• Eve Arnold

You Don’t Need Permission to Live Your Life

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Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash

The problem is, we seek other people’s permission. Worse still, it’s not people we know or respect that influence our choices. We seek permission from people, mostly people on the internet. People that have absolutely no clue about you and what you want from this world.

I know because it’s what I used to do every day. I used to watch Gary Vee’s ‘Daily Vee’ hopelessly waiting for the moment he said:

“You can do whatever you want with your life”

Which then allowed me to realise, for at least 2 minutes, that I am in charge of my own life. I can go and do whatever I like. It’s my life after all.

Then within 10 minutes, I’d be back thinking: “can I really do this?”

You Already Have Permission By Being You

For some reason we seek other people’s permission. I think it comes down to the fear of getting things wrong. As if you could get your own life wrong.

Ironically, perhaps the best way to get your own life wrong is to listen to other people that know nothing about you, maybe that is what’s happening.

Sometimes you know so clearly what you want. Even though you know, you don’t want to admit it. It’s the kind of thing you think about often but you brush off because it’s a ‘silly thought’. You know in your heart that you want to go and do this thing but your brain does a brilliant job of telling you otherwise. In your head you tell yourself “yeah but that’s not what I’m meant to do”. It’s only till Gary Vee shouts out that you should absolutely, categorically be living your life that we think:

“Oh yeah, I should shouldn’t I!”

But you don’t need Gary Vee, or anyone for that matter, to tell you that.

You Can Do Whatever You Want

Ultimately you can do whatever the heck you want. You can get a good job, a bad job, an in between job. You can get a job you hate, a job you love, a job that pays the bills. You can tell yourself you love it, you can tell yourself you hate it. You can work for six months and take six months off. You can work for 2 years and take 2 years off. If you want to go travelling for a year at 22 to find yourself, you can. If you want to go travelling at 44 to find yourself, you can.

You could be a fireman decide you don’t like that so spend 3 months learning to be a chef, decide that’s not for you, so then decide you’re going to go and teach for a while.

If you want to take 5 years off and build your own house, with your own bare hands, even though you know nothing about the building trade, you can.

You can do whatever the heck you want.*

However, of course with all these options comes compromise. You can’t decide you want to go travelling for the next 7 years and come back to a job that earns you a six-figure income and put in none of the work to get that.

Well, you can decide that but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

I’m sure for some people they travel the world, earn a lot of money and enjoy their lives. But they didn’t just decide that what they were going to do on Monday and by Friday they had it. It takes work.

Society Tells Us ‘The Way’ Because It’s ‘The Way’ that Makes Most Sense to Most People but Not All People

I think the reason that we all follow a prescribed way of life is because it makes most sense. And by that I mean that it’s the easiest and most common way of living a life, that is familiar to most people, so generally it’s more accepted. That’s not to say it’s right, it’s just to say that to most people it makes most sense.

So what that means is society is set up for ‘most people’. Try looking for a job that is 4-hour a day, 7 days a week — you’ll struggle. Or try looking for a job that is for 6 months and then you get 6 months off, it’s less common than the tradition 9–5, 35–40 hours a week. I don’t think that’s necessarily society telling us this is how we have to live our life, I think that’s society saying:

“Oh, most people seem to like 9–5, 40 hours a week, so we’ll create a system that favours that”

It’s like supply and demand. The customer (you and me) provides the want / need for a product or service and the market supplies the product or service. Now of course the market can subtly influence our wants / desires through marketing and showing us that ‘Kylie Jenner has these trainers, why wouldn’t you’ but ultimately the power is in our hands.

The permission, the desire is firmly in the hands of the consumer.

The Reality Not Society’s Way – You Don’t Need Permission

If you want something extraordinary you need to do what it takes. Take money for example. According to this article 1 in 65 people are now millionaires in the UK. So if you want to be a millionaire, you need to think like you are 1 in 65 not 1 in 1. What that means is you need to think differently about what you do with your days. If everyone is working 9–5, what about working a side hustle as well?

The simple math and the beauty of the market is that it doesn’t favour anyone in particular. It simply reacts to whatever it gets from you. So if you put content out you’ll get views, if you stay consistent, continue to learn, you’ll get more views. If you test, tweak and learn from your endeavours, you’ll grow and get better.

If you don’t, you won’t. It’s really quite simple.

If you want to become a better writer, you need to write. If you want to become a better leader, you need to lead. If you want to lose weight, you need to get exercising.

I often think life is super complicated and massively simple all at the same time, but if you strip life back to its bare basics it’s starts with a few questions.

It’s Simple:

  1. Do you know what you want to do with your life (tick one)? Yes ( ) No ( )

  2. If you answered yes, concentrate on that for the next 6 months to a year, find your niche. Then spend a lifetime learning and growing.

  3. If you answered no, spend the next 6 months to 3 years testing things until the answer to no.1 is yes.

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