Posts Tagged With: Alternative lifestyle

Defending the lifestyle… passionately!

Not having time to surf means you are to busy! Nice pic by my nice niece...Simi!

Not having time to surf means you are to busy!
Nice pic by my nice niece…Simi!

We have all been told that once you find your passion,  you are 90% closer to living a fulfilling life doing what you were born to do.

Being engulfed in a life changing experience because of your passion is what we are all dreaming about.  The glaring problem is that 90% of us don’t really have this driving passion for something specific.  For many years this was a big issue for me.  How can I not have this absolute driving motivation to save the planet.  For a period I had this drive to impact the youth in some way.  It felt like it was my destiny…or better yet my calling.  After many years,  I can see that I did not have a calling to do anything specific,  let me explain before you lose all respect for me.

After watching this video by Cal Newport my life was slightly transformed from moving away from desperately seeking this one thing that will make my life the “the next big life”,  or desperately looking for “passion” to give meaning to my life.  Most of us are trapped by this because we hear and see all these wonderful stories about people that followed their passion and succeeded.  We hear it being preached in schools,  churches and by a legion of motivational speakers.  Follow your passion and your life will make sense and you will be fulfilled.  The question now is what if you do not have this driving passion for something specific?

There are a few things I am passionate about…I love surfing,  I love being an entrepreneur,  I love travelling,  I love helping kids get into surfing,  I love to teach people how the ocean works,  but most of all I am passionate about having time to do all of the above.  My passion it seems is directly linked to the lifestyle I want.  It seems then in my instance that my passion is my lifestyle and without my lifestyle I have no chance to explore my “passion interests”.  I have always wanted a specific life instead of specific “things”.  If I have the lifestyle,  I have the ability to explore my interests and by doing this I have a really good chance of finding this elusive “life changing passion” while having my chosen life style.

The problem it seems is that we have abandoned the possibility of having a “LifeStyle” and I am definitely not referring to the type of style  that is dictated by television marketing.  We have decided somewhere along the line that our jobs are our passion and a lifestyle is directly linked to the stuff we buy. This is why when people lose their jobs they will say “Their lives are destroyed”.  Not having time is far worse that not having a big screen TV.

I would sacrifice anything for the lifestyle I am attempting to create for myself.  I want to live and experiment with my life  vigorously  and passionately,  in short I want to be passionate about my life and those around me.

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Compos Mentis 2013

About this time every year every one goes into a frenzy to start writing down things they want to achieve for the new year.  I have come to realize that achievement is somewhat overrated and extremely exhausting!

I have for as long as I can remember penned down things I want for the new year,  and mostly this has equated to “stuff”.  I have nothing against “stuff”,  on the contrary I have one or 2 “stuffs” on my dream list for 2013,  but it is not dominated for the first time by stuff but rather by exploits and I hope exploits that for the first time will make a positive difference in the world and will inspire me!

I am for the first time looking back at the previous year and feeling quite content.  I did not accumulate a massive fortune,  but to be honest I did not really position myself to receive a fortune.  It has taken some getting used to,  this new way of living where my life not only exists to work and then spend that money on what now seems ridiculous purchases.

It has only been 2 years since we exchanged life styles,  and the first year disappeared all to quickly.  2012 was better in the sense that we established some sort of rhythm,  although not smooth yet,  better than the first year.  This year I believe will be the first year where we have adapted completely to this lifestyle and we can focus on new goals and ventures.

The one thing I have learned is that if you want something to happen you have to make it happen (very corny,  but true).  This post would not be complete without a list of endeavors for the year,  and one or 2 stuffs in between.

1:  I want to take more walks with my wife and my dogs on the beach.

2:  I would like to be a better surfer.

3:  I would like to create an app for SME’s that kicks ass in the CRM space.

4:  I want to make furniture.

5:  I want to blog more.

6:  I want to position myself to own a property.

7:  I want to appreciate more what I have.

I am sure there are a thousand other things I would like to do,  but the above 7 seems to make sense and more importantly feels achievable.  I can not achieve what I can not believe.

Awe-ness

Describes it well!

Describes it well!

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Fear-Less (Fearless) / Free Life styling

Not a movie type fear, I would suspect this could be much worse. A fear that not only scares in the dark, but a fear that scares me to the point where I am unable to operate. My fear is not that I will succeed or won’t succeed, I am scared to live meaningless and in a cage.

