What does life mean to you? Has your life become overly complicated as you navigate social norms, varying belief models or do you simply have too many selections much like the menu at the Cheesecake factory? I often ask people one of two things; Do you believe in instant change or how do you simplify your life? In the age of information we have dozens if not millions of choices at our disposal. We put value into things that really don’t deserve our value. 

I can recall one early fall afternoon sitting on the beach with a group of business associates. Our mentor at the time gathered us in a circle and started asking us what we wanted in life. I was the 8th person in the circle so I had some time before my turn to just listen. One by one they shared their deepest desires. “I want millions a BMW” one expressed openly with the second person following up with “I want millions of dollars, new clothes and a Ferrari”. A pattern started to repeat itself. Every single item that was mentioned was that of a materialistic nature. 

I thought to myself… is that all there is to success? Is it just these materials because if it was I was beginning to think this business I was in at the time certainly wasn’t for me. I had an epiphany or enlightened moment as the sun beat down and the Miami breeze kept it cool. I wanted more out of life and said to myself, what about after I do get all the stuff I wanted? What then? I sought out at that moment to ask myself better questions to dig for deeper meaning. I have always said that there are two types of a person that buys a Lamborghini. One of those types is to be seen in it while the other buys it for the exhilaration to go fast.

There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to buy materials but you have to ask yourself the reason as to why. I woke up the next morning asking myself why. At the age of 21 I asked what was it I truly wanted out of life. I recalled a lesson early that semester by my critical thinking professor. He always said KISS, keep it stupid simple. He was right and that’s exactly what I did. But where do I start? I started where any knowledge and spiritually hungry person started in 2003, Barnes and Nobles. I went straight for the self help section. Side note, I am not a fan of that term but more on that another term. I still wasn’t sure what I was looking for, so I just walked up and down the aisles wandering aimlessly. I got to one aisle and I stuck my arm out and ran my fingers across the books in some hope that it would magically show me the book I was searching for. 

I took 7 steps in and I stopped. Was this it? Was this the book I was looking for. I lean back and see my finger planted on 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I didn’t bother asking any questions or even open the book to glance through it. I simply bought it. As I pulled into the dorms I pulled over into the first spot nearest the entrance, parked and started reading. I got one chapter in and realized I was late for class. I sat there gazing off and out of the 4th story window during life drawing. I hadn’t drawn a single thing. I wanted to think about life. I wanted answers and guidance. 

Midway through the class we took our standard 20 min break. I walked out to the channel behind the school where you can see mega yachts being piloted back and forth. As I stepped onto the grass and look up, you can see a worn down celebrity pass by on this completely chrome yacht. I thought it was wildly outrageous and wanted my own completely chrome yacht because it was just different. But that brought me back to why though, why want that object? A friend was passing by and joined me to just sit and enjoy the scenery. He said, “life is crazy man, you have all these rich people. Life is just absolutely crazy.” 

And that’s when it all changed for me. Life, it wasn’t crazy or complicated, we make it that way.

That was a pivotal moment in my life. I must live by principles and convictions if I want true meaning. 

I developed an easy to live my principles that would always keep me guided down the path. I am going to share them with you now so that perhaps it might inspire you to evaluate how easy or complicated your life is and that making a simple adjustment might be your chrome yacht moment in life. If my method works for you then fantastic but I have zero expectations for you to adopt it. If you do adopt it, you must embrace it completely or it will not work. 

Life starts with one simple rule. Love. We throw around the word love with little understanding of what it is and how we are supposed to use it. We hear about it, read about it, witness it and have been spoon fed ideas of love forgetting about it’s truest nature. 

Love starts with yourself. It means being kinder to yourself and forgiving for your mistakes in life. Love is given freely without conditions. Love is accepting things and people openly without judgement. All of these start with yourself. You must love yourself completely first before you can truly say or feel the love for another person. The most courageous thing you’ll do is be vulnerable. 

Moving to the second out of four principles is influence. We have all been told that your circle of influence is important. It’s the second most important thing in life. But we sometimes get one of the  two aspects of influence correct. We are always so ready to influence others but rarely allow ourselves to be influenced and no I’m not talking about being pressured into doing something wrong or illegal. I am referring to emptying your cup so that you can take on new perspectives in life. When you have poor influences or poor self influence you start to judge yourself forcing you to go back to step one which is you guessed it, loving yourself. 

These two things, love and influence are the legs you stand on. 

What’s the next thing you ask? It’s freedom. The freedom to think for yourself and ask you and the world better questions. This is the power of choice. You choose your life and it also means accepting the fact there is much outside of your life you can’t control.

Finally, when you align these three principles, you garner little moments of enlightenment or epiphanies. Progress is one defining factor of happiness and fulfillment. Living my life by these principles offers me the next answer and cog in a much bigger machine.

Love, Influence, Freedom & Enlightenment is my pathway in an aligned  L.I.F.E. with purpose. 

Maybe it’s yours too or maybe this is the influence you need to find your own. 

I’m JusSayin


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