Independence, “The Rules,” and Asking for Permission

As Independence Day approaches, Chris Guillebeau asked his Twitter followers “What does independence mean to you?”

For some people, independence means having enough money to quit their job to travel around the world, while for others it’s about having a reliable source of income and a couple weeks of vacation each year. By definition, independence is “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.”

Independence, for me, means not having to ask for permission to live my life. It’s not always easy.

The vast majority of people (myself included) are required to operate within a certain framework of rules on a daily basis. At work, there are procedures that must be followed and policies to guide our decisions. “The Rules” exist to create an environment of equality, to dictate a standard for quality, and to maintain a certain level of productivity. The Rules serve a purpose.

But the problem with rules is that they’re rules. And because “rules are rules,” the people “in charge” aren’t able to consider the needs of employees on an individual basis. A common refrain from management is “If I make an exception for you, I’d have to make an exception for everyone.” This argument is a logical fallacy (known as the Slippery Slope), but it’s often reason enough to have our needs brushed aside and ignored. Our lives are at the mercy of The Rules.

 If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.

We’ve grown accustomed to being told what to do. For years we’ve let other people dictate our lives. We’ve been taught to follow The Rules and ask for permission. We’ve had to cancel plans to work late, missed events because we had deadlines to meet, and our entire lives are scheduled around our work schedules.

What a bunch of shit!

It’s time to stop asking for permission to live our lives, and it’s time to stop following someone else’s set of rules. It’s time we stop letting our lives be influenced by imaginary obstacles…obstacles which are little more than lame excuses we use to convince ourselves that we can’t have the life we want and are the reason we believe we have to play by the rules: money, time, security.

Here’s the truth:

You’re only limited by your own choices, and the only rules you have to follow are the ones you want to follow. You’re the only person whose permission you need to ask for. You’ve created this life, and only you have the power to change it. If you’re sick of playing by someone else’s rules, it’s time to stand up for yourself.

Demand change.

At work. From your boss. From yourself. At home. From your spouse. From your children.

It’s your life! Stop asking other people for permission to live it!

STFU and Change Your Life!

I’ll get straight to the point and leave the inspiring narratives for another day. Right now it’s time for a kick in the ass…

I often encounter people who feel victimized by life.

According to them, there’s no justice. If you listen long enough, you’d think the world exists for the sole purpose of making their lives hell. Yet, they seem content to just bitch about it instead of doing anything to fix the problem.

If you’re one of these people, you can’t do nothing and expect things to change. Feeling sorry for yourself, walking away from your problems, and complaining all do nothing to improve your situation. Instead of bitching and moaning about how terrible your life is, do something about it!

If you feel like you’re not living up to your potential, figure out why. Find what’s holding you back, create a plan to overcome that roadblock in your life, follow through with that plan and move forward. If someone’s treating you like shit, stand up for yourself. Tell them to stop. If that doesn’t work, maybe you don’t need that person in your life. If you’re not earning enough money to pay the bills, find a different job and/or stop wasting your money on things you don’t need. Are you bored with your life? Do something … here’s a huge list of ideas for you!

Improving your life isn’t difficult. You just have to quit bitching and start doing. With enough hard work and determination, you can have the life you want.


Kim Kardashian’s Ass

This article isn’t about Kim Kardashian’s ass.  Her and her ass are just my reference point to our dysfunction as a society.  It seems that our attention is perpetually focused on trivial, unimportant things…shit, for a lack of a better word.  Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga, Oprah, Ricky Martin’s sexuality, Paris Hilton’s sex tape, Pamela Anderson’s sex tape, Kim Kardashian’s sex tape, Kendra’s sex tape, Keeley Hazel’s sex tape, Lindsey Lohan’s drug problem and Tiger Woods’ whore problem…a bunch of shit that no one really ought to care about.  Oh, I almost forgot Heidi Montag’s boob job…the controversy that created!

We’re so obsessed with Hollywood and celebrities that we ignore the world around us.  Reality TV has become a substitution for actual reality.  Our conversations revolve around who was voted off the island last night, not the atrocities taking place this very moment in Darfur.  The scandals on American Idol are of more concern to us than the dolphins being slaughtered in Taiji, Japan.  And did you hear that the Jonas brothers aren’t wearing their purity rings anymore!?  OMG!

The problem isn’t so much that we care about celebrities, it’s that we don’t care about the other things that actually matter.  Why?  Why don’t we give a shit?  As much as I hate to admit it, I get it.  I understand why we ignore the problems of the world and fill our thoughts with superficial garbage.

It’s easier. 

Looking at pictures of celebrities in bikinis is much more enjoyable than looking at pictures of babies starving to death or whales being brutalized.  Watching Josh Hartnett make love to a beautiful girl in the movies allows us to escape into a fantasy world but the bad things don’t get better by ignoring them.  The children are still starving.  By the time you finish reading this sentence, another child has died.  Climate change will happen whether you believe it or not.  Governments will continue to oppress their people.  Today wars are fought for oil and tomorrow, water.

But what difference can you make anyways?   You’re but one person in a sea of billions.  Your voice is no louder than the next person’s.  You and I may never change the world alone but if we stand together with hundreds, thousands or even millions of others just like us, we do have the power to be the catalysts of change.  Together, no longer are our voices small and meek but instead become a thunderous roar, one united voice, loud enough to move mountains.

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

It’s time to forget about Kim Kardashian’s ass and unite to fight for what we believe in and stand up against the injustices all around the world.  As for Paris Hilton’s sex tape…it wasn’t even that good.