This is a continuation of sorts from an article I just wrote on my “draft” blog, which has more diverse content. I have more outlandish opinions on that blog as compared to this one, just because I want this one to have content that is more inviting.
With that being said, anyone who knows me knows that I value freedom and independence very highly, and they are at the core of my character. “Live and Let live” is my code, both when dealing with others and when dealing with my own dialogues. Long term happiness is my goal, and it is my job to make sure that I maintain my happiness over many, many years. In planning this, I listed eight things that I need to avoid in order to make sure I can remain independent, free, and happy for as long as I can.
The first four, which are posted at my other blog here, are extremely difficult for many to accept. They betray a lot of the things that we are taught to believe is “right.” To provide a Cliff notes version, these things are Crush Culture, the high school mentality, relying on one source of location dependent income, and getting others to adopt your beliefs and values. As I mentioned before, more discussion of these subjects can be found on my “draft” blog. I will not mention them here…yet.
With that being said, listed here are four simple activities, mindsets, and habits that very take away from a person’s freedom, independence, and happiness. I will also mention my history struggles with these as well, if any.
-Being a mass consumer/not being a minimalist. One thing I preach on this blog is the art of minimalism. Minimalism is a way of life where you only purchase things you need and you do not spend money on much else. Being that this is the holiday season, we get compelled to consume. When you do this, you are taking away from your long term happiness, and are instead relying on short term happiness. You should be able to take all of the things important to you and load them in your car or a pickup truck. Forget all the cool decorations and collectible stuff (unless you are selling these things back for a profit).
I have pretty much always had a minimalist attitude towards life, ever since I was in my late teens. The only things I really collected were magazines, comics, and for some reason, souvenir cups. That all ended when high school ended. I said to myself: “When I move (and that was a hard “when”), how am I going to carry all this stuff to my new home?” So by pure logic, I abandoned all of the comics and magazines. Also, I knew that technology was taking over, e-books were becoming a thing, and I did not need physical copies of stuff anyways. One thing I intend to do is sell all my physical copies of my music and movies. We have awesome technology and owning tons of physical copies of stuff is hoarding. Which will take away from your independence, freedom, and happiness.
-Lack of discipline. If you want to be happy, free, and independent, you must have discipline. Now you do not need the stand-at-attention, military type discipline which is what this book is all about, but you do need some semblance of discipline. You need to be able to sit down for an hour or so a day and plan things. Because if you do not, you will be relying on luck to accomplish things, and luck runs out. Discipline does not run out.
Being disciplined has been a lifelong, and I mean LIFE LONG struggle for me. It is for anyone; anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. I will have streaks of rock solid discipline but then I will get cocky or lazy, make rationalizations for being unproductive, and my discipline will fade out. This happened to me on Tuesday when I played blackjack. I play before my bowling league begins and then again after it ends. I won $70 or so before bowling league. But then after, I got cocky, I began chasing money, I had no discipline, and lost $160, $30 of which I owed someone. Whoops.
-Not being self aware of your actions, thoughts, and words. Being free, independent, and happy requires one to be self accountable. This means you must be self aware. Now there is a big difference between being self aware and self critical. I am not saying to be self critical. Beating yourself up for every bad decision that you have made is not only a waste of energy, but it also influences your future performance. When it comes to bad decisions (which, remember, are your choice if you are fundamentally sound), I like what my college bowling coach said once: “It’s not alright, but you’ll do better the next time.” And both are true.
I had major problems with being self aware until 25 or so. My really bad experiences with the opposite sex pointed me to committing to being self aware of my actions and words. It took three “strikes” for this to happen. I talked about how I nearly got in trouble with the law because I chased after my high school crush here. Well, that happened two more times, one of which cost me a job, which was very unfortunate. Now those failures were twofold; first was that I was still under the influence of Crush Culture, but another half of the equation was that I was not self aware of my actions and I failed to see that I was pressuring the chicks I wanted to be romantic with. After I consistently became self aware of my actions, many of my issues with the opposite sex vanished. I was also able to overcome many insecurities that were holding me back.
-And finally, relying on technology too much. I just wrote about this, but it bears repeating and I believe that many can agree with this. Technology does great things for us, but it can do terrible things to us as well. One reason why I presented the 72 hour airplane mode challenge is for myself, so I can get back to the way things were when I did not have internet access all the time. Before we watched stuff on the internet to pass the time, we had to get creative to pass the time. Even in my teens and early 20s, I had to play the same video games and watch the same stuff on TV. I didn’t have stuff on youtube to watch and blogs to read and comment on. And I certainly did not have social networking.
One of the reasons why a punch clock job is so useful for some is because it provides structure, and this structure can keep someone away from social media and technology for 8 or so hours. But consider this: Those are 8 hours that are going to take away from your freedom and independence anyways. I would rather seek out location independent sources of income and develop the discipline to refuse to be hooked on technology than the alternative.
I will eventually come out with the other four things that take away from freedom, independence and happiness. What you see here are four of eight very seductive temptations that society may seem as negligible at best, and correct and proper at worst. If you have an interest in developing your freedom, independence, and happiness, it would behoove you to avoid them.