Independence Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This week we’re celebrating the act of 56 people who stood up for their beliefs when everyone else was afraid. I invite you to read about the debate leading up to it (or watch the film 1776). They didn’t agree. It wasn’t easy to make a decision. They almost voted against the idea of even TALKING about it.

But talk they did. The founding fathers laid the groundwork for the most amazing human collaboration ever: out of many, one. …. They launched a nation of people with a frontier spirit that settled a continent, created railroads and canals and roads and automobiles. Created airplanes and reached into the ultimate frontier, planting a flag on the moon. America has cured diseases, discovered the smallest objects in our universe, and made them dance to our purposes.

This place didn’t just explore the physical. We’ve pioneered a way of life. A system of government that works better than any other in the history of earth (despite what you may feel about current politics). We pioneered human rights, equality, the elimination of classes based on birth. Education accessible to all.

What happened to that frontier spirit? We’ve been lulled by a lifetime of relatively little fear, oppression, or violence. Is life perfect? No. But we’re not worried about the King’s troops dragging us out of bed and shooting us in the streets either.

Don’t let this comfort deceive you: we now oppress ourselves. We are oppressed by the mundane. Oppressed by dreams of white picket fences, 9-5 work, 2 cars in the driveway, and every electronic gadget that Silicon Valley can throw at us. We’re becoming oppressed by cheap plastic from China and buying bigger and bigger houses to fit it all in. We’ve exchanged the pursuit of happiness for the pursuit of bobbles.

Today, I declare independence.

My time is my own. I am going to die. I’d better do something between now and then.  What?

  1. First, I remind myself of the most basic motivation: I am going to die. I’d better do something important first.
  2. Next, I make a new commitment to myself: to spend as much time as possible doing things that matter as much as possible. This means eliminating many good things so that I can focus on the great ones. So I perform an audit: what am I doing, and does it matter according to my values and goals?
  3. Lastly, I act. Thinking about what you do and what you plan to do is great, but until it becomes action you haven’t done a thing. Be careful here, because thinking about doing the right thing will make you feel better, even if you never actually make a change.

My money is my own. I will not borrow money and indenture myself to a bank. I will not spend my future paying for my past. I will spend my future reaping the rewards of my past.

  1. The path to financial Independence isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s the playing the long game. It’s setting smaller goals to begin with, and growing into larger ones over time.
  2. Realize that DEBT SUCKS! Why? It indentures you. Sure, you can afford the payment on that new car. Until you can’t. 
  3. My first three goals, which I learned from Dave Ramsey: (1) save a $1000 emergency fund set up so you don’t need to borrow money if you get a flat tire. (2) Pay off all debt (except the house) if you own one. That’s where I am right now. I started 23 months ago with just under $100,000 in credit cards, cars, furniture, tv, and student loans. I’ll be debt free by the end of the year. (3) Build an emergency fund that could support my family for 6 months. These three goals lay the foundation for building wealth.

My career is my own. I work because I love the act of my work, and I work to change the world. My paycheck is a symptom of work, not the reason for it. When I do things that make a difference, people thank me with their money. Which gives me the ability to thank people who make a difference in my life.

  1. The best career advice I ever got was to view myself as the owner of a business. My employer is acutally Tony, inc.
  2. Business owners remember the adage: “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Your primary goal will be to do what’s best for your business. You’ll take on projects that can be used to market your business later (think testimonials).
  3. Business owners know that customers come and go, so they plan their lives around this ebb and flow.

This is what the Intentional Academy stands for: a life lived with eyes and hands and hearts open wide.

Here’s my invitation to you: declare independence today. Write your declaration as a comment to this post. Make today the beginning of your revolution. 

Happy Independence Day.

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