Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

my last post – the bare sole

11/16/2012

Thank you everyone for joining me in this journey to the end of the earth. And, of course, to the end of livin’ like a freebird.

A joyous seven-year ride, it now continues in its new form: The Bare Sole.

You can join me in this new phase a few different ways:

Again, thank you all for your continued support over the years. I hope to interact with you even more as we move on to this new phase in blogging, and in life!

Visit thebaresole.org for your official welcome on my new site!

And don’t forget, as always, to punch yourself in the face.

Much love.

the bare sole

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got the magic in you?

09/19/2012

Feelings of inadequacy abound.

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “I’m not naturally talented.”
  • “I’m not smart enough.”
  • “That person did it first, so now I can’t do it anymore.”

Why is it that we’re able to psyche ourselves out so effectively rather than just simply doing the damn thang? Is it fear? Is it anxiety? Is it an emotionless obstacle, like Steven Pressfield’s Resistance?

our deepest fear is our greatest strength

There’s a saying floating around that rings something like this: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

How many of us truly believe that? How many of us have witnessed within ourselves that capacity for power beyond measure? Perhaps that’s legitimate for some, and perhaps that’s a way of rationalizing inadequacy for others. I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t accept it.

The truth is, we all have magic in us. We all have an untapped well of power, of strength, of fortitude, that we’re simply too inconvenienced to tap into. Why dig deeper when we can watch TV? Why improve ourselves when we can settle and still get by? Why meditate when we can masturbate?

We find pleasant distractions and diversions that effectively turn us away from our goals, from our true directions.

The problem with bettering ourselves is it’s never fast, it’s never easy, and – the worst part – it’s rarely a brilliant flash of accomplishment and satisfaction when we achieve our goals. There is no shortcut to self-improvement, whether we want to become a better writer, a better doctor, a better student, ambidextrous, or a faster runner, it takes hours upon days upon weeks upon months upon years of dedication before we achieve sustainable results. Sure, we can achieve results tomorrow if we want. I could publish my first e-book by end of day today. I could grow muscle with one hour at the gym. But if we want lasting effects, if we want true success – what some call luck – that requires preparation.

Only then can we be ready for the opportunity. Think: you may be preparing for your success right now without even knowing it. If you’re not . . .

It’s time to start building toward it.

It’s time to start fearing our own power.

Got the magic in you?

one-year anniversary – why i quit my job

07/15/2012

On June 28, 2011, I walked into my boss’s office, filled with anxiety, the majority of my hairs standing on end. I said, “I think it would be in my best interests, and yours, if I put in my two weeks.”

One year later I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Hoboken, NJ, staring across the Hudson at the glow that is Manhattan.

I do not regret my decision for an instant.

But, if I could do it again, there are definitely things I would do differently.

reading between the lines

For those of you unfamiliar with that situation, here is my [poorly written] post from a year ago explaining it.

The past year, however, is slightly more complex than sitting in coffee shops in and around New York City. More than anything, this has been a year of self-discovery. It has been the kind of year I wish upon all my friends, and my enemies, though it’s not as glorious as I’ve likely made it sound.

This post is here to set the record straight.

By impulsively quitting my job, I was able to take a step back from my life and examine it as an objective observer. I allowed myself to ask the important questions, free of the cloud of responsibility and pressure.

  • What makes me happy?
  • What can I not live my life without?
  • What do I envision as my typical happy week?
  • How can I live my happy week 52 times a year?
  • Why do I associate hypocrisy with screw-top wine bottles?

Above all, I have finally been able to come to terms with my flaws (most of them). This may sound trite, but it is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I was able to embrace them, thereby becoming consciously aware of their presence, thereby minimizing their negative effects on my life. Here are my top flaws I identified:

  • I over-promise and under-deliver
  • I lack discipline
  • I am inconsistent (case and point, this blog)
  • I am easily distracted, primarily on the interwebz
  • I am selfish

On the flip side of this, I have also been able to identify what I believe to be my strong points:

  • I am authentic – I say what I mean and I mean what I say
  • I am driven to produce the best work possible
  • I am always learning
  • Yeah, short list…

All in all, quitting my job was one of the best things I have ever done with my life. But there are some distinct shades of gray to that deed as well.

For those of you looking to quit your job, for those of you looking to start doing work you love, for those of you unsure as to where you want your path to take you, let the juvenile lessons learned by yours truly help you get started on the right foot.

Because I certainly didn’t.

shattering the illusionsi quit my job

The easiest part of quitting our jobs to pursue our passions is the actual quitting. While nerve-wracking at the time, it is overshadowed by an exhilaration that cannot be replicated. For me, this made it an easy choice. But once I came down off that high, I knew it was time to get to work.

The hardest part, by far, has been the financial strain from not having that nice regular paycheck. I went from a bi-weekly paycheck with a coveted comma to a bi-weekly paycheck that rarely rose above $400.

In light of this, my #1 piece of advice is this:

1. Have some money put away before you quit your job

I altered my lifestyle but, granted, it didn’t keep me from experiencing life. I was still able to go skydiving for the first time, whitewater raft the fifth most dangerous rafting river in the world, and have my first Central American adventure in Nicaragua. But once those adventures were over, the reality of my financial situation set in and I’ve been severely restricted in what I have been able to do since then.

If you have no problem living the lifestyle of the starving artist – constantly – then this does not apply to you. To everyone else, I recommend having a little cushion before you go Bohemian.

My second lesson is this:

2. Know what you want

This sounds simple, but it’s harder than we realize. When I quit my job I knew I wanted to be a novelist. That was good direction, but the more I learned the more I realized the difficulties involved with going the straight novel route. A novel is not written in a month, unless you’re Stephen King. That first novel, especially – Carrie was denied a number of times before he got it published. So I needed other income streams in the meantime, and I needed to improve my writing tenfold before I put anything as substantial as a novel on the market that wouldn’t get torn apart and push a potential audience away.

So I made it my primary goal – and it still is to this day – to always improve my writing. To always experiment with different styles, with different voices, with different structures. That being said, my third lesson is this:

3. Never be stagnant

In December and January I experienced a period of overwhelming stagnation, resulting in my first – and hopefully last – anxiety attack. I was barely writing and had let life get in the way of my creative endeavors. In order to achieve any kind of growth as human beings, we must always be learning, always seeking knowledge. If we feel stagnant in our job, it’s likely because we feel we aren’t learning anything new, that we aren’t growing.

If we want this to change, we have two options: 1.) We can wait for an opportunity to come along and seize it, or 2.) We can create the opportunity ourselves. Robert Greene’s The 50th Law has a very motivating chapter on how to do the latter of these two. He titles it “Turn Shit Into Sugar.”

final reflection

Ultimately, as I said earlier, I would not change what I did one year ago for anything.

  • I experienced more rapid personal growth than I had in the past eight years
  • I am a better writer than I was 365 days ago, although there is still quite a ways to go
  • I have become more aware of those important questions
  • I am happier
  • And, of course, as my best friend so poignantly told me, for the first time in seven years I finally lived up to the title of this blog

Now if that isn’t worth impulsively quitting one’s job and living in poverty for the next year, I don’t know what is.