True freedom is something that many in our world yearn for. But how does one define freedom? For every one of us we could probably come up with a whole range of things that would imply freedom.
Freedom of thought. Financial freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom of religion. Freedom of expression. Freedom of political persuasion. Freedom of speech.
For you, what is freedom?
Here are simply 30 steps that I believe are essential as you travel along the road to true and liberated freedom.
1. Do what you can do
‘Do what you love doing, and you’ll never ever feel like you’ve ever worked.’
Seek out your passion with a passion. Pursue your hearts desire with all your heart. Grab your life with both hands, and shake it until the very essence and reason for you being alive reveals itself to you.
Don’t ever be satisfied with a humdrum existence of just getting by. Explore the real you, and unveil the hidden depths of your personal ambition. Every one of us has been born with a jewel deep within.
But only few will dig deep enough, and long enough, to reveal the exquisite treasure that has been deposited within each and every human.
2. Learn what you can learn
‘Know one thing better than anyone else, and success will not shun you.’
Make it your goal to become an expert in at least one field of endeavor. Work harder than your peers. Work longer. Work, work, work to become the very best that you can possibly become.
Don’t ever be satisfied with second best. Aim for number one. Shoot for the moon. Dare to dream. Push ahead towards possibility.
Fix within your mind the you that you want to become, and go for it.
Compete against your last attempt, and with every step forward, show appreciation to yourself for all your wonderful efforts.
3. Think what you can think
‘Hard thinking will make for softer work, than if you never thought at all.’
Abraham Lincoln taught us that if you are to chop a tree down with an axe, you should spend the bulk of your time sharpening the axe first and foremost, before you ever attempt to make the initial cut.
People swinging blunt axes amounts to one thing: frustration. So sharpen your mind through stimulated thinking time, as you read and listen to material presented by mentors in your chosen field of study.
Devote yourself to a lifetime of study, so that you are always at the peak of your knowledge and wisdom, ever ready to act, and ever able to lead.
4. Concentrate on what you can concentrate
‘Concentration and unfaltering purpose brings victory.’
I am constantly inspired by the life of one of the world’s greatest artists. I can never read enough, or see enough of his paintings.
However, the most inspiring feature about his life, to me, is not his paintings. It is in fact his persistence.
Throughout eight decades of living, surviving many years of deprivation, he consistently pursued the vision that he had of his world, and translated it into images on canvas.
He achieved great success in his latter life, and the vision that he had now makes his paintings worth millions. His name? Claude Monet.
5. Live how you can live
‘The bold, though often unsure of the outcomes of their actions, will eat. However, the timid, though safe for a time, will starve.’
One who waits for his or her food to fall out of heaven will wait a long time. We have been given hands to work with and legs to carry us.
It is as we use the gifts that we have, and the resources that are available at the time, that we can transform our lives into a productive and powerful unit.
Don’t fall into the trap of always looking for outside assistance. Though it may come, you will be surprised at how much of what you need is already available within your very own reach.
There is a bottomless well within your life that will refresh and restore like no other well can.
6. Give what you can give
‘It’s not what you get out of life that makes the difference; it’s what you give.’
Acquiring stuff and making your obsession for possession the reason for living, will ultimately lead to an empty life.
It is those who make it their purpose to give of their time, their energy and their money to others, who will become the winners at the end of the day.
If you learn something, then find someone to teach. If you have received a gift, then find someone to share it with. If you have happiness, then spread that happiness on to others.
If you want more friends, then show yourself friendly. Remove ‘what’s in it for me’ out of your vocabulary and soon you will find that you will be flooded with abundance in every area of your life.
7. Leave what you can leave
‘Nobody achieves ‘nothing’ without knowing the power of ‘no’! Say ‘no’ to anything less than the best for your life.’
Nobody achieves ‘nothing’? Great English, hey. But it makes for a good point. The word ‘no’ is just as important in your arsenal of success as is the word ‘yes’.
In learning how to use it effectively, you will live a life that is focused and targeted.
You will not be drawn into those projects that distract you from your overall mission and you will not be waylaid along some sidetrack that will put you behind schedule in the pursuit of your dreams.
Leave them alone. In this day and age, there are some wonderful opportunities, but you must learn to choose only the best and nothing but the best.
For in doing so you will achieve the best and produce the best for both you and your family. So if something comes along today that doesn’t fit you, your goals or your plans.