I am not sure what a “meaningful life” would look like, but what I do know is that I can not imagine a life where I can not make my own decisions or decide how my days are spent. Many people would agree that we are free to choose a life that we want, but I know very few people who live as free as that.

As great as my life is at the moment I have difficulty in having faith in the universe to keep on giving as it has in the past. I have except for a very brief period never cared much for money and that would probably explain why I have never really had a fortune. My focus has always been to live as free a life as possible, and to a large extent this is what I am doing on a daily basis. My fear now is that this lifestyle might end, that this freedom might be taken away.

Every client phone call I receive causes stress that they might not be happy with the service we provide, that in turn might cause them not to use our services anymore and this will cause a drop in income and ultimately lead to my freedom being in jeopardy. Not exactly freedom if you ask me.

My aim is to achieve a zen state where I know that everything will inevitably work out. That I do choose my life and what I want in it, but that I also realise that I am in control but not always as much as we would hope to believe.

I feel an obligation because of my lifestyle to do as much as possible because of this freedom I have.  The problem now is that all my activities causes my life more stress and not less.  I am running from the one thing to the next and in the process I neglect quite a few important aspects of my life and in turn miss the whole point of living slowly.  All my “freedom” activities are  probably creating stress and stress creates fear in my life and I will be the first to admit that I do not handle fear / stress well.

My answer to this is simple (ha ha ha ha).  I actually do not have an answer,  but what I do know is that I have not moved to the ocean,  learned to surf just to have more stress.  I want to live smarter and slower,  but as with all things it takes time and a lot of practice.  It is currently a scorcher of a day,  waves seem good so I am going to start to practice what I preach!

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The secret of the “The Secret”

I have always been a fan of books that either directly inspired me to be more,  or fictional books that had the same effect.  I love to be inspired,  it drives me and motivates me to do things I would usually not be keen to do(sales cold calling is an example:) or do things completely new (brewing beer and making furniture).  It might sound a bit plastic and corny,  but without motivation I am nothing.  It sounds harsh and I can already hear people say that it would be virtually impossible to exist if you had to wait to be inspired before you act on anything.  In the real world you would hardly get anything done,  but I try not to live in the world that often:)

Back to my secret.  Me and my business partner had a chat some time ago about the fact that we have lost a bit of motivation for our current business and we could not figure out why we somehow lost motivation to aggressively pursue this venture.  It is a good business with great possibilities both from a financial and green perspective.

It is then that I realised that I reached every goal I have set out to achieve,  literally.  Everything that I put down a paper as a goal was achieved except one ,  but we will get back to this.  The fact that I did not realise this,  was I think now the reason for my lack of motivation.

I have always (sometimes more than others) written down what I want out of life.  Initially when I was working as a programmer 11 years ago my dream was to go for an early morning run and not have to go to an office and work for a boss doing something that I did not really enjoy end to be honest something I was horrible at.  Not long after,  I quit my job and was working for myself.  This is my first instance where I saw “My Secret” in action,  but as with all things I did not realise it.

I purchased 2 properties in the same manner.  And it is worth a mention that I did not really earn a solid income when doing this.  Both properties were not in the market at the point when I first saw them.  But the more I saw them the more it became a reality in my mind that I wanted those properties.  Not long after my mental process started they went on the market and I bought them.  For the sake of mere mortals like myself it is important that you understand that I do not at the moment own any property and that I am very far from being financially ‘rich’.  As a matter of fact,  it would be very difficult for me to even attempt to purchase a property with finance from a banking institution (maybe this is a good thing).

Shortly after getting married to the only person that could possibly endure my type of living in 2007 I was again stuck in a job that I did not like.  The one constant thing was that I still wrote down my so-called “dreams” every morning while having coffee.  I still have some of these little “dream books”.  In 2007 I wanted to move to the coast.  I wanted to be involved in a youth organisation.  I wanted to surf.  I wanted to have time to do different things and experience a slower life.  In 2008 the first step in this dream was realised,  I got retrenched:)

Present Day:  I live in a small town at the coast.  I am involved in a Gap Year program in Hermanus (www.sparkshermanus.co.za).  I have started surfing.  I am brewing my own beer (why not I say),  I have also started making furniture which I enjoy tremendously! I have started SCUBA diving and I have time to experience new things….and this includes spending time with awe-some people including my soul mate.

