How to Have Less in a World that Wants More: A Guide for Men Who Want to Have More Freedom

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I touched down at Narita airport on December 22nd, 2001. There was no snow, no greeting party, and no smiling faces of people I knew. It was just me, and the one bag I had.

I had just finished Intelligence Specialist “A” School back in Dam Neck Virginia at the Navy Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (NMITC), and had been given my choice of 3 places to take orders. Sasebo Japan, Fallon Nevada, or Yokosuka Japan. I chose Yokosuka, because I wanted to be on an aircraft carrier (USS Kitty-Hawk).

The airport lost my bag. I didn’t speak Japanese at the time, but somehow the airport understood my dilemma and apologized profusely. They told me through broken English that they would bring my bag to me as soon as they found it.

Now, it was just me.

This sounds horrible, but, I didn’t get upset, what was the point? So, I found the USO, hopped on the bus headed to the Naval Base in Yokosuka, and hoped for the best.

The next 4 years were some of the simplest years of my life. I believe that it was in part because of the limited amount of items in my possession.


Why are we drawn to having less, quitting the 9 to 5, or traveling the world as a lifestyle?

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We all crave freedom.

Whether it's quitting your day job to travel around the world and work remotely, or retiring when you are 65 to enjoy your golden years hanging out on the beach, golf course or community you want to be a part of. We all desire that freedom.

Is it the lifestyle that is so appealing, or is it that we feel trapped and doomed to a tireless existence? There are a lot of books out right now (I have read many of them) that tell you to follow your passion, do what you love, or "Crush IT."

Is hating your job immensely and quitting really a great foundation for a lifestyle you want to lead, or the person that you want to become?

Probably not.

However, hating your job is not a bad thing and it is probably because either you are putting all of your time and energy in to work and less time into other stuff.

Also, there are toxic workplaces, and if you find yourself dreading going into work then you need to find a different workplace as long as you have tried everything you can to resolve any issues. I had a situation like this, more than once.

I dreaded going to work, I even confronted the issues but they became worse. I made an exit plan, then executed it. It took several months before I was able to find something else, but just having a plan made it bearable.

Since then, I have learned a lot of things. One of them is to not look for fulfillment in my employment to someone else. You will never find it in your job.

If there is something that you really want to do, and believe you were made to do. It may not exist in a position with another company. That means that you will have to pursue it on your own time.


If you want freedom you have to create it

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After talking to hundreds of men, and being part of men groups all over the internet, and several mastermind groups there are certain trends that I have noticed.

When I say trends, I mostly mean ares that hang people up from achieving the freedom that they crave.

  • Work - Spend too much time there, hate it, or drained after
  • Money - Never have enough, too much debt, unable to manage
  • Lack of Exercise - Never have time, can't stay consistent, give up when no results come
  • Time - Do not have enough of it, don't manage it well, let others dictate it
  • No Recreation - Make no time for activities, put others needs before own, spouse issues

These issues aren't new and everyone has them. The truth is, that it's all about choices and trading in what you think you need now, for what you want most.

You have to go for what you want most, not for what you think you need right now. That's what little kids do. They do what feels good.

Adults. Men. They make a commitment. A plan.

Then they stick to it.


Freedom from the Workplace

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If you are like me, then working for someone else or a large company is never ideal. In fact, I really don't like working for other people. However, I do take my job seriously, and I always do my best.

The jobs that I have had helped me do many things:

  • Pay off debt
  • Save money
  • Provide Health Insurance
  • 401k Investing
  • Bonuses

Despite my "feelings" sometimes, I am very thankful for the jobs that I have had, and the things that they provide for me.

However, there has never been a "job" for me that has been the perfect job, as I am sure that is the case for most men. It is easy to become complacent and want to switch jobs when one of them is not really working out or fulfilling you. 

Let's just face it, as long as you are working for someone else you are most likely not ever going to be 100% excited about your job.

So what's a man to do about?

Start doing what you love to do, and continue to do it. I think you will be surprised at what happens.

