The Tao of Living Free

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The Tao of Living Free

by admin April 13, 2015

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This is the Year of the Sheep. Apparently, there were reports that people in China were rushing to having babies the year before or delaying until next year because they don’t want children who are followers. While sheep are known for beauty and grace, they aren’t particularly known for being bold. In Excellent Sheep, William Deresiewicz argues that modern-day society and education systems have prepared many of us to be seemingly successful professionals with a laundry list of achievements and activities, but in reality, sheep, blindly following prescribed notions of a successful life. This blind living leads to many a midlife crisis where we wake up wondering how we got there, not even know how to “live our passion” (that well-wishers keep insisting on as the secret to happiness), and too fearful to leave a life which, even if not fulfilling, is a known quantity. We believe we are too deep into it, have too many responsibilities and obligations, and too old to do anything else. So are we destined to be as Deresiewicz says, sheep who follow the herd? Or perhaps instead, this is the Year of the Ram (as many would say), known to be the first symbol of the Zodiac, a symbol of leadership, drive, and fearlessness. Instead of being sheep, perhaps this is the year we unleash our inner Rams and finally live free of our own chains – chains we may blame society or others for putting on us, but that which we put on ourselves and are too scared to release.

Quit Life

Priya Parker of Thrive Labs offer seven tips to get off the treadmill and reboot life, from really digging deep into what gets us excited to being comfortable in discomfort. Seven little tricks that are bound to get you on your way to letting go of your chains.

 

 

Discard, renew, and start living.

1. Forget the past

We fantasize of the future and dwell in the past, which leaves us little time to live in the present. Learning from experience is one thing, ruminating what could have-should have-what if is debilitating. Sure, you passed up on that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 20 years ago. Sure, you are more wrinkled now. But your opportunity to living your life hasn’t come and gone. It never does until you push it away. Whether you are 20 or 40 or 60, honor your past – as it has given you the experience to be where you are now – and leave it there. It’s about what you do today

2. Get scared

It is sometimes easier to follow because the path is trodden already, you know where to walk safely and securely because the footprints are embedded, the branches are cleared, and the potholes filled in. Living free has a cost – being scared of the unknown. Yes, there might be a big ditch ahead that you can’t see, but there can also be a gorgeous waterfall beyond that ditch. Be willing to get scared – let your heart race and stay up a few nights worried about what will happen next. Being afraid is part of welcoming change. But living in stagnant discontent is even more frightening.

3. Think post-Apocalypse

We think tomorrow will always be here, so much that we put off living with the rationale that we can live later. Imagine if zombies did take over the world, and there was no tomorrow. That hobby you always wanted to pick up, that trip you wanted to take, that new career will be longer be an option. You will have only half-lived and now you’re a zombie. This is not to say just quit everything and disregard responsibilities. But it’s about living now and not worrying so much about your perception of other’s expectations. The zombies aren’t going to care.

4. Be selfish
It sounds contradictory to be selfish in order to be unselfish. Yet we often give reasons for why we can’t live for ourselves – because we have to be a certain someone or do certain things for others. Others come first – aren’t we altruistic? Yet this over generosity can be a real liability – and an excuse. Not only does it limit our own power, but it can also lead to our greater discontent and unhappiness, making those we care about even more discontented and unhappy. Saying that we can’t escape our current situation because of obligation to someone else can be an excuse to stay in the comfort zone. Again, this is not to say, leave your spouse and your kids and take up debt. But being a little more selfish and following your gut and your interests (without abandonment) can actually be an selfish act. When those for whom you are responsible see that fire lit in you again, great things can happen.

5. Take a chance

It’s scary to live by your own code, to say no to the system, and to buck the trend of the Joneses who are doing everything in their power to be great sheep. But rams are bold, stubborn, and powerful. Be the ram – take a chance and leap. It does always work out. Trust yourself.
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