My First project with Louis Day

My First project with Louis Day

The point of this whole story is that I absolutely believe that you can have in this life what ever you want.  But there is a catch.  What I have not mentioned this far is that I have always had money on my list,  and as of yet I have never really had a fortune or anything close to it.

A “secret” sweet spot is what I call it.  There are a multitude of things that we think of when we imagine a better life,  or a life that we want.  Some of these things resonate more than others.  Money,  I think will never be the goal,  but money might very well be a result of a better life imagined.  I do want certain things that will obviously cost money,  one of these are a house that I own and can call home permanently (will let you know how this goes).  I have no way to buy this at the moment,  but a house that me and my wife can call home is something that resonates deeply in me and because of that I have all the confidence in the world that this is attainable.  I can obviously dream up a $5m mansion,  but it is not something that stirs me or gets me going or for that matter excites me.

After realising that I can attain the life I want,  I started thinking deeply about what I want after watching “What would you do if money was no object”.  I realised an old dream I had many years ago and this has not changed at all.  It was a mission statement of sorts that suddenly has new meaning again.  I want to inspire and motivate people to live an extraordinary life by living an extraordinary life myself.  What this practically means I do not know,  but I will keep you updated.

The life saving season has officially started today,  so for now I have to hit the beach and look like The Hoff!

Clothing Ceremony for the Life Guards for the season

Clothing Ceremony for the Life Guards for the season

Categories: Fighting for Zen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rat Race Retirement

We all dream about the day  we can happily retire in a coastal village.  Greeting everyone as you pass them by,  because they are not just people but “your people” now,  and you know all of their stories because this is small town living.  Your days consists of   waking up without an alarm clock,  going for an early run or walk on the beach (conditions depending,  even a surf).  Going for a coffee at your local coffee shop,  greeting all the locals and chatting away about all that happened in the last 24 hours.  You sit back,  sip your coffee and switch on your laptop….as always looking at the weather / surf reports first to organise your day.

Being “retired” you will also suddenly have time to spend on starting,  or managing a small business (something you have always dreamt of doing).  Most probably a business that will make the world a better place because you are not chasing the illusive golden goose anymore.

I read a book a couple of years ago by Tim Ferris entitled the 4 hour work week.  This book set in motion what is now large aspects of my life.  I have always believed that living and enjoying life was possible,  and not only when we reach the age of 60 (probably more like 75 these days).

Reading motivational books (other people’s success stories) is usually something that inspires immediately,  wears of in 30 minutes and pretty soon you are back to thinking that some are just so damn lucky to live the way they do.  My “lucky break” came when I was retrenched:)  Nothing says ‘howzit’ (South African slang for an emphasized hello) better than a 100% pay cut.

Was the retrenchment my big shift…who knows.  What I do know 4 years later is that

1:  Life is shorter than we think.

2:  To much worry will kill you.

3:  Have faith in the “universe”,  others and yourself.

4:  Interact with nature.

5:  If your gut tells you to be good to others,  act on it! (Smiling counts)

I have to this day not made millions (I am not saying I won’t:)  But I wake up almost every morning without an alarm clock.  I go for a run / or a surf most mornings.  I go to my favorite coffee shop most days and greet locals I have not seen for 24 hours.  I sit back,  take my first sip of coffee and turn on my laptop.  I open my mail client,  but before I scan my inbox and sneak a peek at the weather charts,  I close my eyes and with the smell of coffee and the promise of a great day I quote Jerry,  “I love my wife and I love my life”.

I wish you my kind of happiness (most days).

One of my “office” locations

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act on inspiration and enjoy the ride

The problem with good quotes and sayings are that they almost always seem “corny” and dare I say “fake”.  I am not 100% sure what the purpose of this blog is,  but I have 2 things in mind.

1:  I would like to inspire other people to live a slower life and a life where you decide what happens and when it happens on a daily basis.

2:  I would like other like-minded people to inspire me in the way they live their lives on a day-to-day basis.  I want substance behind the text ,  in the same way I hope to add “realness” to my writing.

