One of the things that sucked the most about my former life was how little sleep I got. I delivered bread at midnight (for 12 years) and averaged between two to fours hours a night.
I was always tired, frequently cranky and struggled with a short temper. I was a jerk that most people preferred not to be around. If you had asked me what it meant to be “happy,” I would have told you happiness doesn’t exist. I was bitter and saw no escape from a life I hated. In 2011, after everything in my life fell apart, I realized that coasting through life wasn’t an option. At the end of that year, I stopped dreaming and started doing. I self-published a book that I spent all summer writing as a way to vent.
At that stage in my life, I still didn’t understand what it means to experience freedom in life—my only goal was to escape. In 2012, my father died unexpectedly at 54. We weren’t close, but his death devastated me. It woke me up to how short life is and passes us by.
It took three years, but I accomplished my freedom goals. I wake up every day and live a life I didn’t think was possible for someone like me. I was a homeless, high school dropout. I didn’t win the lottery or get an inheritance. I was living less than paycheck-to-paycheck most of my life. I was overweight and stressed to the max.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama
I overcame incredible odds when I decided to stop being skeptical of success and stop believing my self-limiting beliefs. Once I won the battle in my mind, I was able to focus and take the necessary steps towards real freedom. I can honestly tell you that I wake up every day happy. The struggle to get here was worth it.
You can have freedom in your life
My story is unique but not in the way that you may be thinking. My story isn’t and doesn’t have to be the exception. It can be the rule if you realize that it’s possible for you too. You can live a life of freedom and spend your time doing the things that are critical to the kind of life you want to live.
How? It starts in your mind. You can’t give into skepticism. You can’t listen to any self-limiting beliefs or the voices of negative people. It starts with identifying what freedom means to you. For me, it’s waking up every day free of financial stress and worry. It means living a simple life in Maui, Hawaii.
It means getting to write and speak for a living. Your goals might be different, but what are they?
You have to know where you want to end up—a finish line you can see in the horizon. It sounds a little cheesy, but too many people live their lives chasing someone else’s dream. Figure out yours and come up with a game plan to make your dream your reality.
Freedom leads to happiness
Having a release from the stresses of life leads to happiness. We spend so much of our time on edge and waste the precious moments we have here on this earth. Life is short. Too short to live it full of stress.
I’m not telling you that creating a life of freedom is easy, or that all the doors will automatically fly open just because you decided to take action. I am saying that it is possible with the right mindset, focus, and hard work. I am telling you that if you start today, you will be one step closer.
The years of sacrifice will be worth it once you’re living a life of freedom and happiness. It’s easy to coast through a “good enough” life, and too many of us are content to do it, but life has so much more to offer. Creating freedom in your work, health, and relationships will lead to happiness in a way you’ve never experienced. It’s possible for anyone reading who believes and does something about it. I hope you do.