Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Real Liberty Starts at Home

You may have noticed we haven't been writing as much recently. Partly it's that we've been terribly busy at work, and partly it's because things have been fairly quiet in California politics, with government budgets (mostly) behind us and corrupt politicians (mostly) lying low. But we have to admit that we're also feeling a bit weary of politics. The farce of the recent debt-ceiling debate, which so thoroughly absorbed the world of policy wonkery for weeks, reminded us how grim the prospects are for true economic or personal liberty in this country. It also reminded us that hoping for real liberty to come via the political system is foolish at best and dangerously misguided at worst. If you want to experience freedom, you have to take the critical steps yourself.

When most people talk about freedom, the concept they're really after is happiness: they want the world to arrange itself in a way that's favorable to their goals and wishes. If you're a believer in government and the political system, this means using the power of government to smite your enemies (real or imagined) and right the wrongs that separate this world from whatever utopia you can imagine. If you're a skeptic of state power, you just want the statists to leave you alone to your own devices. But regardless of which camp you find yourself in, the world never stays very perfect for very long. Given that, actually obtaining freedom and happiness would seem to involve taking the difficult steps yourself. To quote Shawshank, either get busy living, or get busy dying. So how can you do this?

First, if you're one of the vast majority out there who hates their job, you need to quit your job. Maybe not tomorrow, but you need to do it. Do you really want to look back on your adult life and realize you hated 40 or more hours out of every week? If you're going to be happy, you need to spend your weeks doing something that makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning. Unless you work for a family member, your employer doesn't care about you, and many, many Americans have been learning a tough lesson about job security since 2008. If you hate your boss and/or coworkers, go work somewhere else; if you hate your career, start doing something else, even if it means making less money. Consider getting off your ass and becoming an entrepreneur.

Second, start asking yourself careful questions about what you have to offer a hypothetical customer. Even if you're not quitting your job, start thinking of yourself as a business. And start making plans for how you're going to offer the best of yourself to the world. Remember: with over $2 trillion in QE 3 about to be unleashed upon the world, there are going to be a lot of opportunities to create wealth in the near future. We're not sure where they are yet, but most likely they're not in your cubicle at Initech. Whatever you do, don't get caught up in the gloom and doom about the economy. Speaking of which . . .

Third, turn off the f***ing television. At the least, turn off the propaganda news, the sports, and the trash TV; things that inspire you and educate you are okay. Aside from the fact that TV is designed to make you invest yourself emotionally in things that are completely f***ing pointless, you need this free time to work on the business that you're going to make of yourself. To borrow a very overused phrase, indulging in entertainment is kicking the can of your own future down the road.

Fourth, take care of your money. If you don't save anything from your paycheck, now is a perfect time to start; most all of us have at least a few expenses we can cut from our lives. And buy precious metals. More to the point, buy them now while they're still halfway affordable. Life is way too short to spend more time than you absolutely have to worrying about money.

Fifth, take care of your body; it's tough to be happy if you feel like garbage physically. Start going to bed earlier, ensuring that you get enough sleep. Start eating better. Start working out. You never know where this business that you're making of yourself is going to take you, so you need to be physically ready.

And finally, spend as much time as you can doing things you enjoy. In this spirit, we'll be starting a well-deserved vacation tomorrow, and posting from the road for a few days.


Post a Comment