Your Independence Day

When the American Revolutionaries gathered to declare their Independence from Great Britain, it was really just the beginning of a hard fought war to actually achieve that goal. It was not until the Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783 that this freedom was secured.

It is because of this that one might find it a good day for personal reflection. One to seek, discover, and declare those things in life we want to declare our own independence from.

Is there is an unhealthy relationship in your life you know it’s time to be free of? Maybe, there is a task or project that hangs over you. One you need to either complete or walk away from. Or, a habit or addiction that is time to break free of. Then, there is freedom from debt or financial freedom. Freedom from having to worry. All of us have something we wish we could be free of.

Perhaps, this is a good day to declare your independence from something. Sit down, grab a paper and pen, date it, write it out, and sign your name. Tack it up in a prominent place so that you are forced to remember this day — your independence day.

Freedom from anything that takes away value from our lives is, like those brave revolutionaries discovered, worth fighting for. And, stating definitively what you are fighting for is a reminder of what makes the time, effort, blood, tears, wins, losses, and every thing else it takes worth it.


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Things I Learned In 2013

With the close of the year, here is a not nearly complete list of the things I learned this past year:

  • If you decide to do something, you can do anything. All you need is to get past that comma.

  • The first part of your life is spent finding out who you want to be. The second part of your life is spent finding out who you really are.

  • You do not discover the future. You create it with the actions you take today.

  • The fanciness of your process only reveals your resistance to the dirtiness of the work.

  • If you find yourself unusually productive in one area of life, ask yourself what tasks you are avoiding in the others.

  • "Work, without love, is slavery." — Mother Teresa

  • The secret to making kids that travel well is to start them traveling young and keep them doing so.

  • Schlag is a Viennese term for homemade whipped cream that is seeing a certain renaissance as of late (in order to differentiate it from the canned stuff).

  • We don’t buy things, we buy into things.

  • One should strive to use all things until their usefulness is no more.

  • I’m not sure I will ever be as emotionally fulfilled by digital technology as I am by a good pen and a nice blank page of paper. Nor will it hold, for me, the same feeling of possibility.

  • Chindōgu is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that seem like a solution to a particular problem but cause so many new problems it is effectively useless.

  • So much of modern tech is beginning to feel like Chindōgu to me.

  • Sometimes, you have to come up with the completely crazy idea that could never work to get to the slightly less crazy one that will.

  • It’s worse than we could ever imagine.

  • One of the most dangerous ideas in a free society is one in which we believe that rights are granted, not guaranteed.

  • Fight fear, with facts.

  • “Fear is just excitement without breath.” –Fritz Perls

  • Most of what we call truth is merely consensus.

  • Unlike other trees whose roots are deep and thick, California Coastal Redwoods, some of the tallest of trees, are thin and wide. They stand tall by binding their roots with others near and far.

  • The first approximation of others is ourselves.

  • How much better “how to” posts/sites would be if they led with “what for”.

  • "Why?" would be good as well.

  • The GORUCK Challenge taught me more about myself in 13 hours than I learned this entire year. Especially the first item in this post.

We don’t buy things…

We buy into things. What things? All things. Even the things we don’t buy but get for free.

For instance, let’s say you buy a shirt. How many times will you wash that shirt in the time you own it? How much water and soap and electricity will that cost? How much added labor will you expend to fold it and put it away?

Furthermore, we buy into the idea of that shirt. That that shirt will serve us. That it will keep us warm. That it will serve the need that we have. That without that particular shirt that need will be unfulfilled.

And, when it no longer served you, did you give it away? Did you take it out of the drawer? Did you drive it to a thrift store? Did you hand it to a friend? Tear it up into rags? How much time did that take?

Perhaps you put it in the garbage. Do you hire a garbage company or does the city handle that through your taxes?

The moment that shirt entered your life you bought into that shirt. You paid for it in a myriad of ways far beyond it’s actual value.

Ownership of anything is a commitment to that thing and it has a cost — a direct personal cost — beyond the cost of the thing.

The harder question to answer is this: Was it worth it?

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