I found this out by just starting to do the things that I had always wanted to do. I wanted to start writing and working out again. That led into wanting to help other men do the same thing. Then I started a blog, now I have some other side projects going on. I have made money from other sources. 

I never set out to do all those things, I just started doing what I always wanted to do, and I made time for it, even if it was only 15 minutes a day.

You have something that you have always wanted to do too. The man you are made to be is just waiting to come roaring out of you. You are a warrior and a lion, you just have to unleash it.

Here are a few tips:

  • Read Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 (Write down what it means to you)
  • Write down 5 things that you have always wanted to do, and wish you could do daily.
  • Pick one
  • Now, do one thing today to move closer to doing what you picked. Just one thing.

Then do it again the next day, and so on.

For example, I wanted to start a blog. I didn't know how, so I researched a couple website hosting sites. I picked the one I liked the best, and I got a free 14 day trial. Then I built the website for 14 days.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Don't over-analyze, don't think it has to be perfect. Just take massive action.

A lot of people (myself included) think they need to have everything figured out before making a step. That is the quickest way to never do anything.

Eventually, over time, you may find a way to make this thing you have always wanted to do into a side project that makes money. It has never been an easier time to be successful. It's there for the taking to those who are committed.

If your side project doesn't turn into anything monetary, at least you have something that you can do that allows you to use all of your talents and gifts.


Freedom from debt, and other money problems

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You don't have enough, you have too much debt, or you have no idea how to save or spend it.

I get it. I didn't either.

I always assumed that making more would make me happy, and it does, for a while.

Money in and of itself does not create happiness, but what money does is make life easier, especially if you have no debt and systems in place that help you to not have to worry about it or let it consume your mind.

I am going to give you some money tips that will lead you to financial freedom. (Please know that I am not a financial expert). I use these tips in my own life and have seen results. There is nothing special about me other than my desire to succeed at whatever I put my mind to. You are no different.

  • Tip 1: Make a Budget

    • Know how much money you have coming in, and haw much you have going out
    • Get the free budget here
  • Tip 2: invest in 401k or mutual fund

    • Make sure that you are putting your money into some sort of retirement savings. Most employers offer a 401k and usually have a percentage match. For example, they will match up to 3%, which means you should put in at least 3% in. If you don't then you are missing out on easy money.
    • Realistically, you should put in 15% or more
    • Mutual are funds an option if your employer does not have a setup, or if you are an entrepreneur.
  • Tip 3: Live below your income

    • If you make $3000 a month, then learn to live on $2000 or less. Now you can save that other $1000 consistently for things like cars, college, houses, emergencies, or anything else your heart desires.
    • You don't have to buy a $250,000 house and be a slave to the $1200 monthly mortgage payment for the next 30 years. 
    • A new house or a new car are nice to have, but at what cost? Your freedom?
  • Tip 4: You and your spouse/significant other need to be in agreement

    • You and your spouse have to be on the same page when it comes to money. Some couples will say this is my money, and that his her money. They say, you pay for this, and I'll pay for that. etc...
    • Combine the money and start looking at it as "Our Money", then you both have to make decisions about where you want it to go.
    • Just as an example. My wife and I don't make a purchase without the other person knowing, and we talk about it before it is made, even if it is a lunch purchase, or gas for the car.

Following these tips helped my wife and I pay off $55,000 in debt in 2.5 years. I can assure you it was not glorious and we weren't always perfect but we just stuck to it and tried to remain as consistent as possible. 

I remember thinking many times that it was going to take forever. Everyday I would try and figure out ways to make more money. I always did. I can tell you that making money takes work just like anything else, but it's like learning anything else.

Once you learn how to do it, it becomes a game and you get better at it. Just like any other game.

A great book to read about how it compares is called: The Ten Pillars of Wealth: Mindsets of the worlds richest people.


Lack of Exercise - Freedom from mediocrity

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When men don't exercise, whether they realize it or not, they are accepting mediocrity.

They become:

  • Lethargic
  • Unmotivated
  • Irritable
  • Testosterone depleted
  • Less confident
  • Hunched and slouched (bad posture)

Most of the time, men have no idea that the foods they are eating, and the way that they are living is truly affecting them. It may not be affecting them in ways that they can see visually, but eventually they will be visible.

