Sign up today and get the very best of my teachings EXCLUSIVE to my subscribers!
This was inspired at first by my experiences with a very successful, rich and famous former friend. Or maybe I should say “limbo friend” as he is in some bizarre and ambiguous category not so clearly defined. We were once very close–my girlfriend and I even accompanied him on his honeymoon, and we co-led a few workshops together. But for the past several years of my incarceration, three letters to him went unanswered. When I recently talked to his gatekeeper, she informed me that he got the letters but was just so swamped with work and activity that he didn’t have time to respond. I’m sure the gatekeeper was reporting his response or lack thereof accurately, but it seemed pretty lame and maybe a bit disingenuous to me. There’s probably an unspoken truth or hidden issue here. Perhaps he’s been advised that it would not do his glistening reputation any good to stay friendly with an ex-convict.
But what it started me thinking about is how much busier many successful people seem to be nowadays. Many don’t have time, or rather, take time, for the leisurely activities once considered a major perk of financial independence. And how can it be independence if you don’t exert a degree of mastery over your own life?
The question I ponder, therefore, is whether I want to be the master of my success, or a slave to it. And, for me, the answer has always been easy. As part of this process, and I know this revelation will drive some of you crazy, I have given up my cell phone. If someone wants to reach me when I’m not at my computer desk, they can leave a voice mail or email. If it’s something so urgent it won’t wait a few hours, then I’m not sure I even want to hear about it. I’m not suggesting this attitude will work for you, but I do think it’s important to have a guiding principle about this subject. Do you drive the events in your life, or are you driven by them? Are you piloting your own vehicle, or has it gone into a rogue state and about to run you over?
I’m reminded of the late Jerry Rubin, an old friend of mine I got to know quite well, along with his wife, Mimi, after his worldwide notoriety as a member of The Chicago Seven and co-founder, with Abbie Hoffman, of the Yippie party. Later he became a very successful entrepreneur, and the term Yuppie was coined to describe his transformation. We worked together in a network marketing nutritional company in the early 1990s, and he was making over a million dollars a year. But his marriage fell apart over issues like his living at the beach but not being able to find the time, even on a weekend, to take his young twins for a walk along that beach. I think he believed that someday he would take time to relax and enjoy his success. But sadly that day never came. Leaving an evening meeting, one of many he scheduled at his office on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, and being in a hurry, as usual, he jaywalked across the busy street, was hit by a car, and died of his injuries at the age of 56.
The two of us once did a seminar on the coming trends as we approached the new millenium. It was called simply, The Two Jerrys. The one trend we didn’t cover at that time was time itself–how filled it has become, and how the more successful we become, the more filled our days and weeks seem to be. I remember sometimes shocking friends by a habit of spontaneously taking a day off in the middle of a week. They would tell me how hopelessly behind they would get in their work if they did the same. Well, that belief is exactly why they needed to take that extra day off. And when was the last time you did something so shocking?