Big Help Mob; Growing What’s Good in Perth

For the last 6 weeks I have had the privilege of spending time with, and getting to know, an amazing group of people dedicated to doing good here in Perth. The Big Help Mob is a not-for-profit organisation that for the past 2 years has been working tirelessly to make doing good as mainstream as cheeseburgers and breathing by making volunteer opportunities more accessible and enjoyable.

I joined the organisation as an untern (yes…untern) and have been welcomed with open arms. It is sometimes quite easy to forget that there are people who are working to create good in the world when all we see is bad news. But there are people out there doing good, and this bunch, of which I am part, is just one example.

Although I have only been with Big Help Mob for a short time I seriously feel like I am a part of something amazing and something I really believe in. It is really refreshing to be able to spend time with these lovely, and sometimes quirky, people all committed to improving the lives of others.

We are super close to being a self-sustaining social enterprise and a permanent force for good but we need some help to get there. I am doing my bit by aiming to raise just $500 of the $50,000 goal. I want to see Big Help Mob continue to ‪#‎growwhatsgood‬ in Perth and hopefully Australia.

Help me to help Big Help Mob. Visit my fundraising page and donate if you can.

Thank you 🙂

 

Is it possible to live without money?

Entertain just for a moment the thought of living without money. I would imagine your mind instantly skipped to all the things you couldn’t do, and couldn’t have. This is pretty much what is going though my mind continuously lately. This is the tremendous power that money has over us, a power we let it have. After all, money only has value when we give it value, it is imaginary, but it feels so real. It feels like living a moneyless life will require a great deal of sacrifice, and indeed some sacrifice may be required but just how much will we lose if we don’t have a society based on money?

I believe that living should be free. If you think about it, we didn’t really have a choice about being born in to this world, it is something that just happens…it is natural. Just like the nature inherent in trees growing, animals being born, the wind blowing, and the sun rising and falling. So why if we are a part of this natural cycle are we the only living species that have to pay for almost every aspect of living? We have to pay for somewhere to live, we have to buy our food unless we can afford enough land to grow our own, pay for our clothes, we have to pay for recreation, transport, even water provided in to our homes.

I can certainly appreciate that we wouldn’t have the life we have today if it wasn’t for money, and a hundred and one other things like industry, and the sciences but what good is all of this stuff that we can buy if the majority of our time is spent just trying to make money.

My inner battle at the moment is this belief that living should be free and all experiences should be available to us but all the things I want to do and experience cost money, and I have no idea what to do about this. I don’t want to dedicate my time primarily to making money so that I can have these experiences and I believe that is a choice that we all have but we have been led to believe that living costs money. What if it didn’t though? What if we didn’t need money to live and to experience all the beauty and adventure this life has to offer us?

What is it about money that has made us handover our time in return for it? Is it the money itself and the things it buys that we all crave or is it an image that has been sold to us through marketing and advertising that propels us to work in unsatisfying jobs so we can fit in the box?

Imagine a world where we got paid to pursue our passions?

How different things would be! What if we only got paid for doing things that made our hearts jump and skip with joy? What would happen to the world if happiness, love and passion gave us all the money we needed?

What are we really here for? I believe we are here to have amazing, breathtaking experiences in every single moment in the company of beautiful and inspiring people. I don’t think we were meant to be stuck at work all the time, and I think that a vast majority of businesses and industries serve no purpose to the fulfilment of human experience so we could happily do without them and probably help the planet out a bit too. But what about everything else, what about the things that do serve a purpose and actually do help us?

I my opinion computers and the internet are great tools for instant connecting and sharing with communities around the world so how would we continue with these things if money didn’t exist? If we didn’t have money would people still be motivated to work in these fields for the purposes of maintenance and the manufacture of new and replacement parts as needed? When you think about if we only really had a few models with standard parts, as opposed to the countless brands, models and variations currently available, we wouldn’t need to actually produce so much. Also, do we really need to make things faster all the time. Every second day a new and improved model is being released that processes information one one-hundredth of a second faster that the previous one…is this really necessary?

What about tools, and recreation equipment, such as mountain bikes, sports equipment etc. How would we cope without them? I personally love my mountain biking, at the moment it is the biggest pain in my arse because I need a couple of new bits for my bike and my income is minuscule and irregular at best. Now I could just go out and get a job to pay for the bits I need but then when would I have the time to go out riding, or to go to the beach, or to write and volunteer. I might be able to pay for all these things but when will I really have the time to enjoy them. Again though, would reducing the choice we have available really kill us, and would we need money to motivate people to keep producing these items? What if mountain bikers were to work together on their passions to produce bikes for themselves and others? What if they found joy in that work? They don’t need money for it. The same could be said for any industry or sport.

