Something to think about…
The master of the art of living makes little distinction between her work and her play, her labor and her leisure, her mind and her body, her education and her recreation, her love and her religion. She hardly knows which is which, she simply pursues her vision of excellence in whatever she does, leaving others to decide whether she is working or playing. To her she is always doing both.
This is one of my favorite quotes. If ever there were a set of words, consecutively laid against a backdrop of values and beliefs that I wholeheartedly identify with, it would be this quote from Buddha.
Ever since I claimed the independence to start making my own decisions, I have led a life with an eye towards freedom of choice, creativity and contribution (read my blog from Mon, Jan 9 for more on that). While others have been caught up in a mild obsession with money and material objects, I was myopic in my search for a life that balanced the fine lines of the luxury of time with freedom.
NEVER TRADE TIME FOR MONEY
A great belief that I learned during my time working with Tony Robbins is the belief in never trading time for money. At first this was a difficult concept to digest, because after all, we live in a world of metrics, exchanges and shiny objects that quickly become distractions from what we truly need to live life fulfilled. While on our search for personal and professional fulfillment, it's important to never reduce our value, passion and expertise to mere dollar figures. Remember, money is just one of many resources available to us, so if it is the only one you are managing your life against, I promise you’ll eventually feel the deficit.
Not too long ago, I wrote a blog about the Five Resources More Important Than Money because I wanted to share a new mindset with my you about things you have just at your fingertips that you might be overlooking. In addition to the almighty dollar, it is important to make sure we are considering growth and learning opportunities as well as freedom of time and choice into the equation of annual earnings. Working these factors into your equation will allow you to see how the full investment actually pays off.
BE CLEAR, VERY CLEAR
I have always said that those who are the clearest about what they want, live a life fully illuminated. Think about it -- when you know exactly what you want, you are willing to do whatever it takes to get it; and for those of you who know what it looks like, feels like and how it sounds, it almost seems easier to get what you want. I consult for entrepreneurs and business leaders who are always looking to take an idea and grow it into something they can be proud of; however, one thing always gets in their way -- clarity.
My response is always the same. What do you want? No really, what exactly do you want?
Make sure you know what makes you happy, and the start of a new year is exactly the right time to be having this conversation. Getting clear about this is crucial to carving out a path towards fulfillment. How do you want to spend your time? What matters most to you? Most people think that as long as they have more money, they’ll be happy; when in fact what they are really looking for is a life that has more freedom around how and with whom they spend their time. Ultimately, happiness is around contribution, and when you have the freedom to choose how you can contribute, well, you've reached the pinnacle of success (in my humble opinion).
Tony Robbins was once quoted, saying “Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want”. I couldn’t agree anymore. When I get checked by reality, I start to understand and appreciate that I already live in a world where I am in charge of what I do, when I do it and with whom I choose to do it with. I know that I am free, and I grateful for the choices I have made along the way to get here.
BEWARE OF THE SUCKER BETS
In the book Crucial Conversations, the authors warn readers against taking a “sucker bet” in lieu of what they really want. In gambling, sucker bets are often created to lure inexperienced players into betting against large odds, blinded by the possibility of "fast and easy money". The sucker bet is a gambling wager in which the expected return is significantly lower than the wager(s).
Life hands us sucker bets on a daily basis. The key to avoiding them is to get clear about what you want. As mentioned above, your best defense against a sucker bet is to get so clear that anything else offered is an obvious no. And the reason why most people fall for them is because they are masked as easy options with quick returns that quickly appease the discomfort of negotiations. Don't fall for it.
Before I work move into execution mode with a client on any strategic plan, we get clear. We get really clear. More on that later...
BECOME A MAGNET FOR SUCCESS
I admit, it makes me cringe a little to write this title. (Anything followed by the word “magnet” is so overused it’s painful). But I choose the word "magnet" to drive home the point that you must become someone who attracts success, people and opportunities like a magnet. Literally, you have to become so attractive and illuminated that others cannot avoid the need to be close to you.
Like a moth is attracted to light, become so clear on your vision, belief and values - and steering clear of sucker bets -- that success has no choice but to find you. Do you know anyone who is so committed to their vision that it literally lights them up? These people are attractive, and we cannot help but feel attracted to their infectious energy. Become one of them, or stand so close, their light can shine on you.
Over the course of the past decade, I have travelled around the world, I have worked for others and I have also vigorously pursued the path of self-employment. Above all, I learned that my time was always best served when it was invested not traded. Let me say this another way, when you lead a life where you get the chance to invest your time with a return of growth, learning and fulfillment -- instead of trading it for an absolute value -- you have truly accomplished a new level of accelerated success.
Some call it self-mastery. I call it "mastering the art of living illuminated".