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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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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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