What about cars and transport? Cars are another thing that I don’t think are entirely necessary all the time. I don’t know if every family needs 2 or more, and we certainly wouldn’t need them so much if we didn’t have to go to work. Which is the main reason people seem to have cars these days. Couldn’t we devise a better approach to transport, like a community bus system where community members worked in a rotation to serve. Would we really need to have the thousands of buses running every day to get people everywhere? What’s the rush all the time? What if we just had a couple of hundred running for free, and reduced the need for cars so we spent more time at home, in our local communities instead of cubicle offices? We would save on fuel, our roads would be less congested, we would reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we would reduce the need for roads and their construction. Where is the downfall?

What if music and books became free? They pretty much almost are with the help of torrents and other file sharing networks. I feel like if we made music free, and art, any form of expression, freely available we would experience the true passion that used to be embodied in art. Nowadays I feel art and music have been reduced to mere means of making the big bucks. There is fame and fortune attached to art in all forms reducing heart and love. For every artist, musical or otherwise, that makes it big because a marketing company could see the dollar signs, how many others do we not know about because they weren’t ‘marketable’ enough, and they don’t have the money to give their gift to the world.

Fortunately things like YouTube and other social media sites allow these artists to find their own audiences with a relative amount of ease and their passion shines through…they aren’t doing it for the money or the fame, they love what they do! If we also consider the amount of physical material that goes in to the production and distribution of books and CDs, DVDs etc, we could do away with all this if we made it all digital, for free. Further reducing the need for money and for those entire industries producing those materials. Luckily I feel the music industry is one full of people who do love what they do. Everyone from producers, to editors, singers, musicians and instrument makers really do love what they do so I don’t think a moneyless world would have a huge impact one them.

This is the kind of world I envisage. A world where people don’t settle for anything less that what their heart desires. A time where we don’t have the pressure of making money to pay the bills and put food on the table. I believe that the things, material or otherwise, we truly want and need to be fulfilled can be met by passion and community alone. I believe that the value and the importance we have placed on money has made us all slaves and has done a great deal of damage through the suppression of our hearts desires. The biggest obstacle is, of course, convincing billions of people that things could be different.

Some may call me an idealist, a dreamer, sometimes a crackpot, but I truly feel that there is a better way for us to live that includes everyone, not just those with money. Money has helped create the haves and the have-nots, as well as debt and poverty. This system that we have created cannot surely be the best we can do. We have to be capable of much more, it makes sense doesn’t it? This form of capitalism can not be the pinnacle of our imagination, it can’t be all there is to life and we are surely able to design something else that is sustainable for everyone and allows everyone to live a life enriched with quality experiences.

For now however money still does play a vital role in my life also, but I do choose to put myself and my own values before pursuing any action with the intention of purely making money. I still have the heart of an entrepreneur, however buried currently, but rather than striving to make lots of money to have a big house and 10 cars like I used to, I hope to follow my passions and use whatever money I do make as a tool to create and innovate sustainable and moneyless projects. Also to continue to pursue my own passion for adventure and fun in the meantime. Ironically it is going to take money to assist in the transition to something better someday.

I am open to debate. I want to hear your thoughts? What are your immediate objections as to why we couldn’t possibly live without money?

The Path to Financial Freedom

When I was about 12 years old I read a book by Robert Kiyosaki called Rich Kid Smart Kid, and then soon after read Rich Dad Poor Dad, his most famous book. For those that have not heard of Robert Kiyosaki, he is an author and an incredibly successful entrepreneur from Hawaii. He has numerous businesses and investments all over the world and has released a lot of books promoting the need for financial education. He is a seriously rich guy!

It was from reading his books at that young age that instilled in me the concept of financial freedom and began a journey that has led me to where I am now. For the last 14 years I have pursued financial freedom by learning about investing, money management and business skills whilst also attempting several businesses which never went anywhere. The goal was to always reach ‘financial freedom’, the point where my passive income from businesses or investments is greater than my living expenses. I have dreamt of having so much money coming in from the various successful enterprises I have launched, and from my huge property portfolio, that I can have and do anything I want regardless of the cost. Just imagine what you could do, what you could buy, if your money was essentially endless! And believe it or not, this is not some whimsical dream that is completely unobtainable. There are people all over the world who live their life this way. This way of life is no less obtainable by you or me as it was for them, it is achievable…if that is what we want.

