Month: October 2017

October 27, 2017 Oliver Briny No comments exist

Freedom To Bind

I sat down to write, according to my writing schedule, so that I’ll make the cut for the next week of publication; every two weeks, as promised. It’s always a slight stress-factor, as I approach the deadline. I take it quite seriously, as I have the opportunity to bring encouragement or comfort to someone’s life. I’m drawn to write about the process, as it fits into this week’s topic: freedom and discipline.
 
As I started the writing process, I thought about the different areas of my life, where I have to apply discipline. Interestingly, I found myself thinking about all the things I’m bad at! This is so interesting, because I went over to the negative and self-critical mode immediately. I felt guilt for all the things I could improve on. I would hope I were in the minority of people who automatically think this way, though I’m afraid that’s not the case. Luckily we’re not slaves to our thoughts, remember! Suddenly I had an aha moment: discipline and guilt have a causal relationship. The absence of discipline causes guilt.
 
We’ll never be perfect however. We’ll never be perfectly disciplined. So are we bound to living lives of constant guilt? Great question, and to be honest, I’ve sat here an hour thinking about an answer. Here’s how I’d like to begin: freedom can be used to produce freedom. But it can also be used to produce captivity. Take a very simple example: freedom to use credit cards can produce a shackling debt. An opposite example would be to use freedom to doing consistent healthy exercise and reaping the benefit of well-being and increased agility. This means more freedom.
 
So freedom has the potential of creating either more freedom or captivity. Maybe we could come to the conclusion that true freedom isn’t necessarily doing whatever one may want. I’d like to see discipline as something that’s not restrictive, but rather as a tool that has the potential of creating freedom. For example, one of my passions is to financially live like no one else now, in order for me to live like no one else when I’m retired. What this means is that I want to be disciplined in my finances, in order to achieve a greater financial goal. In other words, my discipline now will produce freedom in the future. 
 
A key to the guilt issue is motivation. I’ve heard a thought that discipline never works, because only through motivation, can you accomplish a change in behavior. What’s the difference? I like what J.D. Meier, the best-selling author of Getting Results the Agile Way, says: "I like to think of discipline as 'what to do' and motivation as 'why to do’.”¹ So discipline and motivation work hand in hand. When you have your motivation figured out, guilt isn’t what’s driving you anymore. Now the real force behind what you do is why you do it. 
 
Why do I bear the weight of writing, when it’s something that brings stress into my life? Because I’m passionate about filling a void I see in the world. I love wisdom, because of its life-bringing properties. I’m able to use my freedom to either fulfill every surface-level desire I have and achieve nothing, or I can sacrifice in order to invest into others and find true fulfillment. 
 
We have to stop thinking that saying "no" is binding, but rather understand that it has the potential to bring more freedom.
Glued down to my writing chair, yet I feel more free than ever.
 

1. Meier, J.D. “Discipline vs. Motivation.” Sources of Insight, May 18, 2009. Sourcesofinsight.com/discipline-vs-motivation/.
October 13, 2017 Oliver Briny 4 comments

losing control

I remember a conversation with my friend where we were talking about hosting birthdays. I told her very bluntly that I can’t stand hosting birthdays for myself or being the focus of a celebration. I explained that it’s just not something I find necessary - I feel like I’m already loved by people around me. “Oliver… What if other people want to celebrate you? Are you going to rob that from them?” Ouch… That hit me quite hard, but it started a good thinking process in me. 
 
In the above example, the idea of celebration was so hard, because it has to do with receiving. So why is receiving so difficult then? It might be because we feel like we’re not good enough. We often feel like every good thing has to be deserved. We know ourselves so well: the thoughts, the feelings or, in some seasons, the lack thereof. That’s why it’s so easy to think we’re not worthy. This requires a change in mindset, because if we feed the idea that everything has to be earned, we kill the potential to love others unconditionally as well. 
 
A friend of mine recently showed me a beautiful painted cup he purchased. He told me about how he’d been thinking about that specific cup for quite a long time. It was a special edition of a brand he’s collecting, and was only going to be made this year, after which the production will cease. He thought to himself: “Will I regret it if I don’t buy it? Yep probably will. But do I deserve it…?” He came to the conclusion that.. no, he’s not worth it according to his own standards. 
 
That sounds so sad, doesn’t it? But you know what blows my mind? He decided to buy it anyway! He understood that real love is unconditional - even towards yourself! Later on he explained, that it’s extremely hard to understand unconditional love. It’s hard, because you need to humble yourself and receive with nothing to give in return.
 
Another obstacle to receiving is control. Deep inside, a person that needs to control knows that the root lies in fear: we’re afraid that if we let others close, we then have something to lose. It’s vulnerable to let others love you, because it reminds us (of the reality) that we need other people. When we admit that in order to live a full life, we need other people, we’re on a journey of losing control. Control means to always have it your way. To always have it your way means you’re unable to truly love. What is true love then? Have a look at our last post A Life Of Meaning
 
There’s much less risk in being alone you see. Alone you feel like you’re in control. Don’t let anyone in, and no one will break what’s inside. But it’ll also be dark. A life of control is lonely. A life of freedom, however, is full of closeness. Control has to do with fear. Freedom has to do with trust. 
 
That year I decided to host a party. I remember creating that Facebook invitation and hating every moment of it. But I did it. I grew. In the end, it was a great experience and through it I got to communicate to the people close to me, that even though it was challenging, I honored them through it. 
 
I want people to know real love. The kind that is sacrificial. The kind that communicates respect towards others. The kind that is genuinely fulfilling. It’s available to you too.