Start by creating your own freedom.
Life in South Africa has its challenges. Overcoming them starts with taking control of your own life, says performance and behaviour specialist Dr John Demartini.
You’d have to be rather hard-hearted to remain unmoved by the story of Olympic medallist Wayde van Niekerk. Or not to feel a measure of pride in the citizen activism that’s brought about movements like #feesmustfall.
Or to look upon the sun setting on the Twelve Apostles without experiencing a rush of pure joy. These are things that make us glad to be South African. But, on the flipside, there’s also plenty to feel anxious about; crime, the education system, and general Afro-pessimism. So how do you create a sense of self as you finally adult?
Create your own freedom
Maintaining your positive outlook in these circumstances starts by creating your own freedom, insists Demartini. It may sound like a lofty, almost nebulous goal, but it begins with a simple step: taking an inventory of all activities, personal and professional, undertaken in your daily life.
You can do this as an individual or, if you’re married, as a couple. It’s a good idea to keep this diary for at least a month, Demartini advises, as this will give you a comprehensive picture of how you spend your time. Remember to include every single chore or undertaking, from blogging and walking the dog to emailing your team and attending meetings.
How do you create your own freedom?
Now, create five columns: in the first, note the profitability of the activity. For example, an hour spent generating leads for your company is more productive and profitable than an hour spent, say, pureeing vegetables for your baby. Next, rank the activity in terms of the meaning it brings to your life.
Taking your kids for a walk isn’t going to help you earn an income, but it’s probably going to bring you joy and strengthen your bond, which makes it meaningful, and therefore a priority. Now, note how many hours you devote to each activity. Finally, find out if there is someone who you may be able to delegate the task to and, if so, how much this would cost you.
The aim of this exercise, Demartini explains, is to help you put a Rand value to each of your activities. This isn’t about being mercenary; rather, it’s to help you find the most profitable way to invest your time. And this is important, because when you create wealth, you create options and opportunities. The ultimate outcome? Less stress, more happiness.
This exercise can also help you identify areas where you need to upgrade your skills, which will enhance your ability to earn more.
Think about it: directing your energy into activities which help you generate money, rather than into activities that sap you and leave you feeling dispirited, helps to boost your self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself, your relationships thrive.
And when you have a healthy bank balance, you are in a position to make positive choices to benefit your family: securing a place for your kids at a renowned school, for example, buying a car with an outstanding safety record, or securing your home so that you have peace of mind whenever you go to sleep.
Learn to delegate…
But what about the chores you don’t like? This is where delegation comes in, Demartini maintains. Rather than balking at the idea of spending money at something you could potentially do yourself, he encourages you to look at how, by enlisting the aid of others to take care of these things, you are freeing yourself to do more of the things that inspire you and make you happy.
Unfortunately, with limited hours available to us, we tend to find ourselves in an either/or situation when it comes to choosing how we spend our time; so spend it in a way that makes you feel fulfilled. “Devote your hours to your highest priorities, or they will quickly fill up with things that aren’t important,” he says.
The same discernment should apply to the friends you meet with, the books you read, even the media you consume. “In all cases, choose only what will make you feel fulfilled. You are the only person who can do this – no one else is going to make the choice for you,” Demartini concludes.