of our sons are (excellent / professional) personal trainers, at a local gym. They often comment on how they are training someone who is all hyped-up at work-out time to get fit and trim. Then, later that day they observe their client’s post on Facebook sharing a big plate of donuts or fries they are about to indulge in. The reality: make your choice! Being physically fit requires discipline (not luck).
It really isn’t hard to be exceptionally productive and eliminate all forms of competition at work (e.g., for promotions and raises).
- Who decides what time we get up in the morning (the last possible minute, to get cleaned-up for work)?
- Who decides what time we actually get our butt in the car and hit the road? Are we daily participating in the moving parking lot, wasting 45 or more minutes during a commute, when we could leave before rush hour resulting in a commute taking less than 30 minutes? We’d then get to work early, get a jump start on the day and be able to conveniently leave at quitting time vs. being held over to work on those unexpected things that WILL come up, which MUST be done – today?
- Who decides how much time we spend on distractions at work? This includes talking sports, the plight of our lawn or the federal government and, of course, gossip? What purpose does ANY of this serve towards our goal achievement?
- Who decides how much time we take for breaks or lunch each day? Why do we need either (unless there is a “purpose” for taking a co-worker or client to lunch)? If we are trying to achieve something more in life, why not keep plowing right along (while eating lunch at our desk) and skip the breaks? Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change our focus from time-to-time throughout the day, to avoid burn-out, by varying our tasks and activities.
- Bottom-line: Who decides how we manage our time? Yes, there are countless outside influences that drive our activities (e.g., our boss, customers, co-workers, spouse and children). However, we can EASILY get control of our time so that we are sure to focus on the MOST IMPORTANT things (ONLY) and let the numerous, mind-boggling, useless distractions just fall by the wayside. I’m not going to share how to do that here, as I’ve already written about that. Simply click here to read more.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting ANYTHING that I haven’t been doing myself – for decades 🙂
Take Nike’s advice and “Just Do It.”
Our Geographic Location:
Have you noticed that we aren’t trees with immovable roots. That is, we can pick up, at any time, and move to ANY destination on this planet we choose. It might be a better/safer neighborhood across town, an entirely different state or a home on a lake (with a view like the following – my goal).
Living in New England we often hear people complaining about how they hate the snow. Guess what? It may now be springtime, but the snow’s coming again! It does so every single year! If you really “hate it” then you can always move somewhere without it!
Back when Cindy was pregnant with our oldest son, we lived in South Portland, ME. I “thought” I hated snow then. I had put my resume out everywhere in America, to find my “next level” job so that we could afford our new family. I landed a job in Atlanta. At that point, we gave or threw away ALL our winter-related gear (clothing, shovels, etc.) and (I) said: “We are never coming back!”
Little did I know…
Not long after living in Georgia, Cindy became homesick. I was able to get her to stay for about 4 years so that I had some stability on my resume 🙂 And, at that point my switch flipped as well, as we watched a Christmas program – with snow gently falling. That did it.
Now that we are back in New England, we realize this is home. We LOVE the snow. When we get tired of it during the winter we can simply hop on a plane to a tropical destination, only to return to hit-the-slopes or snowmobile trails.
Being in the free world, we choose:
- Our occupation (what we do for a living) and where we do it (geographic location as well as the company we work for). If we don’t like our occupation, we can change it.
- The company and boss we work for. If we don’t like our boss or company, we can change that too and/or create our own!
- Our pay. Yep, we absolutely do set our pay. We may not be able to change our pay overnight / every night (although there ARE vocations in which you can do that) we can CHOOSE to invest in ourselves to become SO valuable we literally set the amount of pay we receive.
And, so as not to leave you hanging, there are many posts on this site that cover ALL of the above.
Realize, life is too short to constantly go places we don’t enjoy, doing things we don’t truly find rewarding or fulfilling.
I’ll not get into how to manage finances in this article, as there are numerous other posts on this site that provide that.
However, I will share a few zingers…
Regarding income: Many use the excuse that they don’t earn enough. We’ve already covered that, above: If we don’t earn enough we can make the choice to set ourselves up for a promotion or raise by constantly and never-endingly becoming more valuable to society.
Did you realize there is absolutely NO LIMIT to the amount of money a person can make? I’m not suggesting that this become our primary focus. But, we need not “settle for” an income that is not serving our aspirations.
Regarding expenses: Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT how much we make. It is how much we keep!
Some key questions to determine if our hair is on fire, in this regard:
- Are we continuously incurring interest-related expenses AND increasing our debt-load each year?
- Does spending money (on shiny new things) create more joy than a growing savings and investment account which can create future options and flexibility?
- How much is being spent on “costly” expenses? Cable for instance, jams content in our face via the one-eyed monster. We might ask ourselves: “How much is this “truly” costing me, considering the time wasted while taking in all this content when I could be doing something more productive (like making progress towards my goals and dreams)?
In summary, we quite literally decide upon:
- How much we earn (by how valuable we make ourselves and by how we apply ourselves)
- How much we keep (by how much we sock away vs. aimlessly burn through)
It is ALL OUR CHOICE – our design!
In closing, I know some may feel that all of this sounds too hard and boring. Even rigid and constraining…
If you think that is the case, consider the fact that my wife and I are about to begin our (3rd annual) summer-long break (which begins later this month)…I don’t share this to brag – really. Just demonstrating, through a concrete example, that what is shared on this site can absolutely support the accomplishment of one’s goals and dreams.
You can do it, if you choose – to design your life the way YOU want it to unfold.
All the best!