There are several ways you could split your activities each day. Some are habitual, some are conscious. Some are good, some neutral, few somewhat bad and some purely evil. Some are personal, some are social. The selection can go on forever. The important one is that there are things you choose to do and those you must do. But do you really? Is there really anything you must do?
Well, no. Almost.
Death is inevitable. You have enormous (yet, not infinite) influence on its timeline and the way it is going to happen, but that’s it. Breathing is essential. Even if you somehow force yourself to keep your breath too long, you will pass out and automated brain process will restore it instantly. Eating and drinking water can be consciously overloaded for good, but it will be fatal. That’s one way to alter death’s timeline – it’s certainly easier to make it come sooner than postpone it but, hey – there’s always another option. Anyway, physiological needs (think the base of Maslow’s pyramid) are clearly something you must obey to.
To go with the old saying, how about taxes? Here’s the fun part. You don’t really have to pay them. And I’m not talking about some shady offshore business model. In fact, you don’t have to go to work tomorrow. And while there, you don’t really have to do some actual work. Funnily enough, I can bet most of you, my fellow readers, are paid for the time spent to read this text, which proves my point. The same goes for every law, regulation, tradition. You don’t have to obey any of these!
At this point, you’re probably thinking I either lost my mind or seriously encourage you to break the law.
Legal notice: I DON’T.
What will happen if you don’t pay the taxes on time or, for that matter, don’t pay them at all? Best case scenario is paying a huge fine, worst is some time spent meeting somewhat interesting people. Just don’t drop the soap.
Obviously, failing to comply with most things you say you “must” do will have consequences, of varied seriousness. Then again, just think of the words you’re using:
“I have to go to work tomorrow.”
“I must go to that weekly meeting.”
“I need to pay these taxes this week.”
Using each of these, in essence, means that there’s some entity outside yourself forcing you to do behave in a specific manner. It deprives you of owning your own life. There’s a whole psychological concept of locus of control. In short, it’s the location of entity in charge. It defines whether the individual makes the decision or not. Would you like to own your life? If you use any of the sentences quoted above, you don’t. A man in charge would say:
“I want to go to work tomorrow, because I want to earn money.”
“I want to go to that damn weekly meeting – it is organized by a senior stakeholder who will notice me missing. I will sit on Facebook all the time anyway.”
“I want to pay these taxes this week, as I keep dropping my soap.”
Tiny change, makes all difference in the world. It puts you in the driver’s seat. Just give it a try for a week or two – you’ll see.