There would be very little point in writing ‘fiction’ when it comes down to the actual job of living.  And this I think is what a lot of us are doing at the moment (me included!)  We live a fictional life,  in our minds it sounds awesome but we hardly ever get further than the mental projection of what we hope and dream about.  With my ramblings I hope to transfer my mind to paper (interweb:) and then somehow be inspired to take my “text” and make it real.

Back to the ‘corny’ quote.  For the record,  this is actually an original quote (unfortunately not mine,  but I will take some credit because I was part of the discussion where it was born).  This quote belongs to my best friend and long-suffering business partner.  We are constantly making decisions about how we want to live our lives as individuals and as families and it was uttered in one of those long asynchronous gchat sessions.

I wish I can say I live by this quote 100%.  Although I don’t fully yet,  sometimes when this quote presents itself in the ‘real’ world  I realize that opportunity is knocking (sometimes screaming and kicking me in the knee) and usually when I act on it,  it leads to something,  or opens another road less travelled which causes me to enjoy the ride.  It might seem that I am a carefree techno hippie,  but despite my so-called ‘enlightenment’,  I worry and fret about the dumbest things I have no control over (Mostly money.  Either the protection of the little I have,  or how to get more so I can worry further about protecting it:)

Admittedly I am sometimes scared of inspiration,  or more accurately the failure of said inspiration.  How many times have we not acted on something because we just do not have the power to live with another failure.  Maybe the inspiration was just an opportunity to enjoy the ride.

We are so competition driven that ‘inspiration’ has a difficult job in inspiring.  I see this every day in my own life.  I spend a lot of time in the ocean and as my surfing journey progresses I catch myself often looking at other surfers and being angry at myself for not being on the same skill level.  Imagine this…I am in the water,  the sun is setting,  whales and dolphins swim les than 10m from me and I am angry because I am not as good as other surfers.

How many priceless opportunities do we miss because we are driven to succeed instead of driving with the top down,  wind in our hair and being inspired by the joy of the ride.

This picture was taken this morning and this is how a Monday should start:)

AWE-ness

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‘Awe’-ness (Howzit, Sick, Cool, Power, chill and agreement)

Being very new to the blogging world and community it seems fitting to open with Awe. A word that initially had very little meaning until 2 years ago. Now the mere sound of it shows something of how life can change and that what we initially thought to be extremely important disappears as we discover more and more where we are supposed to fit into the world and that big screen tv’s might not be a goal:)

The above I had to learn the hard way, and we can say that I will be “paying” for my indiscretions(tv’s) for some time in the future but from a different perspective.

I have found a new rhythm for my life (although I might miss a beat from time to time), you can say I am almost desperately fighting for zen on a daily basis and from time to time I almost “get it”.

I am tired of plastic (Cards, People, Bottles, Music, TV). I am however very much interested in people who are real. That live in the real world, that work in the real world and that dream in the real world. I want to form part of that community of people where we care more about “people” and nature than we care about our jobs and what we can buy with our jobs. I am sure I will on many occasions refer to “work” and I will be lambasted for my views;)  Do not get me wrong,  I myself am an entrepreneur and I also need a bit of “show me the money”.  It might even be conceivable that I make more money than I need,  and what a blessing this would be.  I am however not willing to sacrifice my freedom for ‘stuff’.

I am excited about this journey of blogging and hopefully inspiring and being inspired as we go along. Blogging for me is almost a way to keep myself, my ideas and my goals in check and on track because there are people who might find my life style interesting. Worse case scenario this might be a very good example of what not to do with your life:) To interact with like-minded people, to dream with like-minded people is what will hopefully bring change in all our lives.

It seems to be another semi spectacular day in the town that I call home. I went for an early morning run and what could be better than running on a cliff path meters from the ocean and seeing a baby whale calf not more than 2 meters away from you, bobbing up and down that close to the rocks. Suddenly what you thought was of utmost importance as you planned your day disappears and you are filled with peace, joy and a sense that the world will give back when you are present.

On the menu today is trying to convince companies that they should move away from paper and rather use mobile technologies to deliver information to clients. The waves are fairly non-existent, and this bodes well for my surfing progression. With a little bit of luck some snorkeling as well. Then spending some time on getting students to attend our “Kick Start your Gap Year 2013” in Hermanus(www.sparkshermanus.co.za) and last but not least if the weather plays along a braai with my wife and some chilled chardonnay.

YAWP

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