Pull out that amazing word, while smiling, and say ‘No!’
8. Accomplish what you can accomplish
‘Accomplishment is the true measurement of success.’
Never allow your life to be called an unfinished symphony. Compose a life that will resound in a crescendo of finished and completed projects.
Set a goal and pursue that goal until it is ‘a happening’ rather than a ‘maybe’ in the ‘by and by’. Set a task and pursue it until the end is reached and you have crossed the finished line.
Races are won when the tape has been broken. Books are completed when the final word has been typed. Lives are complete when they have left a living legacy.
9. Act when you can act
‘Actions speak louder than words.’
Stop talking and start acting. If you promise to deliver then don’t talk about it, simply do it. I don’t want to hear what people say.
I want to see what people do. Words are a wonderful invention, but unless they are backed with some corresponding action, then how can I believe the words?
If you say you love me, then do something that demonstrates it. If you say you will provide a service, then deliver it not just on time, but before time.
If you produce a product that you say is good, then make it excellent. It is by this that we can prove the reality of the words we speak. This is the ‘loud’ that you and I must hear if we are to win.
10. Decide when you can decide
‘Sitting on the fence can only ever get you one thing. SPLINTERS!’
Decide to decide and you won’t slide. You’ll soar. There is something wonderful about making a decision and then acting on it. It empowers you. It builds confidence. It grows you.
A decision maker has strong character and is in fact filled with leadership qualities because they are at the helm of their ship. So make it your practice to be ever more definite in the decision making process.
Gather all the facts through thorough research, interview those who have done what you want to do and been where you want to go, but then trust yourself as you make a bold decision for your life.
Don’t leave the decision making process to others, because this will only lead to one thing; a life that you did not plan on living. It’s your life, so decide what you want to do, leap the fence and go do it.
11. Change what you can change
‘You can’t expect change unless YOU change.’
If you want to change your life, there is only one person who can make the difference. You. Sorry about that, but the buck stops with you.
It’s not the responsibility of the government, your employer, your customers, nor your family members. You are solely responsible for the outcome of your own life.
If you want to change your life then you are going to have to make the necessary adjustments required to do so. But first, identify exactly what you want to change.
When you have, write it down. Then write down in detail what you are going to do to get there. Set a goal, set a date for its achievement and you are more than half way there.
Now DO the plan, step by step, always knowing that with each step you take you are one step closer to reaching your desired target.
12. Spend what you can spend
‘Watch where your money is being spent. Small leaks sink great ships.’
Set aside just thirty days to keep a written record of everything that you spend. You will be amazed at where the money ends up.
Once you know this, you will now be ready to accurately readjust your spending and realign your spending habits. The same goes with the way you spend your time.
Time is money, and the correct use of your time will have a huge impact on your purse or wallet. Don’t allow frivolous activity to rob you.
And never allow the tyranny of the urgent to steal from you. The word ‘no’ will spare you from unnecessary wastage.
13. Dream what you can dream
‘Your dreams must be bigger than your doldrums.’
Your positives must always outweigh your negatives if you are ever going to fulfill the desires of your heart.
That is why it is so important to develop and feed the dream for your life. It is the fuel in your tank. It is the big umbrella that protects you from the sudden storms. It is your refuge. It is your strength. It is your fire. It is your reason.
It is what will take you from out under the bondage of the ordinary and propel you on and into the extraordinary. It will be the pulse of your heart.
It will be your anchor in the storm. It will be the map to guide you and rudder to steer you.
And it must be BIG so that no matter what life throws at you, you will stand strong because you know for certain why you have been placed on planet earth.
14. Believe what you can believe
‘Your belief will make all the difference to the results you achieve in your life.’
Believe and you will. Disbelieve and you will not. Nothing has changed except for the addition of three letters before the most powerful success tool in your life; your belief.
But how do you develop that belief? Are you born with it or must you give birth to it. Well, I believe that some of us have been blessed with more of it than others.
But at the same I believe that we must all nurture our belief, because there are many thieves who would seek to steal it from us time and time again throughout our life.
You must be your greatest fan. You must take time each day to pat yourself on your back and reward yourself. Don’t neglect this vital part of your belief system.
Indulge a little and rerun your past successes through the cinema of your mind. It will make all the difference.
15. Be what you can be
‘Imitate no one. Be yourself and take pride in who you are.’
You are an original. When you were created, the mould was thrown away. So don’t allow peer pressure to formulate the ‘you’ that you need to become.
