I’d like to start with the question: How do we get clear, get free, and going in life?
A lot of us are pretty clear and are getting going on our journeys…but need help in getting free and creating more space in our lives.
We need to examine another question: How responsible are we for the things that happen in our lives? 60/40? 50/50? 48/52?
The only way you can change and get free is to take 100% responsibility for your life.
One of the challenges we have which hinders our freedom is that we live in an entitlement culture.
Fr. Richard Rohr from New Mexico goes as far as to say that to be born in the U.S. today is like receiving a Ph.D. in entitlement.
Many people are filled with anger and unhappiness and feel that “I deserve more” and that “You owe me.” This is a tough mindset to change.
So how exactly do we move from entitlement to gratitude? Try the 200-Year Rule.
If you find yourself complaining about anything, go back in time 200 years.
For example, a few years ago we had a “crisis” in Milwaukee. We had a snowstorm where 3—5 inches were expected to fall, and it was recommended that people stay inside.
About that time, I was reading Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose and came to the chapter where Lewis & Clark were camping outdoors in Montana, and they woke up underneath two feet of snow. Would they think we are weak or what!?
I remember another time when I had my first cavity in 40 years and had a lot anxiety about going to the dentist to get it filled. When I thought about the 200-year rule, the dentists would have ripped my tooth out with a pliers and no novocaine – maybe just a shot of whiskey.
You can see how the 200-Year Rule was working to free me from fear and anxiety.
A few years ago I was traveling from a speaking engagement in Boston to L.A. and found myself thinking about the 200-Year Rule and how amazing it was that I was traveling 600 mph at 40,000 feet in the air, and it was only taking me 5.5 hours.
My reflection was cut short by a guy near me complaining loudly to the flight attendant who was trying to get the wi-fi network to work.
I talked with him a bit and mentioned the 200-Year Rule. 200 years ago it would have taken you and your family one year to get from Boston to L.A. and half of your family would have died. The 200-Year Rule wakes us up and helps us to be grateful for the experience we are having right now.
Any time that you feel your life isn’t going down the right track or you feel you have a right to complain about something, go back 200 years. It will give you a fresh perspective and hopefully help you to cultivate gratitude in your life. Think of everything we have today including advancements in transportation, communication, and medical technology to name a few. Practicing gratitude will lead you to freedom.