For me it came in the form of pictures as I saw myself grow to a whopping 30# overweight. I was really upset with the way I had let myself go. 

Rather than pout about it and not attempt to do something about it. I accepted that my decisions had led me down that path, and that I needed to do something about it. That was not the man that I was made to be and I knew it.

I know that a lot of men are in the same position. The only difference is, most of them don't stay consistent. They give in to what they want now over what they want most. If they mess up on their routine, they just give up. That's called quitting.

Freedom from mediocrity and bad physical health, can only be overcome by exercising and eating healthy.

Anybody who tells you different is full of you know what. The only secret is hard work, and discipline.

There are a couple ways to start becoming a physical beast that have worked for me:

  • Make a commitment to yourself, take ownership of where you are at.
  • Start a good workout program: Check out the 360 Man Project 30 Day Fitness Program or this article:
  • Set out your workout clothes and prepare your meals the night before
  • Get it done, don't quit. Don't base your motivation off of "feelings"
  • Consistency

I tried for years to get in shape and eat right. I failed terribly every-time and would give up. Yep, I quit every single time. I was not consistent.

It wasn't until I realized that it was going to take commitment, consistency and me really wanting to become the man that I was made to be that I started seeing results. I just kept going back to the gym every single day, no matter what. If I missed I day, I just went the next day, or would do something to work towards that.

Over time, I found a program that was perfect for me. I stuck to it for 12 weeks and it transformed me and my life.

I haven't stopped since.

I know you can have the same success, because I have seen it.


 
30 Day Fitness Program
5.99 10.99

Learn how to workout and:

  • Create habits that Last
  • Track your progress
  • Achieve your goals
 

Freedom from the no time and recreation excuse

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I used to blame everything I did on where I lived.

I would say that there just wasn't anything to do that was fun or captured my interest. I would blame my irritability and lack of fitness on not being able to do the outdoor activities that I used to enjoy when I lived in Idaho.

I didn't like that I couldn't go out the back door and be in the mountains. I believed that in order for me to ever find recreation I needed to move back to Idaho.

The truth is, I wasn't looking for anything, and I didn't have an open mind. I have recently found that there are tons of ways around where I live to do the same activities that I used to do.

Mountain biking, Hiking, running, swimming. It was all in front of me, but my mindset was awful, and rather than take ownership and plan events, I just sat around and blamed my surroundings and other people.

What a waste.

That's 3 years of my life I'll never get back. 3 years of complaining. What I realized was that I needed to pull my head out of my ass, and look around.

If I could go back in time and change it I would. Nothing stings like the pain of regret. I have a lot of it.

I don't want to waste anymore time, thinking about what I could have been.

There is an old saying: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now."

There is always time for the things you want to do. You just have to make them a priority.

If you want to do something, don't blame it on time, or circumstances. Just make it a priority no matter what else is going on in your life and go for the gusto.

You don't want to regret it 20 years from now.

Do the things you love. You only have one life, this is it. One shot. Live it well.

Tips to Achieve Freedom:

  • Plan one weekend a month to do something for yourself, or once a quarter.
    • This could be a trip with friends, camping in the wilderness, hunting. Whatever. Just let your wife and kids know in advance that this weekend you will be doing something else. Plan it in advance and stick to it. If you don't your weekend will get filled with something else.
  • Do something everyday to work on your side project.
    • Just something small can make you feel accomplished and boost your confidence.
  • Get off the phone and get outside in the wilderness.
    • You will find more out about yourself when you get out in nature.
  • Plan a family event once a month every weekend.
    • Keep it sacred, don't let anything get in the way of it.

Be intentional about having freedom and you will. It is a daily battle as everything will try and steal that from you, especially work, events, and other people. Guard it.

 

Let me know in the comments how you are doing with finding success with this?

What is one thing you are going to do this week to find freedom? Email me here: Contact

Remember. It's up to you to be the man you were made to be.

-Stephen