Be you and be proud of who you are. No movie star, no advertising campaign, no fashion and no one should ever be allowed to influence the originality of the creation that is you.
No one is better or worse than you. You are you, and for that reason, and for that reason alone, you must maintain a constant vigil to maintain your personal originality.
16. Build what you can build
‘Take a minute to sculpture a perfect minute, and by doing so you have learnt how to carve out a great future.’
A lifetime is the result of quality time that has been devoted to the building of a life. However, lifetimes pass in the blink of an eye.
One minute you’re born, the next moment you’re dead. What’s left between the birth and the death is time; your lifetime. So waste not the minute, sacrifice not the second.
Treat each one as a precious diamond that has been handed to you for your safekeeping. Don’t bury it in the ground. Use it.
Transform the rough diamond into a piece of incredibly valuable jewelery, which will bring gasps of delight from those who get to see your life.
Add value to what has been handed to you, by leaving a lasting legacy.
17. Fear what you can fear
‘Always do what you fear to do, and fear will never bind you.’
I live in a land where we have some of the most deadly snakes in the entire world. In the summer months our bush is alive with the movement of venomous snakes.
So for many bush walkers, that is a good reason to fear. However, I recently met a snake handler who taught us, that no matter how you felt, when you came across a snake, the snake would not harm you.
All you had to do was to simply stand still. However, an action he suggested to do, in order to release your fear, was that while standing still you should proceed to scream at the top of your lungs.
Why? Because action cures fear, and snakes have no ears.
18. Learn what you can learn
‘A true genius makes it their prime mission to seek out another genius, never afraid to sit as a pupil at their feet.’
Humility will keep you safe from thinking that you know everything. Those who think they know everything have failed to recognize one thing.
They have just become stupid. Yes, there is not one of us on the face of the earth, no matter how much study we have done, who does not need to learn something new.
Your teacher may not necessarily be found within great centers of learning. At times a child will be your teacher. At other times nature will instruct you.
And then there will be other periods when the silence of solitude will tutor you.
19. Delegate what you can delegate
‘Exponential growth arises out of successful delegation.’
You and I cannot do it all if we are going to live a balanced life. Identify your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. This is the way to a productive life.
The more you can get others to do what you can teach them to do, the more you can concentrate on what is really important in your life.
Leverage your time and your efforts so that you can maximize each and every hour that you live.
Look for systems that will allow you to turn one hours work into two, then one into three and so on.
Open the door to exponential growth by spreading the load, by training others and continually putting yourself out of a job because you have trained someone to replace you. Live your life as a constant obsolete.
By doing so you will remain on the cutting edge of life and win.
20. Lead whom you can lead
‘Good followers of good leaders make exceptional leaders.’
Find a good leader and follow them. For in your following you will learn much that will equip you until you yourself are ready to lead.
And in your leading be good. And what is a good leader? One who nurtures other potential leaders and does not seek to hold them back, but in fact pushes them forward.
This leader does not bind people in chains. They are not tyrants. They are not dictators. They are liberators.
And when another leader has been borne under their care, they encourage them to soar.
21. Succeed where you can succeed
‘Don’t look for excuses to fail. Find a way to succeed.’
If you failed, then simply say, ‘I failed’. Then move on. Rather than wasting precious time in search for an original excuse, or someone to blame, make up your mind once and for all that the buck stops with you.
That way you will have plenty of time to focus on the next mountain that you have to climb. Try, learn and pursue your dream. Talk to other failures.
Yes, the failures who are now millionaires. Because in the vast majority of cases, the reason that they are where they are is because they’ve dared to fail more than most.
22. Continue while you can continue
‘Continuance in the face of defeat is the sign of great courage.’
No matter what is happening around you, it is so important to stick to some sort of routine. Make certain that it is your success routine.
Look at your goals on a daily basis. Stay focused on them, and keep your eyes firmly fixed on your bulls-eye, which is your life goal. Just because you are in the face of defeat does not mean that you are going to be defeated.
Keep busy, and don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a state of inactivity. Read more, listen more and feed your mind, so that you are fully equipped to avoid any sniper fire along the way.
23. Practice what you can practice
‘Perfect practice makes for perfect performance.’
It is not enough to just practice. I teach one of my children the piano and I often hear them practicing mistakes over and over and over. That is not going to get the job done.
