She hadn’t spoken to me this way before.
Since I first set eyes on her she’s always spoken to me, despite being lifeless and incapable of speech, but this time was different. This time she didn’t just speak to me. This time she spoke into me.
Before she represented something outside of me – a rare period of enlightenment in the history of our species. Now she represented something inside of me, inside us all. The understanding was always there to be found, I just didn’t have the awareness to “see” it.
Her name speaks a great truth; “La Liberté éclairant le monde” – Liberty Enlightening the World.
Doesn’t it just.
What a shame liberty is in such short supply.
As the kids and I sailed past her on a previous trip, I reflected on what she represents to me in my life today; how she represents the perpetual challenge I continue to overcome in myself to help others overcome it in themselves, how her name speaks into my purpose and body of work in the world, how her very existence is there to remind us of the choice between freedom and slavery.
And it is a choice. You just can’t make a choice if you don’t know you have one.
The act of enslaving another individual was abolished on both sides of the Atlantic by the middle of the 19th century. Yet here we are, over a century and a half later and slavery is as alive and well in our lives as it’s ever been.
I’m not referring to slavery in terms of the abolished kind. I’m referring to the worst kind, the kind that sponsored the abolished kind in the first place.
Slavery in the mind. The enslaving of Self.
Now bear with me, because if you’re someone who genuinely intends to enjoy greater success in life, this is one of the most important messages you’ll ever read.
Slavery in the mind exists within us all. The question is not whether it exists for you or not, the question is to what degree it exists.
You probably don’t consider yourself to be a “slave”. You probably rarely, if ever, question what you say, think and do – and what they reveal. Few of us do. We’re far too close to what we believe and think to be objective about it. But I can assure you of this, there’s a permanent master-and-servant-style relationship in your life between you and your mind and wherever your results aren’t showing up as you’d like them to be, you’re at the wrong end of that relationship.
Slavery in the mind is ignorance. Ignorance is a state of “not knowing”. That’s what makes slavery in the mind the biggest challenge of all. You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s why the Buddha said the ONLY challenge for the human race is ignorance. You can’t change or improve anything unless you’re aware of it.
You’re not defined or confined by the conditions and circumstances of your life. You are defined and confined by how ignorant you are. Ignorance is the self-imposed lid on your potential, the unseen assassin of your dreams, the subtle saboteur stifling your growth and limiting your life.
It’s the part of you that stops you signing up for anything promising greater success in your personal and professional life. It’s the well-rehearsed cynic within. Whenever there’s the promise of a bigger and better you, it shows up, every time with every line to put an end to your plans. Whenever you’ve been stopped, whether it’s asking the boy or girl of your dreams out for a date, to doing the things highly successful people do that perennial underachievers are not willing to do, it’s been by your side – the monkey on your back, the “devil” on your shoulder.
Ignorance is fear. It’s blindness to Self. It stifles growth and perpetuates status quo. It’s the weed in the fertile soil of your mind, sucking the life out of any dream for improvement you ever entertained.
The opposite of ignorance is self-awareness. The opposite of slavery is liberty. Awareness liberates you from the slavery of ignorance. Liberty is freedom and freedom is what drives we entrepreneurs to choose the path we have in life – to have the freedom to choose, to do business and live life, on our own terms.
Sadly very few business owners experience the freedom promised by the entrepreneurial dream. And that’s because very few understand the cause and effect reality about freedom; it can’t be expressed without (in other words it won’t be experienced in the conditions and circumstances of your life) if it’s not being experienced within (in other words in your mind).
Slavery in the mind can’t generate freedom in life. And as long as you fail to master your mind, you’ll remain in slavery and live at the wrong end of the cause and effect equation in your life.
This is the one big truth the underachieving and struggling masses are either ignorant to or not willing to accept.
That’s the thing about ignorance – it doesn’t discriminate. When it’s made real it’s made relevant – relevant to you, your life and what’s stopping you make decisions which significantly enrich the quality your life.
You see, you can master anything if you’ve got some level of talent for it and you’re committed to do it for long enough. If I’d spent thousands and thousands of hours over the last 17 years practising the art of Jujutsu, even if I wasn’t the most naturally talented person at it, I’d still be a formidable martial artist by now.
As it happens, I’m not because I didn’t.
What I have done over the last 17 years is spent thousands of hours working with human beings on the inner workings of their minds. And that’s taken my level of understanding about what makes people tick and what’s limiting them to a level few people ever reach.
Consequently, I’m very attuned to what’s revealed by what people say and what they don’t say (in other words, what they think and believe), long before they’re aware of it themselves (IF they ever become aware of it all).
It is NOT an exaggeration to say most people are crippled by their thinking. They literally repel the success they convince themselves they want. Worst of all they’re completely blind to it, never recognising the cause and effect relationship between what they verbalise and what it reveals about how they think (or don’t think). Every sentence exposes the nature of the unconscious belief systems playing out in their lives, the ultimate architect of their results.
Take a look at your life. Where’s slavery and freedom showing up in it – and in what proportion? Is your business where you want it to be? Has it grown at the extent you’d like? What picture is your bank balance painting? If I were to look at the results in your business, what conclusion would I reach about which end of the master and servant relationship you stand? And if I did the same in several key areas of your private life, what would it tell me?
I don’t need to know the answers to these questions – but you do if you’re to enjoy greater success in your life. A dose of reality testing is often the toughest work of all, but nothing in life offers a better payback. It’s the liberty by which you enlighten your world.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here