Freedoms

“Freedom of action, freedom of expression. And that means the freedom to express your opinion, not the freedom to hurl crude insults at those who think differently, though these days some people don’t seem to know the difference. As far as I am concerned, that kind of abuse has nothing to do with freedom.”

From: “The Tulip Virus” by Danielle Hermans, translated from the Dutch language by David MacKay. Published in 2008 and translated in 2010.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom.”

Viktor Frankl

“Our lives begin to end
The moment we stay Silent
about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King

I am reminded of my freedoms and my inner voice reminds me that our freedoms mean nothing if we do not live freely. We are free to differ with each other but do it with respect, if not for the person, then at least for the right of that person to have a different opinion. When we differ, persuasion is the key to resolve the differences. And if persuasion based on rational (to you) arguements fail to convince then we must simply agree to disagree and move on to find common ground. Bullying and abuse of power only generates hard barriers, resentment and hatred.

I lived a life dedicated to making changes that would make life more equitable and fair for all. Obviously there is still lots to be done. But we always remained civil, peaceful and calm. And big changes happened. We did not let demagogues control us. Our minds remained free to adopt and live the lives we had the right to live. When we saw an injustice, we spoke up and took action.

Don’t complain and take no action. Speak up and persuade. Live and let live – and if possible, help others along the way. “We are not here to see through others, we are here to see each other through.” And finally, live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.

What are you good at doing?

If you can fish, fish. If you can sing, sing. If you can fight,fight. Determine what you can do. And do that.

We are mostly told that we need to find our passion and do that in order to be happy. I have spent huge amounts of time endeveavoring to learn exactly what my passion is so that I can be sure that I am doing what I should be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been very happy doing what I was doing, I just wanted to be sure.

The above quote from Epictetus, a first century ex-Roman slave is actually a pretty good guide to doing what you should be doing. Don’t focus on finding out what your passion is if that seems difficult. Rather, focus on doing what you can do that serves others in some positive and useful way, and do that! Most of the time you will feel good doing what you do. Of course, there will be times when outside stuff gets in the way but we just have to keep on keeping on.

What are you good at doing? Can you find ways to do that in ways that serve others? How exactly can you see yourself doing that every day? Are there jobs or other sorts of opportunities that you can apply doing that? What do you need to do in order to qualify and get “work” using the skills you are good at doing? You are in the process of planning your future and moving into real happiness. You might find that you can earn a good living doing other things – but be sure that you find ways to build in enough time to do what you are good at doing!

Doing what you are good at doing is shorthand for doing  what makes you feel good and therefore happy. What are you good at? Do that!

What is happiness? 2.0

Is it a moment? Is it a destination? Is it a state of mind? Is it an automatic response? In my opinion it is none of these and it is all of them. In a much earlier post I started the contemplation of what the definition is. This is more about what happiness is, in my view.

Said poorly but happiness is really just a way of life. A journey? The destination for all of our journeys through life is same – death and then whatever follows in accord with your own beliefs. But it is the journey that we cognitively experience. And as it is with all journeys, we get to choose our path, our way. If we don’t like our current path we can change it. It is just a choice.

Of course we often times forget that we can make choices. We get wrapped up in the busyness of life and stuff just happens. I have said it before and will say it again- choose to live on purpose. Don’t just drift. Don’t let the wake push you around, steer the boat and let the wake just be the trail left behind.

So how exactly do we live a life on purpose and is that really a part of being happy anyway? The first thing you need to consider is your why. Why do you think you are here? What is the legacy you believe you should/want to be remembered for? Write that down in a sentence or two at the most. You probably wrote that in the past tense. Rewrite it, but in the present tense if you can. Don’t sweat it if you can’t as long as it is clear to you and will serve as a beacon.

This is a bit like the eulogy exercise. I suggest you consider what your legacy would be if you died today. Why? The differences are gaps that you need to close on the way to your written statement from above. As you close the gaps and get closer to living your chosen reason, you can get closer to living a life in harmony.

So, yes it is a part of being happy anyway when you live your life on purpose. You will be choosing to do things that are in harmony with your why. All the rest of the stuff going on around that and around you will still happen but you will choose to consider the lessons to be learned, reflect on the good stuff and continue or return to living your life in harmony with your why.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.😎

Service

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.        Muhammad Ali 1942 to 2016

When you read that quote what do you think of as service? Is it your job? Your business? The charity you support? The “good works” that you do? Is service to others something you have to think about and plan into your week? Do you even believe that it is a requirement of us living in our society here on earth? I just love this thought espoused by one of the “greatest” (yes I know he said he was the greatest!).

I am going to keep this fairly short today. Service to others is actually a life-style choice in my view. It is not something we do for credits or to just do our share. If service to others is to be the rent we pay, it needs to be constant and unthinking, just like “living” is. The act of living is pretty much unconscious. The way we live is a whole other thing.

Choose to live a life of service. Simply, to me, this means to help others to the level that you can help them and that they are willing and able to accept. Do not look for recognition or even thanks. Just do it.

Take a look back at something I wrote a while ago. Happiness is connected to what we do. It is not about service but it will help a bit to refocusing I think. We are responsible for what we do and especially how we react to what happens to us or around us. Remember, when it feels right or good you are doing the right thing. It feels great to serve others so – serve!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

― John Lennon

A great quote shared by Stuart Anslow. Lennon had it so right even in his early years. The one thing we all desire, above all, or at the foundation of all, is to be happy. Where we get confused and off track is when we lose the meaning of what it is to be happy. We get lost in accumulating wealth, being “successful” and “doing good things” and making sure the rest of the world sees and understands how great we are. In short, we get lost in EGO.

You have, perhaps, read elsewhere in these posts that it is very useful (and important) to consider what you want the result of your action or words to be before doing or saying it. If it is to serve you by showing others how brilliant and “right” you are – that is EGO and is not destined to be a part of being happy. If it is to help and serve others in a non-selfagrandising way, that is a part of the voyage of happiness. Yes, happiness is a voyage, not a destination.

Think just a bit about some of the things we have done or are doing right now because we think that it will lead to happiness. Saving money for a trip. Working hard to gain that promotion or major sale. Writing an article to prove how right your viewpoint is. (Hmmm…) But don’t those sorts of things lead to happiness?

Sure, they probably lead to a happy moment or period of time. But we need to look a bit deeper. What is the motivation? Saving for that trip is hard and can be stressful. However, if the motivation is to go to that area and really get into the place you are voyaging through, the saving is easy and happy. If the promotion or big sale moves you further along on helping others, the effort becomes easy and it is all part of the voyage we call life. And it is part of living in a “happy” state. Writing is a whole other thing! 🙂

You have heard me say before, contentment in your everyday life is a key to being happy. In actuality, by contentment, I mean being grateful for what is in your life now. It does not mean that you cannot want to strive for “more”. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that you already have a great deal to be grateful for. Stay focused on what you have to be grateful for and absolutely do not give time thinking about what causes stress and feelings of inadequacy.

Yes, Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!