As any parent will know, the things that come out of a child’s mouth can either delight, infuriate or bemuse you. What is coming next is almost impossible to predict, such is the apparent randomness of their thought process. It’s one of the amazing things about hanging out with your kids – they remind you of a way to look at the world that you have probably forgotten. One of my sons has a particular love of categorising experiences, so he will suddenly ask, “Daddy, what is your favourite movie / favourite song / favourite superhero / favourite car / favourite colour / favourite city / favourite child..?”
Pause for thought
I’m usually not drawn into answering the last one, but for the others I’ll always have a good go at thinking it through. He’s getting his frame of reference organised in his head, and I find it actually quite useful to have a check of mine too. What I used to regard as my favourite car will have changed over the years, and I’ll be more attracted to a thoughtful historical movie than 007 these days. Why is this important? Because our priorities and values evolve as we age and acquire more responsibilities.
So when he asked me, “What was the happiest day of your life?” I of course glibly answered, “The day I met Mummy”. And he was satisfied with that answer. However when I reflected some more I changed my mind. Don’t get me wrong, meeting my wife was incredible; I’m over the moon about that day. But there has since been a day that has probably given me much more comfort and peace…you might describe it as the day I discovered the meaning of life.
The Holy Grail
Take a deep breath…get ready for it…this is life-defining stuff. I realised that the happiest day of my life was when I discovered that I actually have the freedom to live and work as I want to…I am in charge of my own destiny….THIS is the meaning of life.
Is your mind blown?
Probably not. Because it’s actually kind of obvious. It is constantly on the fringe of our awareness these days in our post-conformist society. We’re all aware that there are alternative ways to earn money, and being wage-slaves as our parents mostly were is not the only model. However, what really made the penny drop for me was realising just what it means to actually live that life and have that freedom.
Expand the horizon
Like the majority of the developed world I grew up with the frame of reference of getting good grades at school, getting a degree, having a solid career (for me in the Armed Forces), and upon that solid foundation then constructing a happy life. And hey, it worked out. I did well in school, had a great career doing some interesting stuff, and built a great family life. In that respect I was successful. But it’s like I was creating my life having selected a door to open when I was seventeen years old. I opened it and walked down that corridor. Sure, there were some side doors I opened along the way; I had choices all along. But I was always walking those corridors of conformity.
The joyous moment for me came when I finally realised that I don’t have to be bound by walls or corridors, and in fact there are no doors either. I can wander freely and seek my fortune according to my own desires and priorities. The horizon is broad; the terrain is open; I can go anywhere I like.
When I have free time I love going to the mountains. I breathe deeply, I marvel at the vastness of the scene, and I revel in the fact that I can walk and climb anywhere I want to. This is something of a model for life, I think. I feel free and unbound there. I can roam where I like, and create my own path. And the meaning of life is that this joy does not have to be restricted to the mountains; it can be enjoyed every day, wherever you live.
Working Nine to Nine-o-Five
Now, nine to five doesn’t exist for me. I can work when needed. It can be as little or as much as required. I can take the morning to see that school play, I can have a coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, I can enjoy some meditation time once the kids have gone to school. The choice is mine, and I do not have to explain it to a boss that is inhabiting a conformist corridor.
Working for myself as a consultant is so fulfilling in so many ways. It makes me ambitious like I never had to be in a steady job. It satisfies me knowing that I am personally responsible. It thrills me that I get to enjoy a variety of challenges. It blows my mind that I get to help people and help them discover the meaning of their life too. Their perfect day will be different to mine, but the meaning is always the same.
Every day at 3 o’clock I watch one or more of my sons play sport. I love it, and they love having me there too. And then I take them home and talk about their day, and answer their many questions. I can tell them that I did some good stuff at work today; that I hit some targets; that I had a good day. In fact I can tell them that because I lived it as I wanted to, today is the happiest day of my life.
The Social Media Mafia is a community of like-minded consultants, all living the happiest days of their lives, free from the shackles of corporate structure. By following the Pathway to Success you can make your own perfect days, and start living them sooner than you thought possible. Visit socialmediamafia.com to learn more.