They must first fix the mistake, and once it is fixed, practice it over and over and over perfectly. Life is the same. We must learn to practice perfectly if we want to achieve perfect performances.
Good enough is not good enough. Excellence should be our pursuit, and in that pursuit seek to raise the bar for us, so that we can stretch our abilities and grow. And when will be our greatest performance? The next one.
24. Risk what you can risk
‘Tomorrow’s achiever is the one who risked what others were afraid to risk.’
What a tremendous philosophy, to understand that no matter what is happening in our life, there is always a chance to better it.
The difference between a winner and a loser is this: the loser is fearful of risk, even if it is calculated risk, and will never dare to do or be different. Their life is a perpetual rut.
On the other hand, the achiever is the one who may still be fearful, but is willing to burn their bridges and take risks. Get as much information as you can, and once you are fully informed – then jump.
25. Discipline what you can discipline
‘Discipline will be the anchor that will stop you from losing your way in the tough times.’
Discipline and patience are the two keys that will separate you from the masses of humanity; those who rush ahead with no thought as to the consequences of their actions.
Make discipline your anchor so that you stand firm while others surge forward. For you will bide your time as you await the right moment to move.
And let patience be your guide, as you steer through the reefs and avoid the onslaught of the raging winds that buffet your vessel.
Your consistency in action and the repeatedness of your good habits will allow you to sail through rain, hail or sunshine until you reach the far-off shores of your dream.
26. Move when you can move
‘When the wind blows, simply set your sails and go for the ride of your life.’
Movement is the key to all success. Success doesn’t come to those who stand still. It chases those who are running forward and ultimately overtakes them.
As you keep running towards your dream, take a second, only a second, to turn your head and yell out to success, ‘Catch me if you can.’
And then without another thought, just keep doing what is the driving force and passion of your life. In time, success will finally catch up to you.
But in the meantime run faster than you’ve ever run before, and dare success to pursue you.
27. Grab what you can grab
‘Opportunity is only as good as the opportunist who grabs it and runs with it.’
Be proactive. Make things happen. Pursue success with tenacity. Despise passivity and apply massive action to the task ahead. Stay alert and ask yourself powerful questions as you serve others.
Always ask yourself, ‘How can I go the extra mile for this person?’ Grab opportunity with both hands and both feet and run like the wind.
Find what you truly want and then go after it with a passion. Rise above the circumstances and expect superabundance of energy, supply, finances, and ideas as you push ahead with daily persistence.
28. Simplify when you can simplify
‘Simple minds using simple methods produce simply beautiful things. Keep things simple.’
If you want to become wealthy, then take something complex and simplify it so that it is made available to the masses, rather than a chosen few.
Microsoft did this, Henry Ford did this and so too did Thomas Edison. These were ordinary people who added a dose of extra to create extraordinary and life changing products and events.
Help people to simplify the process, and you too will be on the road to great riches. Serve others and you will be dealt a great serve yourself.
29. Do what others won’t do
‘Do what others won’t do and you’ll have what others will never have.’
It’s quite simple really. If you don’t want to live like the 95% who battle through life, then do exactly the opposite to what they do on a daily basis.
And while you’re at it, seek out the 5% who live better and richer lives in every area of their life and make them your mentors and friends.
Then do more than the average. Read more. Invest more. Develop good habits. Talk positive words. Dream HUGE dreams.
Write your goals and refer to them daily. Become a person of action and back your words with performance. Stand out from the crowd.
30. Invest what you can invest
‘Invest your time into those things that will help you build a strong and secure future.’
Your greatest investment will not necessarily be made with your money.
It will be made with your time. And when it comes to money, make sure that your first and foremost investment is in yourself.
Invest in your ongoing education, for it is only those who continue to educate themselves who will remain at the cutting edge of what is happening in our society.
Those who prepare for change, through exposing themselves to an ongoing education, will flow with change and will not be drowned by it.
Bonus: Choose what you can choose
‘The power of choice is in each and every one of our hands. Choose well!’
Choose to win or choose to lose. It’s your choice. You are the author and controller of every decision you make. And in order to live a successful life, you need to always choose to win.
However, if you do happen to lose, draw from the experience the necessary ingredients that will help you to overcome the obstacles ahead.
There may be a need to take some time out to reflect, but don’t neglect. Reinforced with insight and wisdom, arm yourself afresh with renewed action.
For it is in the act that there will be the greatest impact.
Which one of the above steps is helping you most on your road to freedom?