The other day I was enjoying a peaceful disconnecting session where I intentionally sat alone with nothing to distract me but my own thoughts (a practice that everyone should really try to do every so often to really put life in perspective and to gain clarity).
During this time I asked myself to describe who I am, if I didn’t know me.
I started by mentioning my name, age, where I live, what I do for a living, etc, all things that describe me that can easily be understood and seen externally.
But then I started to explain the inner description of myself, and how I’m very optimistic, motivated, filled with energy, disciplined and grateful for my life. I went on to think about how if my life were to end today, I would be content with how my 30 years of living have gone.
How I’ve been able to acquire inner peace that allows me to feel a sense of fulfillment and meaning in my life.
I realized that unfortunately most people do not feel this way, so from there I tried to understand how and why I do, what triggered the start of it and how did it evolve into what it is right now?
These questions sprouted a theory that I’ll attempt to detail below.
Obviously, this is from my viewpoint and experiences and it may not align with your thoughts and beliefs. Regardless, my hope is that the words to follow can be of inspiration to whoever may be reading this.
So I’d like to call this theory: The Freedom, Creativity and Growth Theory
When I reflect on life, I race back to my days in college/the few years after graduating and how very fortunate I was.
My parents had fully paid for my education in advance and provided me with an “allowance” to live off of, without ever having to worry about finding a job. After graduation, they welcomed me back home with open arms, without ever asking me to pay for rent or for the food on my plate each night.
With money not being a concern, my responsibilities consisted of simply going to school during college days and trying to find a job/start my own business when I graduated, and then having the freedom to do whatever I wanted to afterwards.
At the time I didn’t truly understand the value of this free time, but years later I have come to see it as one of the most important periods of my life.
With all that extra time, I was able to start my journey into the path of creativity.
In order to advance to the second stage, Creativity, one must gain freedom in the currency of quality time.
Quality time doesn’t have to be bountiful initially, but there must be enough of it to begin down the path of creativity.
You may be thinking that it’s easy for me to say all of this because of how fortunate I was/am, and you’re probably right. It is easy for me to say it.
All of that free time enabled me to take action, learn, experiment, fail, get back up and try again, and so on and so forth.
But just because I had copious amounts of free time and lack of concern regarding if I’d have food on the table, it didn’t necessarily guarantee me anything in life. I had to have the discipline and the will to want to achieve certain goals.
We all have 24 hours in the day, and more likely than not you spend 8-10 hours of it commuting to work and working, as well as another 7-8 hours sleeping. On the low end, that leaves you with roughly 6 hours per day to do whatever it is you have to do. Factor out another 1-3 hours for daily responsibilities and maintenance, and you still have at the low end 3 or so hours of time that can be of the quality currency if you choose to make it so.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you don’t need unlimited free time, you just need to proactively decide right now to give those few hours of quality time each day to yourself.
Honor yourself with them, make them yours, choose to use them effectively and never let anyone or anything take them away from you.
In P.D. Ouspensky’s book “The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution”, the author states that there are four centers in the body, the Intellectual (thinking), the Instinctive (automatic), the Moving (having learned/been taught) and the Emotional (feeling).
Within these four centers, are three sub centers, the Intellectual, Emotional and Mechanical.
The Intellectual sub center of the Emotional center is the gateway to creation.
When we have free quality time and decide to use it wisely, our emotions begin to think for themselves.
Inspiration and motivation allow us to start taking action, and the unraveling effect that this has cannot be overstated. Momentum kicks in and we lose track of time, some call it flow state.
This sense of creativity is when we feel most alive.
Flash back to my college/post college days and this is exactly what my freedom enabled me to dive deep into.
I didn’t have a clear picture in my head of what exactly I wanted to create, but I did know for certain that making a lot of money was a main priority and leading motivator.
And so I went, trying to wrestle my way through the business world. I took initiative, I tried to think outside of the box, I simply did not stop and kept moving forward.
Each day I woke up with a sense of vigor, excited and determined to make something happen.
Through consistent effort and resilience, one thing led to another, which led to another, which led to where I am today.
All of those experiences and lessons pushed me to seek out and realize my potential and what I’m truly capable of, leading me to growth.
In order to advance to the third stage, Growth, one must learn to consistently access and flex their creativity muscles.
I know exactly what you’re thinking right now…you don’t know what to do, how to do it, or where to start.
The best part about having free quality time and entering a state of creativity is that you don’t have to know what exactly you’re doing or going to do. You don’t have to have set plans or goals, you can figure it all out on the fly.
I realize that uncertainty is scary for most people, but you have to realize that anyone who’s ever acquired any form of success, be it financially, spiritually, physically, etc, encounters, deals with and thrives off of the feeling of uncertainty on a daily basis.
If you keep an open mind and attempt to look at uncertainty in a different light, one where it can be leveraged and used to motivate you versus make you timid, you’ll discover just how far you can go and how much you can transform and grow into the person you want to be.
Seneca once said “There is nothing that will not surrender to persistent treatment, to concentrated and careful attention.”
With freedom and creativity in your hands, it’s inevitable that growth will shortly follow.
Over the years my experiences and lessons have led me to seek out various books, many of which have deeply impacted my life.
With the accumulation of first hand knowledge and collective wisdom from some of the greatest creators of all time, I’ve been able to make leaps of progress in my life in all aspects (financially, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, etc).
But even more so than just making the progress, I’ve been able to extract the seeds of insights from those personal experiences and books to raise my level of consciousness and awareness so that I can see the progress, feel it, be grateful for it and ultimately be genuinely proud of myself for it.
I have attained meaning and fulfillment for the fact that I’ve been able to apply these teachings into my life while simultaneously influencing those I love and care about the most.
This has led to gaining a clear understanding of certain principles and modes of thinking that enable me to live life with much more capacity for gratitude and joy than one could ever imagine.
Having chosen to give yourself the quality time, diving head first into the state of creation and sticking with it despite any feelings of uncertainty, you ultimately arrive at growth.
The fruits of your labor harvest in this stage. You transform into your potential.
With the abundance of wisdom you’ve gained, you realize that whatever your goal may have been at the start (for me it was simply to make a lot of money) is no longer what you truly seek.
The theory comes full circle here, where as you grow you discover that what you want most is the freedom to continue creating and growing.
That the feeling of uncertainty and pushing yourself to reach new heights of potentiality and the sense of aliveness and growth it pulsates throughout your body is what brings the deepest recognition of meaning and fulfillment into your life.
To wrap it up…
This theory doesn’t discriminate. While everyone’s circumstances are different, just know that many others in much worse off situations than your own were able to overcome the odds, and so can you.
For all we know, this may be our one and only life to live, the ultimate question boils down to: How will you choose to live yours?
“Circumstance doesn’t make the man, it reveals him to himself.” – Epictetus