Updated: Apr 12, 2019
Some people ‘live’ and some people ‘exist’. What is the difference? Those who live, have a purpose and a plan. Those who exist, do not. Do you know what your purpose is in life? If you are unsure, you are most likely rolling with life day in, day out, reacting to what’s happening around you as opposed to taking planned action.
If you do have a purpose, do you have a plan? Like many people, I didn’t stop to think about the reason why I did anything, and I existed like this until I was in my early 40s. I knew what needed to be done; I had my daily list of chores. I even had a bucket list spreadsheet, but I didn’t have any timelines connected to the dreams. I rolled with life day in, day out, not questioning why and drifting from one event to the next. Sure, I am an organised person and I cram a lot into a day, but I didn’t ever really think about what I wanted in life, or what legacy I might be leaving behind. My husband was working incredibly long hours in a stressful job, so I took on the role of homemaker; raising the children and managing the daily household tasks.
I didn’t realise my life could be any other way until the kids were a bit older, I returned to work part-time and that was when I became exposed to a whole world that had been passing me by. Although I was still existing day to day with no long-term plan, I had stumbled upon not only the concept of financial freedom but that the personal development and self-help shelves in the book shops had swollen and multiplied. There was so much to be learned. I recognised that people were living all over the world, and I was only existing.
I discovered that I could achieve financial freedom through property, and that meant that I could pursue my passions in life. How had I not seen this before? It had been staring me right in the face for over 10 years as I was already a landlord and had project managed the conversion of my own house. I had property experience but not the application to become a property investor. I guess I wasn’t even looking for it! My reticular activation system had not been programmed to hone in on this information and had been carefully filtering it out for me thinking that it was not necessary knowledge for me to use.
The first book I picked off the swollen bookshelves was ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki, and truly understanding the difference between assets and liabilities was to be the lightbulb moment for me. Finally, I could apply some of the knowledge I already had to create a different future for me and my family. That was my epiphanic moment. I finally took control and moved from just existing to living with a definite purpose and a plan.
Who you are, what you do and what you have is all within your control. What you want to have determines who you become and what you do. What are you doing? Are you living or existing? Are you in control? Taking control and living my life with self-awareness and responsibility is something I am passionate about. Just look at my recent blog “What do we do now?” where I question both the state of today’s financial literacy and literary bias in non-fiction.
Taking responsibility for everything you do in life not only enables you, it empowers you to change anything you desire and forge a future of your own creation. Defining your purpose and then standing by your purpose at all costs will ensure that you meet your goals and stay on mission. Showing gratitude for life plays an important part in being able to live and not exist. Journalling has allowed me to be more aware of many moments in a day that may have been lost in the melee of a busy life. Taking a few minutes each day to reflect on that day’s wins, losses, learnings and those moments to be grateful for has enriched my life.
In early December 2016, I had been recommended to read ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod, and I turned the pages of this book with intensity. Wow! What a journey he had been on! What a journey he subsequently took me on! If you don’t know his story, he was involved in a car crash aged 20 hit head-on by a drunk driver at 70mph where his heart stopped for six minutes and breaking 11 bones.
Waking from a coma finally, he was told he would never walk again. Not only did he recover from this horrific accident and walk, he went on to run an ultra-marathon! In 2016, he nearly died again being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer which he overcame and is now cancer free. His survival from both these events is truly miraculous. Elrod demonstrates the stark contrast of living not existing as he has a clear mission to elevate the consciousness of humanity one morning at a time. Elrod says that “Unwavering faith and extraordinary effort equals miracles.” Indeed, they do!
Inspired to shake up my new way of living further, the LIFE S.A.V.E.R.S. as Elrod describes them, appeared to be an easy habit to form, so on the 6thDecember 2016 I adopted Elrod’s plan. The combination of silence, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing made sense to me, and I started to notice a difference just by focusing on my own journey and self-awareness. What I had no idea would then happen would be that 853 days later (and counting, on 7.4.19) I would be an entirely different person as a result of this daily routine.
“Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams. Don’t think you have to choose one over the other” says Hal Elrod. The Miracle Morning was one of the first books in the self-development realm that I encountered, and it had a profound effect on me. As a result of reading it, I have taken myself on a journey through education, business development and financial literacy. Do you want to live or just exist? Elrod said and I wholeheartedly agree, “Make today the best day of your life because there is simply no good reason not to” Hal Elrod declares.
Sound advice indeed, and yet this is not new advice. The words Carpe diem,‘seize the day’, were taken from Horace’s odes in 23 BC. William Shakespeare’s poem entitled ‘Carpe Diem’ carefully weaves this strong message into his play ‘Twelfth Night’, written at the turn of the 17thcentury. In the 19thcentury, the words of Jack London, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
In 1989, Robin Williams in his role as Mr. Keating in ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ encourages his students to make their lives extraordinary and ‘seize the day’, Carpe Diem, whilst quoting a contemporary of William Shakespeare, the British poet Robert Herrick’s lines from ‘To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time’ poem:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
With sage advice rippling through the ages on page, stage and screen, I ask the questions how and why so many in life continue to allow life to happen to them; to exist not live. In today’s world, 40 years of the Information Age rapidly evolving, we now have a wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips. So, I still don’t understand how people can remain ignorant of how they could combat their fears and avoid negative emotions, have a purpose and a plan, embrace learning, hold positive beliefs, be self-aware and take control. Live not exist.
What you do, says more about you than what you are saying. Switch up your thinking. Instead of saying I can’t do something, think how can I…? The brain is then set a challenge to solve it. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them,” wrote Albert Einstein. Deciding to journal my property, business and life journey has been a cathartic experience, and has been a daily habit that allows me to look back on the successes and obstacles encountered on the way. It’s so easy for the memory to modify reality, but with the written journal, I can reflect on my experiences with ‘real time’ evidential practice. Actions speak louder than words.
What if I had chosen not to take control of my life once I was made aware of the concept of living not existing? I would have continued to fall foul to my subconscious mind taking control of my life without a map to guide me anywhere. Having read The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters, who explained how you can manage the mind and take control, I now recognise that the conscious and subconscious mind need to be in alignment to achieve goals. The subconscious mind works day and night for the conscious mind.
So be mindful of what tasks your conscious mind is setting the subconscious mind. The importance of positive emotions dominating the mind should not be underestimated. One single negative emotion is enough to sabotage all chances of constructive assistance from the subconscious mind. Mind over matter! The conscious mind commands, the subconscious mind obeys. You need to ensure that your conscious mind knows what your purpose and plan are so the subconscious mind can get to work to achieve them.
Don’t underestimate what you need to do to create your new life. The secret to overnight success in business can take 10-20 years of hard work! It takes time to create something great. As John Heywood, the 16th century playwright said, “Rome was not built in one day”, but James Clear went on to add in his book ‘Atomic Habits’, “but they were laying bricks every hour. Rome is just the result; the bricks are the system. The system is greater than the goal. Focusing on your habits is far more important than worrying about your outcomes.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were any of my business ventures! It has taken time, patience, knowledge, successful habits, systemisation, enthusiasm, positivity and required action to be taken every day to build my companies and achieve my goals. I started small, focusing on making small changes in my life knowing that if I focused on just one thing each day as a minimum that action would take me closer to achieving my goals. That is why knowing your purpose and having a plan are so crucial. Otherwise there is no map, no direction, no focus.
The way you live your life is as a result of your everyday choices, in fact every choice or decision you make determines the outcome. Aristotle says, “we are what we repeatedly do”. You have the power to change your life by changing your choices. Your choices shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.
Goal-setting works, and employing a coach and/or a mentor can help to change existing to living. Coaching can help bring clarity to all areas of your life and enable you to make adjustments where necessary. Mentoring can show you the exact path to tread and help speed up the process. Over the last two years, setting up new businesses in property, I’ve had mentors and coaches to help me progress, and have also mentored and coached others; those who are a few steps behind me on their journeys. So, the cycle continues.
The difference between those who make success, achieve their aim or purpose, and those who do not, lies in the fact that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not. They keep going because they have a plan and a purpose. Property is a group sport, it involves many people working together to achieve goals regardless of your levels of experience.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Have a purpose. Have a plan. Live don’t exist.
Carpe diem and remember… Rome wasn’t built in a day!