Today though, I had a thought. What if, instead of achieving financial freedom by having so much money you simply could not spend it fast enough, what if you achieved financial freedom by not having any money at all? What if you were completely self-sustainable, self-reliant. Somehow, you, or a group of you, obtain a small parcel of land and build a self-sustainable community that grow your own food and harness the suns rays for electrical energy. Would this not be the same kind of thing? You aren’t worrying about money because you grow all of your own food, you have shelter, water and community. You wake up each day and tend to your land, spend time enjoying the beauty of nature and the company of your small community, or your family. Admittedly, you couldn’t just jump on a plane and head to Barbados for a holiday, but would you really need to holiday if your life is already complete freedom. In a way, this kind of freedom almost sounds more appealing. You would’t have to keep up to date with the financial markets, or sit in on boring board meetings to find out how much money your companies have made this month, and your phone wouldn’t be ringing constantly with your accountant, or your personal assistant asking you ridiculous questions.

Strangely, although I have been chasing the first method of financial freedom for so long I have begun to understand the cost that kind of comes with it. I am certainly not saying that any particular way is wrong or right but there are some things that just don’t sit right with me. One for example, I like a nice simple life. If I owned all these businesses, or even just one business, how much of my time and energy is that business going to require of me. Or, a property portfolio. These would add a serious amount of complexity in to my life that require constant upkeep and will demand a great deal of my time. I had big dreams but I have realised the huge amount of work required to get there and I guess I have made the decision to not work so hard. I perhaps want to keep things easy, minimal, simple.

It would be nice to have shed-loads of money but I think that I can have just as an amazing life by not having money and returning to nature to live in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way. I am not at the stage yet where I am fully self-sustainable but I am making some big changes in the next few months that will start to get me there. I have read so many inspiring stories of people/communities that are living ‘off-grid’ and growing their own food so I know that it is possible. I am yet to experience one of these communities first-hand but I certainly hope to very soon.

Quote of the Day 29/05/13

Today’s quote is actually more on excerpt from a book I am reading called The Teaching of Buddha by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai. This particular passage resonates with me a great deal at the moment because it is a truth that I am coming to realise more and more as I make some changes in my life and my outlook.

Once there was a wealthy but foolish man. When he saw a beautiful three-storied house of another man, he envied it and made up his mind to have one built just like it, thinking he was himself just as wealthy. He called a carpenter and ordered him to build it. The carpenter consented and immediately began to construct the foundation, the first story, the second story, and then the third story. The wealthy man noticed this with irritation and said – “I don’t want a foundation, or a first story, or a second story; I just want the beautiful third story. Build it quickly.”

A foolish man always thinks only of the results, and is impatient without the effort that is necessary to get good results. No good can be obtained without proper effort, just as there can be no third story without the foundation and the first and second stories.

– Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, The Teaching if Buddha

For as long as I can remember I have considered myself to be an Entrepreneur, having these amazing ideas for businesses and wishing for the success of people like Robert Kiyosaki, Richard Branson and countless others. With each idea I had I would start off really enthusiastically and appeared to always be heading in the right direction quickly. I’d have energy and drive, getting up with the sun, going to bed late, working tirelessly on my idea in between. But after a few months my focus would stray, my enthusiasm would wane away to nothing and the whatever remnants of a viable business existed would disintegrate. I used to tell myself that the reason I stopped working on a particular idea was because I had a better idea come to me which would instantly start the cycle again.

What I really think would happen is that after a few months, my lifestyle and success looked nothing like that of my idols. I wasn’t driving around in a nice shiny car, money wasn’t pouring in, phones weren’t ringing, websites sat unvisited etc. And once I realised that an idea hadn’t delivered the results I was hoping for, the next idea kicked in with the same expectations and hopes. I wanted their success immediately but I didn’t want to put in the work on the foundations first. As the old saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, neither are the successes that are paraded in front of us on TV, the press. It does take some serious hard work, you can’t just jump from idea to business. What’s required is the effort put in each day, to be present and fully aware of each step that you take in each moment – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time. These seemingly insignificant steps compound up to give you the end result – your three-storied house.

For me, acknowledging this realisation has been a big step for me. This cycle explained above has been repeating in my life over and over again since I was 12; I am now 26. I still have hundreds of ‘cool’ ideas but I now write them down and store them away – I don’t instantly start working on each one any more in the hope of instant success. Instead I am spending a great deal of time working on my foundations, working on me, getting back in touch with my true self on a deeper level than my desires and my ideas. This way, when I am ready to move forward again and embrace my Entrepreneurial spirit in the pursuit of an outer purpose, I know that it will fully align with my inner purpose and not because of the illusory sense of success I have created from observing others.