by McKenzie Stalkenburg
If you’re like most people, you want to squeeze the most from your life, but are in a constant battle between living your day-to-day life, working to fund your lifestyle, and achieving your dreams. Indeed, so many people get caught up in their daily existence that they brush their dreams aside and end up living lives of quiet desperation.
They might have the money to buy nice things, but they feel trapped in what is known as the rat race, rather than having the freedom to squeeze the most from life.
Freedom means different things to people. There are some cultures where freedom means being able to wear what you want as a woman, rather than having to cover up, or being allowed to speak openly about your feelings on politics without fear of being arrested… yet, in the majority of cultures, freedom is deemed to be something more akin to having the time and money to live life on your own terms.
If you think of freedom as a recipe, the two essential ingredients that appear necessary are that of time and money - as it’s hard to feel free if you don’t have a balance of both these ingredients.
There’s a somewhat separate notion of ‘emotional freedom’ that relates to feeling free within oneself, yet if we look to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs it’s clear that without the fundamental building blocks of having the money required to build a stable life, or the time to enjoy life, it’s very hard to find “freedom” in the conventional sense.
That said, an imperative aspect of freedom is having the power to control your own life rather than live in reaction to the demands of others. For instance, if you’ve ever been, or known anyone else that has been in a controlling relationship - there’s very little sense of freedom to be had, as you are always living in reaction to the other person's needs, rather than your own.
A good definition of freedom, that encompasses the majority of notions is to be able to do the things you want, when you want, with you want - to live an autonomous life where you are not beholden to the demands of others; be that an employer or a partner.
To live in harmony with others and yourself, independent yet connected, rather than fiercely independent and living in an insular way.
The challenge, however, is that of having both the time and money required to live the life you want.
When it comes to money, some will view it as the root of all evil, whilst others view at as a vital component of life akin to oxygen! The truth is that if you want to squeeze the most from life, you’re going to need some money. You don’t necessarily need to be a millionaire, but you do need enough to fuel your dreams, after all, if we liken it to a jet taking off on the runway - fuel is required for that jet to transport you to where you want to be… and if you run out of fuel, halfway through, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
We should therefore get serious about the need to make money, but not so serious we let it consume our lives. Again, the challenge for most people is that they are stuck on a financial treadmill where they are trading time for money - in this sense, it’s almost a vicious cycle, as we know the two vital ingredients to living a happy and fulfilled life is that of having enough money to fuel our experiences but also enough time to enjoy them.
Time is a much more precious and scarce resource than money. You can make more money; but you can’t make more time.
In this sense, if you are looking to squeeze the most from your life, you need to be looking at ways to earn more whilst working less hours. The concept of passive income is a key concept to explore, where rather than trade your time for money, you are leveraging systems, processes, and assets to generate income.
For instance, if you have a rental property where the mortgage is $1,000, yet you charge rent of $1,500 - this is $6,000 annual income, without you having to do much at all, and if you wanted to increase your income it’s entirely possible to grow your rental property portfolio to ten properties and make $60,000 or even one hundred properties and make $600,000 a year.
Of course, when you start scaling up to a large number of properties, it pays to instruct an agent to manage them on your behalf - as otherwise, you will be burdened with a wide variety of tasks and issues to handle; which defeats the point of passive income.
Similarly, if you don’t have much money right now, or a bad credit score, you could create an online course, charge $100 for each download - of which, around 90% will be profit, as there are very few expenses associated with selling an online course. In fact, after spending the initial period of time to create the course, you now have an asset that you can leverage time and time again - without having to trade your time for money.
The other aspect to consider, when it comes to making money, is that in the labor market you are ultimately compensated based on the value you provide a third party - therefore, if you want to increase the amount you get paid each hour (meaning you can hopefully reduce the number of hours you work) the key is to find ways to create more value.
One of the best ways to do this is to invest in your education, for instance you can do a public safety degree online that could elevate your status in the labor market, meaning you can attract much higher paid and flexible work. It seems that the more senior you are, the more able you are to demand more flexible working patterns, for instance, a receptionist at a law firm is practically chained to her desk each day - whereas a lawyer can work from home presuming they don’t have client meetings, but today, even client meetings can be facilitated by Skype.
The next component for squeezing the most from your life is that of love.
See, you can have all the money in the world, and perhaps you can have all the time too - making $600,000 profit from your property portfolio, retiring on some tropical island, but if you don’t have someone to share it with… it becomes much less meaningful.
There are plenty of lonely millionaires that would give everything they had to find someone to truly love them and connect with them. Indeed, when it comes to squeezing the most from life, having someone to love and love you back, to share your life together and enjoy the adventures the world has to offer - it’s the most important aspect of squeezing the most from life.
As humans, we are born to connect. Babies cannot survive without love. Literally, a baby will die if it is not loved and this is why new mothers are flooded with oxytocin to ensure they fall in love with their baby, because our bodies have been conditioned by evolution to release these loving hormones - on the basis we would die without love.
Yet, as we get older, unconditional love can be harder to find. Indeed, true partnership and true love are so precious yet underappreciated. If you’ve ever loved and lost someone, then you will be able to relate to that, because we all have a tendency to take relationships for granted until a person is taken away from us, either by death or the demise of a relationship.
The key ingredient when it comes to keeping love alive, is that of appreciation and communication - so often couples find themselves locked in arguments, sleeping at opposite ends of the bed, in a state of misery and despair; criticizing each other and tearing chunks out of each other!
Love is appreciation. The more you appreciate another person, the more the love rises, and they want to reciprocate this feeling of being appreciated by appreciating you. You create an upward spiral of love, kindness and appreciation - or you create a downward spiral of negativity, criticism and taking each other for granted.
The point being, if you have love in your life, then everything in life feels better - you can live without money, or time freedom, but when your relationship is on the rocks no matter how much time or money you have… life just feels grim and chaotic.
Indeed, being in a bad relationship can make you feel so worn out and tired that it depletes your energy for squeezing the most of your life; so don’t underestimate the importance and significance of the relationships in your life.