The world is a crazy place sometimes and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what my response should be to it all. It got me thinking about how much I can control and how to build my own personal freedom. I’ve been doing a lot of planning for 2017 and with it, thinking of how I can make this a year of forward momentum in the right direction.
Define What Freedom Means To You
Before setting out on this journey, we need to know where we are going. The truth is, if you don’t define what’s right for you, there are companies who are willing to guide you down a path optimized for their profits. Don’t go into this blindly, seize your future and control it. Carefully examine the ‘why’ behind each thing, because as humans we often think we want one thing, but it’s not really what we are seeking.
Define your values
In this world, there are times that you face a situation where you need to make a decision with weight. What if a friend loses their job and can’t pay rent? What if you see someone being heckled on the street for the color of their skin, the religion they follow or their gender? What do you value? What are your convictions? We don’t often define these, but I’ve found them useful to just spend 30 minutes reflecting and writing them down; it brings clarity and gravity.
Build An Emergency Fund
Money isn’t everything in this life, but it certainly helps when you have a nest egg set aside when things go awry. Having an emergency fund can give you something to lean on so a setback doesn’t totally derail your progress forward. This is certainly a case for ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.’
Regain Control of Your Food
When you get down to it, we need very little in life, but there are a few things that we simply can’t do without. One such thing is food. Taking control of your food means you can eat healthier, fresher and know what is going into your body. There are many things that we can get by without, but the truth is we always need to eat. So connect with local farmers, join a CSA or even better, start a garden. Gardening is good exercise, is very economical and a fantastic stress reliever.
Become More Valuable
Every human has value, but what could you do to increase value to others, particularly in ways that lead to a paycheck? Every time I’ve ever been in a tough spot financially, I am always thankful for having certain skills that others find valuable. For me it’s strategy, business building, and marketing: essentially helping other people make money. In a pinch, I can leverage those skills and talents to bring in a little more income.
We all can’t be a master craftsman or a pro mechanic, but we can do things to offset some costs and become more self-reliant. It is scary when I meet someone who drives every day but doesn’t know how to change a tire. Do you know how to shut off the water to your house if a pipe breaks? Could you build something out of scrap wood in a pinch? When I was building my tiny house, I learned a lot of different skills. These things translated to me having more confidence, more money and when I did decide to hire someone, if I could talk the talk, the price was often lower.
Root Out Your Weak Points
We all have weak points. We all have points of failure that could lead to disaster. While there are some things we can’t prepare for, consider what things could happen that would lead to a major break down for you. What if you lost your job? What if the power went out? What if there was a gas shortage for a week? All three of those things have happened to me and I work to have plans for each of them. Take some time to identify your weak points, rank them by highest chance of occurrence then develop plans for them.
- What other things are you doing to build your personal freedoms?