Friday, March 17, 2006

Be in command of your life

A SPAM email I just received had the title "Be in command of your life, process judgements...". Hmmm... I thought, their appeal is for independence. But what kind of independence are they offering? Just another job, "processing judgments".

I didn't read the SPAM but there's a million offers like that. Some kind of "earn megabucks working from home" which often turns out to be a job stuffing envelopes, or door-door sales, or maintaining marketing materials in stores, etc. A lot of us want more money and it's that desire these offers are exploiting.

But ... stop and think about this. Is it money that's desired or freedom?

Speaking for myself, the dream I hold is being able to travel regularly, to see the world, greater ease, etc.

Do these get-rich schemes offer a way to be in command of ones life? I don't think so. The offer tends to make one just as beholden to some activity that earns money. What would change is the activity to which one is beholden.

Typically people hold a job and that job provides the money with which they live, and if they want to continue living they must continue holding that job. Hence, the typical person is beholden to their job and they could not live without that job. Is that typical person in command of their life? Nope, because to a large extent their life is dictated by the job.

Here's a great question to ponder ... What would it be to be in command of ones own life?

I think that to be in command of my life, I would be choosing for myself my daily activities. Rather than having to go to the office every day, I could choose from a whole pallette of possibilities.

There's a couple ways of approaching this ...

For example if one were to be independantly wealthy then one wouldn't have any required activities. The independantly wealthy don't have to work, and hence aren't beholden to a job to provide their living. They have more freedom than the typical person to choose their life.

It's possible for the "typical person" to develop independance. I wrote up a personal finance plan which nearly anybody could use to build up financial stability and freedom. The key to the plan is for your spending to be less than your income, and to salt away that difference into investments. It's called "living beneath your means" and it's the opposite of the Keeping Up With The Joneses which ties most of us into the rat race.

I think there's another way of being in command of your life. Question: What is it you most wish to do in your life? What would you do with your life if you had the freedom?

In other words, why do you need to stay in the job you are in? You could be in a job you would enjoy, one where you believe fully in the results of what your job has you do, etc.

In such a scenario you would still be working to earn the money you live on. The difference is your work would be more in alignment with your values and desires.