Freedom Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shiga Yellum! No problem!

| The Freedom Coach
Shiga Yellum! No Problem!

Written by Steven Griggs |

In my previous post I spoke about poverty leading to a better outlook on life. I know that seems to be a contradiction because we equate a happier and better life with more things. Bigger and better.  But if you are just trying to survive each day, you become very, very focused. Poverty will do that to you.

I became this way a bit when I visited my sister and lived in Ethiopia for a month.  After being in the country for a while you come to let go and have no expectations.

Nothing works in Ethiopia, everything there is chaotic and you have to take whatever is available or what is actually delivered.   

They have a saying there in Amharic: “Shiga Yellum”… which translates to: No Problem!

You go to a hotel and ask if they have an elevator. Yes! We have an elevator, but it’s not working. No problem!   Yes!  Do you have air conditioning? Yes! We have air conditioning, but it’s not working. No problem!  Do you have meat today? Yes! We have meat but not today. No Problem!  

That’s  just the way it is.

In having no expectations, you become more free, you begin to appreciate what you do have, and the frustration of not getting exactly what you want dissipates…. You accept what is, not what you want.

Ordering food in a restaurant is a great example. When you order, even if you are with someone speaking Amharic, you are never really sure you will get what you ordered.

It actually becomes fun. You can order one dish and they will bring you an entirely different dish…. It’s an adventure! They smile at you and shake their head and say we didn’t have that anymore…. You just accept it and eat the food. It‘s all delicious anyway.

So try it. Next time something doesn’t go exactly as planned, don’t get upset, don’t feel angry, look inside, see the feeling  and tell yourself: whatever!  Accept what is and let go.

It’s freeing, try to remember:  Shiga Yellum!    NO PROBLEM!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Poverty Keeps You In The Present!

No Limits | The Freedom Coach
Poverty Keeps You In The Present!

Written by Steven Griggs |

My sister just returned from Ethiopia after living there for 19 months. She went over to take a position as President of a 3000 student college. Many things transpired during her stay which is a story in of itself. 

She learned a lot about the corruption and mind set of the local business people towards westerners.

The people of Ethiopia are wonderful, quick to smile or laugh and big hearted.  When I visited for a month last year I experienced this every day.

My mother and I had many adventures on our two week trek through the north and northeast parts of the country.

We went in a Toyota 4x4 on dirt roads almost all the way,we had many adventures, with many breakdowns, fantastic historical spots and ancient ruins. It was an unbelievable trip!

What I came to see was that because the people live at the subsistence level, their days are filled with fetching water, gathering firewood or dung, moving their flocks of goats or sheep to forage along the roads, harvesting crops or doing whatever they can to make a few Birr.

They are entirely focused on survival. There is little or no future thinking, no media to speak of. Most people live in shacks with no running water or electricity.

So they only know about the outer world from relatives who have moved away or live in the few big cities. They don’t really have the concept of “a better future” . Because they live basically the way their ancestors have lived for millennia, there is no “future” to dream about and plan for, their focus is on simply meeting their needs for that day.

This it seems, is the secret, they are only focused on the “now”, and this leads to their lighter outlook on life and more happiness. They are only dealing with getting enough food, taking care of the the family, and making sure they all make it through another day. Simple. Fulfilling. No future thinking.

My sister became this way when after losing her driver (you would never want to drive on the streets of Addis!) and cook, she was forced to ride in the blue Volkswagen type buses that run all over Addis Abba, creating a kind of unofficial transportation system. They are all tightly packed with riders, all crammed in for the short run up to the next cluster of blue buses.  Most of the time she was the only westerner in sight.

There wasn’t prejudice, they treated her like she was one of them, they spoke to her in Amharic and expected her to understand and know what to do….. Those are big assumptions! My sister understood a little Amharic and could get her message across and survived, but she eventually developed the same mind set.

Get through the day! After a while, she was so absorbed in just living that day that she became calmer, more accepting. At peace.

You don’t have to live in Ethiopia to get this, you just have to stay in the present, be appreciative and thankful for what you have.  

Don’t forget to say thank you every day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Existing In Memories

| The Freedom Coach

Existing In Memories
Written by Steven Griggs |

I was thinking about my childhood and my family today. I was born in a small town in Northern California. Most of my family lived and died in that same small town.

I go to visit their graves twice a year. It’s a bit of a ritual…. I know they’re not there.…

But the thing that struck me is that for the most part, when I am in that town I am living in memories. I don’t believe I am really engaged in the reality of that town… all….every thought that goes through my head, when I’m there, is a memory.

So it got me to thinking-how much do we live in our memories in our daily lives…?

I think that for the most part, we are totally immersed in memories, not necessarily in childhood or special memories, but we are constantly remembering:  what was on your “to do” list, remembering meetings, remembering what someone said, remembering what you were supposed to do this afternoon, what someone meant by that certain comment, if you paid that certain bill, when you were supposed to meet so and so for lunch….

It’s all remembering, we are constantly in our memories.

