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How Freedom Leads To A Life Of Happiness

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How Freedom Leads To A Life Of Happiness

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.

Epictetus

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.

 

Thank you for reading my article! What does freedom look like for you?

I used to deliver bread for a living, now I write. You can see my words in cool places such as the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Mind Body Green, the Good Men Project, Fox News, and many more. My books have sold over 100,000 copies and my new book, Stop Chasing Influencers, drops later this year. In the last three years, I’ve lost 170 pounds and moved our family to Maui, Hawaii. My goal is to help you create freedom in your work, health, and relationships and live your dream life. Join me at KimanziConstable.com and Kimanzi Constable on Facebook.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Daniel

    Dec 19, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I realize that I am not where I could be. I am a positive person and now I want to implement this in my mind. #freedom

  2. Arpit

    Jul 10, 2015 at 5:24 am

    One of the finest article I have read today!.. Thanks for sharing..

  3. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 19, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Freedom does lead to a life of happiness. When you free yourself from society’s expectations, you begin to follow what truly matter to you and this will make you happy. You are no longer bound and you feel alive and free. Of course, like you said, the road to true freedom takes hard work and focus, but it is most certainly possible!

  4. Mark Parbus

    Jun 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Freedom is the ability to make life decisions based on my values and standards and not on what society says. In my previous life, I was a corporate guy who bought more stuff as justification for how many hours I worked. That is not freedom. I look back and see that I made many sacrifices that I would not have, if I did not have the lifestyle that I had. For me, freedom does not mean doing everything but having the freedom to choose.

  5. Addicted 2 The Grind

    Jun 18, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Well Said ! “I am saying that it is possible with the right mindset, focus, and hard work.”
    The Perfect formula for success. Many people have self crippling mindsets than stifle their growth, I believe the mindset shift is the trickiest and hardest to get achieve. Once you change your mindset I believe everything else will fall into place. Great Post .

  6. Jack Luyt

    Jun 18, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Dear Kimanzi

    Thanks for the inspiring article. I really like the way you kept it short and ‘to-the-point’.

    I’m on the verge of making a life-changing decision in order to pursue the dreams I have in my heart. And this read really came at the right time for me!

    Thank you.

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Life

Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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Life

5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused

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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)

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Life

Decision and Failure: Deciding That Failure is Not an Option

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why failure is important
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Nobody likes wasting time, money or opportunities by making a bad business decision. We can certainly identify what “bad” looks and feels like, however we should be identifying what the “win” looks like too. Too often we focus on the bad, which puts us in victim mode that perpetuates a scarcity mindset which leads us directly into becoming frozen or stuck. (more…)

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