One of the secrets to being centered is the ability to quiet the mind, trying, through mediation or sitting in silence, to find the gap between thoughts (memories?) ……to slip into nothingness…… .

If all we are doing is remembering, do we need to do it all day?

What can we do to reduce the amount of remembering we do? How can we stay OUT of remembering….? Can we actually spend time NOT remembering?

Do you watch your thoughts? Keep track tomorrow and watch for where your thoughts go….

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Rise of The New Illiterate

No Limits | The Freedom Coach

The Rise of The New Illiterate

Written by Steven Griggs |

"The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn. "                                                                                                    Alvin Toffler 

What was the last novel you read? When was the last class or seminar you attended?  Have you become so immured within a sleep walking life that you are operating on auto pilot, your connection with learning is simply parroting the most recent gossip from the latest TV show or tabloid front pages?

Are we becoming merely sound bite repeaters?  Are there any original thoughts floating around in our minds?

Or have we become content to dwell in a superficial haze of specialness and media pollution, content to drift through the days……

Whenever possible I believe we need to step out of our comfort zone and do something we fear…. or at the very least, learn something new. 

What’s on your list? When will you do it? How committed are you….?

If you are ready, you will and if you’re not……..?

Monday, July 18, 2011


No Limits| The Freedom Blog

Written by Steven Griggs |

"Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.                                                                                                      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

FINTILOC= Financial freedom, Time freedom, Location freedom.

Is your business or profession structured in such a way that you can manage it from anywhere and maintain it with a minimum of time? 

Can you restructure your business life in such a way that you spend only 2-3 hours per week running it?

If so, could your business produce enough net income to allow you to live anywhere?

FINTILOC at first is an idea, then it becomes a practice, then it becomes a state of mind. Soon the idea permeates your life and living in freedom is your reality.

For most of us though, we have been programmed from childhood to get a good education, get a good job, build a family, work hard, build wealth and when the time comes, retire. The white picket fence syndrome...

The truth is that we spend our lives working to support the lifestyle, instead of the work/business supporting the lifestyle. No matter how you slice it you are trading your time for money. Time is one commodity you can't afford to trade!

Are you truly living the life you originally dreamed of or have you merely convinced yourself that you are happy because you are "successful" and reward yourself with vacations and possessions?  Vacations were invented for factory workers. The whole idea of vacations comes from management’s need to keep the workers satisfied. And give them time off to spend their money....

Your life should BE a VACATION. Why is a vacation a  reward? This is your life, live it as you choose!

We are upside down on all of this because we have become so needy and impatient that we were willing to enslave ourselves to banks and lenders to fund the lifestyle we think we need now. And if you look really hard, it probably isn't actually the life you wanted....

The years we should have spent with our children and family having adventures and creating memories are instead wasted on years spent in offices and cubicles or in cars commuting to offices.

We keep waiting for retirement and more time.... later. Meanwhile the years fly by and soon the children go off to college or start their own lives and you wonder where the time went.

Now you want to make up for lost time but your energy seems to have gone, your interest has lessened…… you’ve waited too long to live your dreams…..

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom- Remembering Who We Are

No Limits | The Freedom Coach
Freedom-Remembering Who We are
Written by Steven Griggs |

Today, being the fourth of July, I happened to notice a full copy of the Declaration of Independence printed on the back of the newspaper I was reading…. so I read it. I’ve read it before in school, but this time it really resonated with me. 

235 years ago the signers of the Declaration of Independence risked everything, their lives and fortunes, to sign this document. They laid it all on the line. They weren’t perfect men, many supported slavery and even owned slaves. Woman had no rights. But they took a stand against a far superior super power, a veritable war machine, called Great Britain. And against all the odds they won.

Two centuries and 35 years later I believe we are again coming to a turning point in our history. Once more the people are beginning to push back against the government, a government that in many ways has grown to have surprising similarities to that of King George III.

Our Founders were all businessmen. Our country has always prospered because of our small businesses.  But today, as any business man in American knows, to be in business in America is very challenging. There is no real support or encouragement from any level of our government to start or grow a business.

From the federal, state, county, and city level, the business owner is considered a bit of a nuisance. Someone who is either breaking, evading or at the minimum, in non compliance with one or more of the endless ordinances, codes, rules and regulations that are enforced by government employees whose sole function is to regulate, punish and collect.

Freedom in America is not so free. Yes, in comparison, America is still the best, but there are some benefits to living in a truly corrupt society, at least you know who to pay to get the results you seek. 

In America we still pay but it only goes to support more bureaucracy and more regulation. In essence we are supporting our own enslavers.

In rising up against King George, the founding fathers listed a series of grievances against the King, two of which were:

"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat outt heir substance"

"For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent"  

I am not advocating revolution, at least not in the historical sense, but I am saying it is time we pushed back on our government and reminded them of the following words our founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes….. but when a long train of abuses and usurpations……  evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Let’s remember who we are and where we came from….. Happy 4th of July.